If You Have Symptoms, Tell Your Lawyer!

If You Have Symptoms, Tell Your Lawyer

Today’s post comes from our colleague Kate Fitzgerald of New York.

We represent a client whose hands were directly injured a few years ago. The insurance company, as part of its defense, is raising a provision in the law which requires an injured worker to file a claim for a direct injury within two years of the accident (WCL § 28). While interviewing the client, we learned that she had been feeling symptoms in her hands years ago, at the same time as she began experiencing the symptoms to other areas of her body. But because she only mentioned that her hands hurt now, we may not be able to get her the compensation she deserves.

Our client told me that originally brought up the symptoms of numbness, tingling and weakness in her hands with her doctor, but he felt these symptoms were related to her neck, another

If you are hurt, tell your attorney everything, even if you aren’t sure if it is relevant.

area where she was injured. The doctor tried to treat her hand symptoms by treating her neck first. He  planned to treat her hands directly if treating her neck did not help. The neck treatment took several years to complete, and the doctor recently concluded that my client has a direct injury to her hands and referred her to a specialist.

At this point in the case, because the doctor was treating our client’s hand symptoms as part of her neck pain, we are busy combing our client’s medical records to find evidence which proves that she complained about her hands years ago. If we can find a medical record discussing symptoms and treatment to our client’s hands, perhaps we will be able to get around the 2 year statute of limitations and get our client benefits for her hurt hands.

Lesson learned: If you are hurt, tell your attorney everything, even if you aren’t sure if it is relevant. Your lawyers can decide whether to bring up the injury at a hearing, even if only to protect your rights for the future.

Kate Fitzgerald is an attorney at Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP, a full service Law Firm that has been representing the injured person and worker in New York State for over 80 years, concentrating in serious personal injury cases, workers compensation claims, occupational disease claims, social security claims and various other matters such as estate planning and state and municipal disability claims.

One thought on “If You Have Symptoms, Tell Your Lawyer!

  1. Sarah K

    This is a great reminder of how important it is to discuss everything with your attorney, especially in a workers compensation case. One hard part about injuries is they can manifest in different ways with time meaning something that wasn’t as prominent at the time of injury may end up being a big problem in the long run. For example, I was in a horse training accident years ago that injured my back and neck. I’ve since developed severe TMJ that causes a great amount of pain but it didn’t show up for almost a year later and it took awhile for doctors to realize it was a result of the original injury.


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