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Notice of a carpel tunnel or repetitive injury claim in South Carolina:

Posted by Katie Phipps | Nov 15, 2021 | 0 Comments

Statute 42-15-20(C) of the S.C. Code Ann. explains when notice must be given when an employee suffers a repetitive injury. These injuries can be compensable, but they occur over time rather than as the result of trauma. In other words, they have a “gradual onset caused by the cumulative effect of repetitive traumatic events or mini accidents…[therefore] it is difficult to determine the date an accident occurs…” Schurlknight v. City of N. Charleston, 352 S.C. 175, 178, 574 S.E. 2d 194, 195 (2002). Thus, determining how long an injured worker has to give “notice” after the onset of repetitive injury can be a challenge. Section 42-15-20 provides guidance and reads in part:

Notice must be given by the employee within ninety days of the date the employee discovered, or could have discovered by exercising reasonable diligence, that his condition is compensable…

What does that mean in the real world? In SC, the courts have generally interpreted the ninety-day (90) reporting clock to start when a condition required medical treatment or interfered with an employee's ability to work, whichever occurred first. Therefore, if a doctor tells you or you tell a doctor you think your pain is work related, you need to also immediately notify your supervisor or HR. Additionally, if you cannot work due to pain or disability caused repetitive job duties, you need to notify your supervisor or HR that you believe your condition is related to your work. Essentially, courts require Claimants to be vigilant and when they know or reasonably believe their pain is work related, they need to inform their employer.

Examples of jobs with higher risk for repetitive injuries include:

1) Production or manufacturing line worker

2) Office job that requires typing

3) Construction work including painting, roofing, demolition, electrical

4) Stationary job

5) Delivery personnel

6) Meat or food processing

7) Bus driver

8) Stock clerk

9) Housekeepers or janitorial staff

Examples of repetitive injuries include:

1)Carpel or Cubital Tunnel

2) Plantar Fascitis 

3) Trigger finger

4) Tendonitis

5) Neuritis

6) Degenerative arthritis

7) de Quervain's 

About the Author

Katie Phipps

For more than 17 years, Katie had a successful practice at two of South Carolina's largest workers' compensation defense firms. During that time, she realized her favorite part of the job was helping Pro Se claimants navigate the settlement process. As a lawyer for the insurance carrier, she ofte...


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