All posts by Alex Gish

Cumulative Trauma Disorders: When are CTDs Compensable in Wisconsin?

Millions of Americans work tough jobs every day without recognizing the impact it can have on their body and their overall health. Even sitting in front of the computer for hours on end can cause serious injury, but because the effects are cumulative, such an injury is difficult to prove and receive compensation for.  These injuries are called cumulative trauma disorders.

In Wisconsin, occupational safety and health experts recognize cumulative trauma disorders, or CTDs, as injuries or disorders that result from excessive wear and tear on certain parts of the body that arise from doing repetitive tasks over an extended period of time. Risk factors are mainly associated with a person’s job function or work environments, whereas employers are responsible for making the workplace a safe and comfortable environment for all employees. If a worker suffers from cumulative trauma because of a poor working environment, the employer is accountable and must act to provide access to health care and rehabilitation.

Compensation Benefits for Cumulative Trauma Disorders

CTDs are quite common, but most workers don’t seek medical intervention until their condition gets far worse and more intolerable. Here are a few examples of CTDs:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome caused by overuse or excessive, repetitive force when typing on a hard keyboard
  • Chronic back pain caused by awkward posture because of continuously sitting in an uncomfortable office chair
  • Severe lung disorder because of prolonged exposure to construction fumes

Employees who develop CTD due to incidents of overuse at work may seek compensation benefits, including monetary coverage of medical expenses, lost wages, and other expenses for rehabilitation and retraining. For victims of workplace injuries to be eligible for these benefits, they must first notify their employer of their afflictions, even if the symptoms are mild.

Victims must also obtain and keep copies of the Report of Injury, as well as past and current medical records to support the claim. They must also document any written or electronic correspondence with the employer regarding the injury. These documents will be useful should the claim be denied, or if the insurance company fails to pay sufficient coverage for all medical expenses incurred. If the employee no longer works for that company, seeking advice from a worker’s comp attorney is a must. The Department of Workforce Development in Wisconsin provides a detailed explanation of which injuries and circumstances are payable or compensable.

Challenges in Filing a CTD Claim

Among other occupational injury classifications, CTDs are the hardest to prove as compensable. This is because when overuse or cumulative trauma precipitates an occupational injury or disorder, it is either too late to file a claim or the evidence is not strong enough to win a just settlement. Another reason is that not all overuse injuries are the result of one particular incident. In the context of Wisconsin worker’s compensation laws, circumstances have also changed following changes in legislation. One of these changes includes a reduction of the statute of limitations from 12 to 6 years, which can discourage workers from filing a claim.

Repetitive injuries are just as damaging as other work injuries. And what’s worse is that the implications develop gradually, sometimes quite late in life. Cumulative trauma is especially hard to prove. Seeking help from a trusted law practice, such as Workers Comp Wisconsin, is essential to ensure a smooth and fair settlement.

While employers are responsible for the well-being of their workforce, victims must be quick and proactive when it comes to demanding compensation benefits. Delaying the process may only lead to more financial losses and health implications.

A Mental Burden: When Stress Becomes an Obligation

Employees grow in stature in a company to which they choose to be loyal. Their tenure usually merits all kinds of benefits, such as higher pay, respect, and probably a managerial position. But it’s generally unavoidable for workers in such a position to receive an increase in stress, as well. In fact, a senior employee will always deal with more mental burdens, as he or she has a greater level of responsibility, or may be in charge of a implementing a project, or of maintaining the efficiency of an entire team.

Many people don’t mind the pressure, to an extent; ask anyone who has ever received a promotion as a result of their hard work. But, the stress also becomes an obligation, as tasks and responsibilities to the company all weigh upon a person’s mind. While everyone realizes that stress comes with the territory of promotion and career advancement, sometimes, the levels are too high to efficiently manage.  When stress becomes excessive, is it really your fault or does the company have a hand in it by expecting or demanding too much?

How Can Stress Be So Serious?

Everybody is aware that stress is a part of most every facet of life. The culture of accepting, even embracing it, however, probably goes too far. In Japan and South Korea, a big part of career and work involves is dealing with an inordinate amount of stress. In western countries, such attitudes may not be as commonplace, but it is still a problem in high-pressure industries. Nonetheless, if stress strikes the wrong individual in the wrong way, the consequences could be severe.

