When you think about a workplace injury, a single and life-altering accident that occurs in the workplace might be the first thing that comes to mind. However, not all workplace injuries are this dramatic, and many of them develop over time from the effect of repetitive postures or movements on the job such as typing or using hand tools. Fortunately, employees may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for overuse or repetitive stress injuries providing that they are able to show that their work duties are the cause.
What are Repetitive Strain Injuries?
Repetitive strain injuries may also be referred to as overuse injuries or cumulative trauma, a category that is larger and also includes other injuries that may develop over time in the workplace such as hearing loss from prolonged exposure to loud sounds. They include several different conditions such as trigger finger, carpal tunnel syndrome, rotator cuff syndrome, lower back pain, tennis elbow, bursitis, tendonitis and more. The symptoms may include pain, numbness, tingling, a reduced range of motion, reduced flexibility, and a loss of coordination or strength. You may not always notice symptoms during the early stages, or may only experience them when you are holding a certain posture or doing a certain motion.
What to Do if You Suspect an Overuse Injury
It is important to pay attention to the warning signs and early symptoms of an overuse injury, especially if you do a job that involves repetitive motion where you may be at a higher risk of this type of injury occurring. Notify your employer immediately if you think that your symptoms might be related to your job, and see your doctor as soon as possible. Be sure to follow your state workers’ comp rules for seeking medical attention for a work-related injury. Tell your doctor what you were doing when you began to experience symptoms and at what time. They may recommend that you take a break from work or work shorter hours to allow the injury to heal, along with other workplace adjustments.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
You or your employer will need to file a claim to get a workers’ compensation case officially started depending on the laws in your state. Repetitive strain injuries are typically covered under workers’ compensation; however, there are some states where limits are set on these types of injuries, such as requiring employees to meet higher standards when it comes to proving the injury was caused by work rather than other personal activities. Careful documentation of your symptoms including when they first appeared and what you were doing at the time can help to prove this. An expert medical witness may also be able to help you in proving that the overuse injury was caused by work. Las Vegas personal injury lawyers always have working relationships with such professionals because of this reason. If you are in doubt, it’s a wise idea to contact an experienced workers’ comp lawyer who can help.
Many jobs lead to overuse injuries, but they can often be some of the most difficult to prove in a workers’ comp case. By gathering as much evidence as possible from as early as you can, you can prove a repetitive strain injury occurred at work.