Workers’ Compensation Cases for Musculoskeletal Disorders: The Role of Diagnostic Imaging

5 Oct 2018 Health Care

As of 2015, work-related musculoskeletal disorders accounted for more than 30 percent of all reported nonfatal injuries incurred on the job. When employers ignore ergonomic hazards, requiring staff to lift heavy objects, engage in repetitive tasks, or assume awkward postures, they increase the risk of musculoskeletal disorders in the workforce.


As a result, musculoskeletal disorders often lead to workers’ compensation. Examples of these types of injuries include:


  • Chronic back pain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Arthritis
  • Hernias
  • Muscle tears
  • Sprains


In the event of a contested workers’ compensation claim, however, the injured party may turn to attorneys to prove their case. When that happens, personal injury lawyers should not neglect the power of diagnostic imaging to prove preventable injury and hardship. Doctors may order any of the following imaging tests to detect work-related musculoskeletal disorders:



  • MRI scans. This noninvasive, radiation-free imaging modality produces strong images of soft tissues like ligaments, tendons, and muscles. It can reveal the presence of a muscle tear or other soft-tissue damage, making the MRI scan a top choice for legal teams working to demonstrate occupational injury.




  • Ultrasonography. Ultrasound scans are another safe, radiation-free imaging modality that can reveal musculoskeletal disorders. The resulting images are particularly suited for displaying inflammation around joints and tendons.




  • X-rays. While X-rays do expose patients to small amounts of ionizing radiation, they’re also the best way to document bone injuries, such as fractures and osteoarthritis. X-rays are not suitable for imaging soft tissues, so in cases of sprains and strains, physicians will usually order MRI scans or ultrasound imaging instead.   



  • Computed tomography. In some cases of bone injury, doctors will order CT scans. These devices take multiple X-rays, digitally sewing them together to create a 3D image. When a typical X-ray doesn’t reveal injuries, physicians may turn to CT scans for more details.


Diagnostic imaging is an important part of treating musculoskeletal disorders. In a workers’ compensation lawsuit, it can also provide the proof plaintiff attorneys need to sway a judge or jury. Having clear, high-quality images in hand can even encourage defendants to settle favorably for a client.


If you’re an attorney working on a workers’ compensation case, refer your client to Precise Imaging for quick, high-quality diagnostic tests. Call the imaging experts at 800-558-2223 to schedule an appointment or visit our attorney resources page here.   




Nonfatal Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Requiring Days Away From Work, 2015.BLS. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 10 Nov. 2016. Web. 1 Aug. 2018


Villa-Forte, Alexandra. “Tests for Musculoskeletal Disorders.MerckManuals. Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., Dec. 2017. Web. 1 Aug. 2018.


Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders & Ergonomics.CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nd. Web. 1 Aug. 2018.