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Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Repetitive Stress Injuries?

A repetitive stress injury, also referred to as an RSI, is an injury that occurs due to repetitive movement and overuse of a part of the body. Like the name suggests, a repetitive stress injury puts too much stress on the muscles or tendons causing inflammation, pain, muscle strain and tissue damage. Repetitive stress injuries in the workplace usually affect parts of the upper body including the forearms, elbows, wrists, hands, neck and shoulders, but can affect lower body parts as well, such as the lower back.

If you have experienced a repetitive stress injury in the workplace, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. If the injury has prevented you from performing your job tasks or if the injury has forced you to switch to a lesser paying role, contact a workers’ compensation attorney at Cruz & Associates to learn more about what we can do to get you the compensation you deserve.

Repetitive Stress Injury Causes

Repetitive stress injuries are caused due to the microscopic tears in the muscles not having time to repair themselves due to the repetitive movement. Some more specific causes of repetitive stress injuries in the workplace include:

  • Sitting in the same position for extended periods of time
  • Back and forth motion of scrubbing/cleaning surfaces for extended periods
  • Constant use of tools
  • Having your arms up for long periods of time
  • Frequent technology use (including position of neck looking at the screen, sitting position, hand using the mouse, and hands typing)
  • Repetitive swiping of items at a grocery store
  • Repetitive movements while being exposed to extremely cold temperatures

Repetitive stress injuries can happen in almost any job field, but they are more common in jobs where there is extreme repetition of movement. Some of these jobs include:

  • Hairdressers
  • Office workers
  • Housekeeping
  • Trade workers (electrician, plumber, etc.)
  • Delivery and postal workers
  • Transportation workers
  • Grocery store workers

Man grabs his lower back while experiencing an RSI from sitting in an uncomfortable position at his desk in his office job for too long.

Symptoms of RSI include:

  • Numbness or tingling
  • Aching pain
  • Throbbing
  • Stiffness
  • Cramping

What to Do If You Have a Repetitive Stress Injury in the Workplace

If you have the symptoms listed above and believe your repetitive stress injury is severe enough that it has caused you to miss work, there are important steps you need to take in order to ensure you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.

Document the Injury

In any workers’ compensation case, documentation is crucial in order to use it as evidence to build your case. When you have a repetitive stress injury in the workplace, it is important to document your injury because they usually occur over time instead of just in a single instant. This can include documenting when the symptoms began, how often they occur, and what tasks you are doing when the pain is the most prevalent. By documenting your injury, you can provide a timeline of the injury for your attorney to use when fighting your case.

Speak with Your Doctor

If you have not already, you should schedule an appointment with your primary care physician so they can examine your injury and complete the necessary documentation. The documentation from your doctor will work as credible evidence to show the details of your injury which will be important for your attorney when you file for workers’ compensation for your repetitive stress injury. Your doctor can also prescribe medication or other treatment options to help with the pain from your injury while you recover.

Report It to Your Employer

The next step would be to report your injury to your employer. By law, workers have to report their injuries to their employers in a certain amount of time in order to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. However, with repetitive stress injuries, you may not be able to pinpoint exactly when the injury began because there usually isn’t a significant event that causes the injury. Because of this, it’s important to report your injury to your employer as soon as your doctor has diagnosed you with a repetitive stress injury in order to ensure you meet the workers’ compensation qualifications.

Contact an Experienced Lawyer

Because repetitive stress injuries do not have a traumatic event that caused the injury, it can be hard to prove that the injury was caused in the workplace. This is why you need a highly experienced attorney, like the bilingual workers’ compensation attorneys at Cruz & Associates, who specialize in helping workers like you get the benefits they are entitled to. Contact Cruz & Associates today to get more information about how our workers’ compensation attorneys will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.

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