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Trigger thumb caused by repetitive use & I don't want to make a workers comp claim unless I need surgery. Is that okay?

San Mateo, CA |

I got an injection in December. The pain was gone for a few months.The pain is back and I need another injection. I have come to realize it is from using the mouse at work all day. My concern is that I love my job and boss and don't want to cause any trouble for them or me. If the problem goes away after the shot-no worries, but if I end up needing surgery, can I, at that time,mention that I believe it's from repetitive use at work. I'm just not sure what to do and what exactly workers comp means to my employer. I am NOT trying to have a "case" or get money but I am concerned that it's my dominant hand and if I ended up with surgery & it didn't work....then what? I need advice!

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Attorney answers 3


You are supposed to report work injuries right away. The Statute of Limitations (time limit) for bringing a claim is one year: one year from the date of injury or one year from the date you knew you were injured or one year from the date you knew the injury was work related. I guess you're still within your one year.

I agree that if the 2nd injection takes care of the worries. But if it doesn't, you really should file the claim. Labor Code 132a prohibits an employer from punishing or discriminating against an employee because they got hurt on the job, sought their benefits or retained an attorney.

Good luck.


If you were a civilian Federal Employee when you were injured, you should definitely file a notice of injury (Form CA 2) and ask your doctor to forward a narrative medical report with a history, objective and subjective findings, a secure diagnosis and a reasoned medical opinion on the relationship between using the mouse and the diagnosed condition. Although many things on and off the job may have contributed to the thumb problem, the OWCP follows a non-apportionment rule. This means that if the work duties made some contribution to the diagnosed condition, the element of causal relationship would be met.

If you are concerned that your employer might impede your claim and take revenge, you should ask the attorney who is representing you to explain 18 USC 1922. If you do not have a local attorney, you should get one soon. The FECA is very complicated and a local attorney or union steward can protect you from reprisals and make sure you get all the benefits to which you are legally entitled. This includes an attendance allowance if the weight of the medical evidence following surgery shows that you need an attendant to provide personal services such as bathing, dressing etc. The attorney can also make sure you get a schedule award following the surgery if there is permanent partial impairment.
Good luck.



Using a mouse all day is your job. As long as you do that, this pain will come back. A shot will not resolve this; time to end the 'hoping for the best.'

Here is the rotten choice before you now:
(1) live with this pain and keep silent (sounds like that is totally NOT working, eh?) or
(2) Submit the "Continuous Trauma" claim to HR, run the risk that a doctor will state you can no longer perform this job and face looking for another job (be it in that company or with a new company).

ALERT!!! IF YOU GET FIRED OR LAID OFF BEFORE you submit this claim, the claim could be barred by the Post-Termination defense and you could end up with a thumb that doesn't work and no job.

Tens of Thousands of people just like you 'hold off' on filing their claim, get laid off, try to file it after they are laid off, and get nothing for waiting one day too long.

ANOTHER PROBLEM: You are committing fraud against your private insurance company!

Your private insurance covers ONLY NON-WORK INJURIES. You know this is a work-related injury. But every time to you go to your private doctor you ask your private insurer to pay for a work-related injury. That's fraud.

Every time any doc sees you for this, he submits a bill to the private insurer stating this is NOT WORK RELATED. The doc signs this under penalty of perjury. That's the only way the doc gets paid. so you and your doc are committing fraud against the private insurance company.

You know you need to tell the boss about it. You're just putting it off.

The longer you put it off, the more you and your private doc commit fraud against the private insurance company and the more the doc writes under oath this is not a work-related problem, making it overly complicated.

Wish I had a magic formular for you to 'have your cake and eat it too" but it just isn't there.

Sorry to bear the bad news. HIRE A WORKERS COMP CERTIFIED SPECIALIST ATTORNEY so you get a hand specialist who can be persuaded to write you -- after all treatment has ended -- can return to all pre-injury duties so you have a much better chance at keeping this job.

You have a "CONTINUOUS TRAUMA" (or 'repetitive trauma') claim that needs to be file before you stop working there for a surgery.

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