Furthermore, stress is way more than a mental burden. The mind-and-body connection is such that any variation in emotion or state of mind will reflect physically. Nobody enjoys long-term stress, and when you put such a heavy strain on your nervous system, it’s bound to affect everything else. From tension-type headaches to rapid breathing to poorer cardiac health to overproduction of certain hormones – a lot of conditions can not only originate from but also worsen with stress.

This is why relaxation and balance are a part of a healthy working lifestyle. Taking on only what you can handle at work and having time off never did anyone any harm, but some people find they do not have that choice. Advancement, expectation, and responsibilities get in the way of them finding respite from work. The question is, is the situation a personal choice or something that the company has put on them?

A Legally Actionable Event

Injury can come in a variety of ways, with a “mental sprain and strain” being no less of an affliction as a physical one. Considering that mental stress can make you physically sick, it’s a heavy price to pay just to satisfy the standards enforced by your company. If you don’t see the assistance you need or the recognition you deserve, and this has become procedure within your company, it’s possible that a lawyer can help you in the matter.

The main objective here is to ensure that a company does not take advantage of your loyalty, as its employee. It’s not right for a corporation to give you so much work for a reward that is not commensurate to the weight of what is expected of you. And, if you so happen to develop a stress-related sickness because of the excessive work, this compounds the matter. If the situation continues without proper compensation, you can seek legal recourse, remarks Wisconsin’s Mays Law Office.

If you’re showing signs of illness that you haven’t had before, it’s a good measure to take a stress test. Stress is one of the reasons a perfectly healthy person will suddenly fall sick, and it will affect you in ways that you didn’t know possible. It’s the kind of injury that will wear you out, despite functioning as a fully able individual (that is to say, without any physical incapacity).

Anyone looking at this option must be certain of their impairment. A mental-related workplace injury isn’t a commonplace case. It’s not a visible injury, like a loss of limb or any kind of debilitation, and any claim must come with concrete proof. So, read about what stress causes, its effects on the body and mind, and have a medical professional confirm your suspicions.

These are matters that you can – and should – discuss with your lawyer, so he or she can explain your options.

Alternative Cases of Origin

Everyone is well aware that stress can arise from traumatic events or from any job, but people may not be familiar with the possible dire consequences of extreme stress. Take soldiers, for example, and the otherworldly trauma they experience. People may be familiar with PTSD, but they can barely grasp the gravity of the effects of PTSD on the people – such as servicemen and women – who struggle with it.

As for regular day jobs, they can also be sources of great mental strain. One legal case involved compensation for an employee, a deputy sheriff, who witnessed a suicide while on the job. It was a tragic circumstance, and the appellate court actually agreed that what the sheriff experienced qualified under Wisconsin’s “unexpected and unforeseen” criteria. This shows that what may be deemed a weak case, by traditional standards, may still be worth fighting for.

Another case happened decades ago and involved a nurse and a group of aggressive patients. The aggressors attacked some of the passive patients, and the nurse had to intervene. The notable event in this situation was a patient smearing fecal matter on the face of the nurse. The case, however, initially didn’t go well for the nurse, and bounced back and forth from compensation commission to court. Plus, the nurse had a pre-existing depressive condition, which the commission deemed integral to her developing a mental condition, as such, denied her benefits. Ultimately, though, the denial of benefits was reversed by the South Carolina Supreme Court.

Statutes have changed since then, and it’s now possible to bring such a case to a commission or court of law with likely different outcomes, and less ambiguity or hostility.

Your benefits can range from coverage of medical expenses to compensation for lost wages, which the court will determine as the case progresses. As always with personal injury cases, the severity of your injury will play a part in how much or what you’ll get, by way of compensation.

There is a wide interpretation of what injury is, and whether or not it prevents you from fulfilling your duties. But, physical disability is hardly the only thing that makes a person incapable, especially if their job isn’t really reliant on manual labor. There are many kinds of jobs with different stresses, and there’s no telling how serious a trauma can be in a particular line of work. This is why there are legal options for workers to take when the circumstances become especially problematic.

