Attorney Belal Hamideh on Whether CTE Should Be Covered by Workers Compensation Law

07:03 EDT 2 Aug 2017 | PR Newswire

LONG BEACH, Calif., Aug. 2, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Occupational continuous trauma injuries have come into a greater spotlight in the previous week, with an alarming report that tested 111 brains of ex-NFL football players, and found that only one did not show signs consistent with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, commonly referred to as CTE.  Workers compensation attorney Belal Hamideh, who practices out of Long Beach, California, said that the diagnoses fall under the category of continuous trauma or repetitive strain injury that entitles players suffering from this to damages.

CTE is a degenerative brain disease caused by repetitive head trauma to the brain, and was first regarded as common in boxing, but has intensified in its findings among football players.  Common symptoms are memory loss, depression and unpredictable behavior that worsens over time.   

In late 2016, a group of 38 former NFL players filed jointly in a suit against the NFL in US Federal court to pay workers compensation claims. Although the group litigation was dropped on the Federal level, many of those players' claims continue in state courts.  The issue of adding CTE to the list of diseases covered by workers compensation laws is in a legal struggle, but many litigation cases are actively underway.  Currently, the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement does not offer coverage for CTE, as it does not recognize the disease as "work-related."

Although the findings are of a high profile nature, continuous trauma injury is extremely common in a vast number of occupational settings.  According to Hamideh, much of the greater public isn't aware of the legal rights and monetary benefits they could be entitled to as a result of workers comp laws that govern their line of work.  

"I wanted to educate people, and let them know that they do have the right to recoup money," said Hamideh, "Generally you have to file a workers compensation case at least one year since the last date a person received treatment."

In more common trades, injuries stemming from repetitive movements develop over time and do not commonly have a single event as a root cause. As an example, carpal tunnel syndrome is commonly developed in administrative office occupations, whereas deterioration in the spine or knees can be caused due to repetitive strain in industries like construction, manufacturing, shipping, agriculture, and other jobs that require continuous standing and lifting.  Spine and knee injuries are among the most common of workers compensation claims.   

"Say you're a construction worker for many years," said Hamideh. "That could be a result of the trauma from your job."   

Hamideh said claims for medical treatment and related expenses should be made with the employer's workers' compensation. It's also important that a claimant knows what to do with illegally uninsured employers. Hamideh said California and other states have established Uninsured Employer Benefits Trust Funds that ensure claimants get paid for benefits awarded by state workers' compensation boards.    

For consultation on Workers Compensation Claims, or to make a press inquiry, call (800) 503-2850.   

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