Veteran attorney Scott McCain recently prevailed in defense of a repetitive trauma claim filed by a tire technician. In this case, the claimant alleged that removing and installing tires with an air gun, in conjunction with the use of a torque wrench to tighten nuts, resulted left carpal tunnel syndrome, lumbar radiculopathy, cervical radiculopathy, and left ulnar neuropathy. Prior to trial, we thoroughly investigated the petitioner’s job duties by speaking with the claimant’s supervisor and the claimant’s co-workers. Moreover, a complete set of medical records was obtained and meticulously reviewed.
A complete understanding of the claimant’s job duties and an intimate familiarity with the medical records allowed for productive cross examination of the claimant. The claimant testified that the number of cars that he worked on varied on a daily basis, and that the maximum number of cars he worked on per day was 8. The claimant also acknowledged that there was a maximum of 32 tires changed in an 8 hour work day. While not working on cars, the claimant would stock the warehouse and change flat tires. Furthermore, I & F elicited an admission from the claimant that he never experienced cervical pain or left elbow pain at work. The Arbitrator concluded that the level of work the petitioner testified to was insufficient to have caused a repetitive trauma injury, and found that the petitioner did not sustain an accident arising out of and in the course of his employment. The petitioner has appealed the decision to the IWCC.
As employers in Illinois are well aware, disputed repetitive trauma cases are difficult to win. But, as we see here, and in I&F’s other recent repetitive trauma wins, it is certainly not impossible. This case clearly illustrates how a well laid trial strategy can produce superior results. We welcome the opportunity to pursue similar results for all of our clients.