Though no one may seem at fault, the damage is there. Someone has to be responsible, and there isn’t always a straight answer– which is why it is to your advantage to have a lawyer by your side, and a judge to decide the matter. You don’t have to be alone when it comes to any kind of injury interfering with your daily life; and most especially when it is the kind of injury that affects something as valuable as your mind.


Not Just For Veterans: PTSD Happens and So Should Workers’ Comp

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is real; in fact, it affects a number of working Americans.

According to the Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs, an estimated 7.8% of the population will most likely experience PTSD — a direct opposition to their want to earn a living.

Until recent years, personal injury claims focused on physical and orthopedic injuries, such as industrial accidents or slips and falls. Changes in social attitudes and culture, however, resulted in an increase of workers experiencing mental stresses in the workplace. Among the different psychiatric diagnoses, PTSD is the one that receives higher compensation.

PTSD – An Overview

You don’t have to be a war veteran to have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; anyone can have it. While the condition affects a number of military service members, it is not limited to that population only.

Post-traumatic stress disorder, a mental health condition, occurs when an individual witnesses a traumatic event. If the incident happened during work (or while an employee is acting in the scope of their job), their PTSD condition earns them qualifications for workers’ compensation.

People suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder experience a variety of psychological symptoms. Everyone has different trauma responses; therefore, everyone will have different symptoms. In some cases, PTSD results in depression and mild anxiety. These workers may need periodic treatment, but can still work full-time after recovery.

Others, however, experience severe reactions that affect their regular jobs or personal relationships.

The Symptoms of PTSD

Diagnosis of PTSD happens after you experience the symptoms for at least a month after the traumatic event. Some symptoms, however, do not appear for several months or years later. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, PTSD has three main symptoms:

  • Re-experiencing the trauma through distressing memories of the event, nightmares, and intrusive flashbacks
  • Difficulty in concentrating and sleeping; easily annoyed, irritated, or angered; feeling jumpy
  • Emotional numbness and intentionally avoiding people, places, or activities that serve as reminders of the trauma

Other mental symptoms include self-destructive or violent behavior, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Physical symptoms of PTSD, on the other hand, include ulcers, headaches, high blood pressure, vomiting, heart attacks, fatigue, or diarrhea.

Work-Related PTSD Happens

Most claims for workers’ compensation related to PTSD fall under two categories: PTSD due to traumatic experiences or due to out-of-work trauma caused by circumstances at work. Situations that might give rise to traumatic stress claims include the following:

  • Teachers who witness school shooting
  • Police officers, EMT, or firefighters who respond to gruesome or horrific situations
  • Construction workers who witness a co-workers’ injury or death
  • Occupations such as police officers and first responders are susceptible to traumatic events. Dangerous or high-stress environments place workers at higher risks for developing PTSD.

PTSD victims that clearly suffer due to work-related circumstances can easily file for workers’ comp claims. For those with PTSD due to out of work trauma cases, proving the claim will be more difficult. There should be a sufficient link between work conditions and your current symptoms.

PTSD can also be a standalone type of compensation claim or arise due to physical injuries. Often, victims of accidents easily recover from physical injuries, but the lingering PTSD condition can haunt them for years. The said employee then files compensation claims that include compensation for their injuries and the post-traumatic stress.

In some cases, the worker develops PTSD due to the injury; this is applicable to employees who witness an accident but was not in any way involved.

Proving Claims to Insurance Companies

When filing for traumatic stress-related workers’ comp claims, your allegations will receive thorough scrutiny. It’s common for fraud investigators to look into your personal life; they will determine if your PTSD symptoms are real and if the workplace is the culprit. Investigation strategies involve interviewing co-workers, checking credit reports, and reviewing mental health records.

Still, these processes shouldn’t stop you from filing PTSD claims. When you

Filing for the Workers’ Compensation Claim

The nature of your limitations determines the type of benefits you receive (permanent or temporary). Apart from covering lost wages, you are also entitled to the reimbursement of all your medical treatment’s costs. You also get the time off work until you fully recover.

