Chronic pain and chronic fatigue are growing endemic within the working population. Fibromyalgia, which has no cure, is one such condition. It has no cure, and it can put an end to anyone’s ability to work full-time.
While you may think it is difficult to prove that fibromyalgia would be a work-related injury, the truth is that up to 40% of sufferers end up with fibromyalgia as the result of a “triggering event.”
To claim workers compensation for this condition, you will need to prove both that you have fibromyalgia, and that the fibromyalgia was caused by workplace conditions.
Proving You Have Fibromyalgia
Doctors are getting better at diagnosing fibromyalgia. There are specific symptoms they can look for. In addition to chronic fatigue, pain, and cognitive impairments, they can identify specific tender points that hurt when pressure is applied. Doctors can also ask about a group of symptoms and the number of times each week you suffer from those symptoms. There are no specific diagnostic tests for fibromyalgia, though there may be soon. Last year, researchers used machine learning to distinguish the brain scans of those with fibromyalgia from those without, and did so with 93% accuracy.
You will certainly need a diagnosis to prove that you have fibromyalgia. It is an “invisible illness,” which can make it difficult to prove. In addition, workplace doctors will be incentivized to tell you that the disease is “all in your head.”
Proving Your Fibromyalgia is Work-Related
One way is to prove it is a secondary complication of a work-related injury that is already undisputed. It is understood that traumatic injuries can trigger fibromyalgia. Some emerging research suggests it is an autoimmune disease.
Fibromyalgia is also intertwined with depression and PTSD. If the work environment itself caused these things you can get compensation for them in New Jersey, and they are often easier to claim than fibromyalgia. You still have to forge a causal link between the mental health issues and the work environment.
If you work in a particularly hazardous profession where trauma is part of the work then proving this link usually works better than trying to prove the fibromyalgia itself.
If you can continue working, if more slowly, and cannot identify a triggering event that is specifically work-related or a more visible work-related injury, then you may be better off attempting to work, or applying for disability and keeping your job until you get it, simply because filing a workers compensation claim often terminates your relationship with your employer one way or another.
Not sure whether making a fibromyalgia-related workers compensation claim is right for you? We can help.
Contact us for a case evaluation. You don’t have to do guesswork!