Natasa Timotijevic, a member of Goldberg Segalla’s Workers’ Compensation group in Chicago, successfully defended a Southern Illinois burial vault company against a claim for bilateral carpal and cubital tunnel syndrome, saving the employer approximately $65,000 in medical, temporary total disability and permanent partial disability exposure.
In this matter, the employee alleged various daily work activities were repetitive and either caused or aggravated his bilateral carpal and cubital tunnel syndrome conditions. The employee testified at length about his job duties, including pouring and smoothing concrete, operating various tools, general cleaning, and preparing funerals. He also presented testimony from his treating physician who opined the employee’s various job tasks could, at a minimum, aggravate pre-existing compressive neuropathies.
Goldberg Segalla’s strategy began with the argument that the employee’s job was not repetitive. Natasa presented testimony from the company’s owner regarding the method and frequency of employees’ tasks as well as the type of equipment and tools used in day-to-day operations. In addition, she argued that even if the petitioner’s job was repetitive, he failed to prove those duties caused or aggravated his conditions based on evidence of prior treatment for carpal and cubital tunnel syndrome. By investigating thoroughly, Natasa uncovered a prior EMG/NCV study which allowed an Independent Medical Expert to make valuable pre-and post-injury comparisons. The IME testified there was no change between the old and new studies, which one would expect to see had the employment been a causative or aggravating factor. Based on the evidence of prior treatment and the persuasive IME testimony, the arbitrator found in our client’s favor on all issues.
Repetitive motion claims are challenging to defend, as they are not traceable to a single event and because an Illinois employee need only show that employment was a cause of the condition to prove compensability. In what is widely regarded as an employee-friendly jurisdiction, Natasa secured a full victory for our client with her diligence and preparedness. Anticipating the employee’s testimony, she uncovered valuable evidence by interviewing the employer about the variety of work its employees perform and the types of equipment they operate. She followed all relevant threads to uncover the employee’s prior medical treatment. Finally, Natasa also retained a strong medical expert, making sure he had all the necessary information to render a clear, detailed opinion.
The victory demonstrates that Illinois employers can still prevail on even challenging legal theories by partnering with the right defense team and implementing the right investigation, expert, and trial strategy.
Goldberg Segalla’s success in efficient file-handling, as well as long-range strategic risk-management, has earned us a national reputation for exceeding our clients’ expectations and driving positive change in the practice of workers’ compensation law. One of the first law firms ever to approach workers’ compensation in this manner and at this scale, we have been able to achieve extraordinary cost savings for leading employers in sectors ranging from construction to retail to the gig economy.