If you believe you’re suffering from PTSD because of a workplace incident, talk to your doctor and employer immediately. Reporting workplace injuries follow strict deadlines; if you miss one, you might lose your right to receive compensation benefits.

Your doctor and/or employer will provide the necessary form to file compensation claims in your state. But apart from these people, you will also need guidance from an attorney.

That’s where we come in; Mays Law Office, LLC is happy to be of your assistance.

Why You Need Legal Assistance

When you sustain an injury while on the job, legal advice from skilled attorneys is a necessity. If you suffer from work-related PTSD, our qualified workers’ comp attorneys can help you with your case.

Understanding the complexities of PTSD and workers’ compensation can be difficult, but our team keeps you informed. We take you through the workers’ comp system in Wisconsin, including the allowable mental PTSD claims. Getting legal help also guarantees assistance in filing claims and appeals within the set deadlines set by the insurance company or you’re the state.

A Lawyer By Your Side

Our law firm doesn’t focus on just the physical injuries. Whether you suffered from an accident on the job or developed post traumatic stress due to repetitive trauma, our job is to assess your claim. Navigating through mental illness claims can be complicated; we assess your claim and determine the best course of action for your case. With Mays Law Office, LLC, we make no decisions without your full consent and cooperation.

Our firm also has the privilege of representing different kinds of workers— from nurses, police officers, carpenters, construction workers and business workers to laborers.

Moreover, we take pride in being proactive and successful in keeping insurance companies honest. What does this mean? We’ve had clients who deal with insurance companies who refused to pay benefits for injured workers. When you hire us, we show these companies the right way.

PTSD should not hamper your lifestyle, career, or rights as an employee. Get the claim you deserve by working with a workers’ comp attorney who understands your needs. Talk to us today and let us help you.


How Does Workers Compensation Work in Wisconsin?

Worker’s Compensation is a type of insurance that is designed to protect both employers and employees when someone is injured on the job. The process is simple. Each workplace is required to pay premiums to an insurance carrier. When an employee gets hurt on the job, they file a claim. Worker’s compensation pays the injured employee’s medical bills and compensates them for lost wages. Following is an explanation of how this program works in Wisconsin.


The first step to filing a claim is to determine whether or not you are eligible. Almost everyone in the state of Wisconsin is covered by worker’s compensation. The exceptions are

  • domestic workers such as maid, cooks, drivers, etc
  • some farm employees
  • volunteers as long as they don’t receive more than $10 per week in compensation
  • certified religious employees from qualified organizations

There are other worker’s compensation programs that cover federal employees, interstate railroads, and people who work on sea vessels. These employees would file claims through their own individual programs.


The next step is to notify your employer immediately if you are injured on the job. Delaying reporting the injury to your employer could result in your claim being denied, and could negatively impact your health. Even if you don’t think you need to see a doctor, you should still report the injury.
If you do incur medical bills, the employer notifies their insurance carrier, and the insurance carrier files all the appropriate paperwork with the Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Division. The insurance carrier will write a check for any medical expenses and lost wages if you are off work for more than 3 days. The first 3 days are not covered unless your doctor orders you off work for 7 or more days.


If your claim is denied either partly or in full, you still have options. Your claim can be reviewed by a specialist in the Alternative Dispute Resolution Unit (ADR), or you can request a formal hearing with an Administrative Law Judge. The next step is the Labor and Industry Review Commission (LIRC) and then finally to circuit court.


The worker’s compensation program is designed to protect workers from injuries that happen on the job. The most important thing to remember is to notify your employer immediately if you get injured while you are working.

A Look Back on 2016’s Wins!

Mays Law Office had a very successful year litigating workers compensation claims on behalf of Wisconsin injured workers.  What follows are the highlights of some of Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays’ successes

Mays Law Office gets Kohl’s Employee Workers Compensation Benefits Immediately

Mays Law Office was pleased to get immediate benefits for a Kohl’s Department Store employee who injured herself at work.  

The Kohl’s employee was frustrated that her workers compensation benefits were denied despite her fall and injury being clearly depicted on store surveillance.  The Kohl’s employee hired Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays who conducted an investigation.  It was learned that a co-worker witnessed the injury and video surveillance recorded the fall.  Supportive medical proof was obtained by Mays Law Office and presented to the workers compensation insurance carrier. Attorney Pierobon Mays warned the insurance carrier that its continued denial of benefits was a mishandling of the claim.  In turn, the insurance carrier hired legal counsel.   

After reviewing the matter, opposing counsel advised the insurance carrier to pay benefits immediately (all lost time/wages and medical expense) and add an additional 10% for late payment in order to avoid any punitive actions.  Moreover, Mays Law Office also got the Kohl’s employee back to performing light-duty work while healing.  

Large Settlement for Wisconsin Nurse

Wisconsin nurse suffered a serious neck injury when transferring a disabled patient from bed to toilet.  Nurse required a three-level cervical fusion resulting in permanent work restrictions.  The employer was unable to offer the nurse work due to her restrictions. Employer’s workers compensation insurance accepted that nurse suffered a work injury with physical restrictions but claimed that nurse could still find work in the nursing field.  Nurse hired Mays Law Office to help her because she was unable to find gainful employment in the workforce.  Mays Law Office argued that nurse was 100% disabled and unable to work.  A hearing was scheduled but a few days before the hearing, the workers compensation insurance carrier settled the claim for approximately $300,000.  

Injured Landscaper Gets Full Benefits within 5 weeks of hiring Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays

Landscape worker injured his shoulder while working for a large Dane County landscaping company.  The injury was so serious that he required a total shoulder replacement.  However, when the Landscaper met with Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays he was frustrated that only minimal medical treatment and benefits were being paid by the workers compensation insurance company.  Attorney Pierobon Mays filed for a hearing claiming that the insurance carrier had no basis to be denying the full shoulder replacement noting that its own doctor accepted that such a surgery was necessary for the work-related injury.  Within 5 weeks of meeting and hiring Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays, Landscaper received all the benefits he was entitled, which included lost time, disability, medical expense, and medical mileage reimbursement.  Mays Law Office is now taking the claim one step further in 2017 and pursuing a claim for retraining as Landscaper can no longer perform heavy work due to his post-surgical restrictions.  

Mays Law Office Achieves Successful Settlement for Injured Technician

Technician works for a Wisconsin cable company.  In 2013, Technician suffers a slip and fall at work severally injuring his left shoulder.  The injury results in a full rotator cuff tear requiring surgery.  After surgery, the shoulder is severally disabled and permanent physical restrictions prevent Technician from returning to his job at the cable company or any level of physical work.  Insurance Company denies responsibility through its medical expert.

Technician seeks the help of Mays Law Office.  Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays pursues a claim for permanent disability, lost wages, medical expense, and Retraining for 2 years of school at Blackhawk Technical College.  A successful settlement is achieved for Technician when Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays finds flaws and inconsistencies in the report of the insurance company doctor.          

Mays Law Office Forces Insurance Company to Pay Due to Error by Its Doctor.

Injured worker Jason suffers a 2012 right knee injury while working for a large Wisconsin construction company.  Claim is accepted by insurance company and Jason undergoes 4.  Jason is sent to well-known Wisconsin adverse medical examiner in April 2015 who determines Jason is at a healing plateau, surgeries were reasonable and necessary, and decides that the total permanent disability rating is 7% to right knee with physical restrictions that employer cannot accommodate.  Jason thinks he needs to talk to Mays Law Office for such a small rating after 4 surgeries.       

Mays Law Office reviews the matter with Jason and immediately recognizes that the opinion of the insurance company’s doctor is legally wrong.  Mays Law Office sends a strongly worded letter to the workers compensation insurance company describing the law and offering a deadline date to correct before it will file a penalty claim.

Result – Within one week, the workers compensation carries hires defense counsel to fight Mays Law Office.  However, legal counsel advices the insurance company that Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays is completely correct and instructs the workers compensation insurance company to pay additional monies to Jason immediately.  

Over the next year, Mays Law Office continues to advocate on behalf of Jason and gets him an additional $100,000 plus for additional permanent disability, lost time, medical expense and the cost of retraining for different employment.