How to get workers’ comp after suffering a repetitive motion injury at work
Most people associate work injuries with a particular life-altering accident like a fall from a roof or an engine explosion. However, that’s not always the case. A significant percentage of work-related injuries take time to develop and can result from repetitive motions while working.
Repetitive motion injuries, also called repetitive stress injuries (RSIs), can affect workers who frequently use a keyboard, scan groceries, hammer nails, work on an assembly line and more. Over time, these tasks can result in minor injuries that continue to develop when repeating the same task for many months or years.
RSIs affect hundreds of thousands of workers across the U.S. every year. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics, in 2018, the rate of musculoskeletal disorders (of which RSIs are a primary cause) was 27.2 per 10,000 full-time workers, which resulted in an average of 12 days of missed work per injured worker.
Fortunately, Alabama workers who experience repetitive stress injuries at work are eligible for compensation as long as they can prove their work duties caused their injury.
This article will discuss everything you need to know about the Alabama workers’ compensation for RSIs at work.
What are repetitive stress injuries?
A repetitive stress injury is any type of injury caused by tedious stress or motion. It’s a broad category that comprises many kinds of injuries that develop over time, such as:
- Hearing loss (from repeated exposure to loud sounds)
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Lower back pain
- Trigger finger
- Tennis elbow (epicondylitis)
- Rotator cuff syndrome
For some conditions, repetitive movement may intensify an existing injury or cause a new injury to develop that affects your ability to perform your job tasks effectively.
Causes of repetitive stress injuries
Most workers diagnosed with RSIs perform repetitive tasks on a regular basis. These tasks may include:
- Heavy lifting
- Tile laying
Symptoms of repetitive stress injuries
RSIs don’t arise from a serious 1-time accident, but they can be just as painful and disruptive to your life. Some common symptoms of RSIs include:
- Pain (tenderness, dull aches, acute or throbbing pains)
- Loss of coordination or strength
- Reduced flexibility
These symptoms are often unnoticeable in their early developmental stages. However, over time you may start noticing them while handling a particular task or during a specific motion. Without timely treatment, these symptoms may worsen, making it difficult to do your job or handle simple movements in your daily life.
How to treat and prevent repetitive stress injuries
If you’re diagnosed with an RSI, it’s possible to have a full recovery using the following pain management methods and repetitive strain injury treatments:
- Ice. Applying ice for 15 minutes at a time can reduce pain and inflammation.
- Compression. A compression wrap or elastic bandage may reduce swelling and alleviate pain.
- Rest. The best way to heal from an RSI is to rest the affected body part and refrain from activities that exacerbate the condition. That may mean time off of work.
- Over-the-counter medications. Some medications like aspirin or ibuprofen can reduce pain and inflammation. Talk with a doctor before taking any new medication.
- Physical or occupational therapy
- Surgery. Surgery may be needed in some instances when other treatment fails to alleviate symptoms.
Depending on the extent of your injury, you may be required to miss work to allow time for your body to heal. It’s also possible that you may be unable to resume your work duties if the problem persists despite treatment.
Types of workers’ comp benefits available for repetitive stress injuries
Alabama workers’ comp provides benefits to cover the costs you incur as a result of a work injury. They include:
- Medical benefits. These cover the cost of any hospital bills, medications, doctor visits, surgeries, medical equipment and supplies, and rehabilitation.
- Wage loss benefits. These compensate you for a portion of your lost wages (typically two-thirds) while you’re unable to work. The length of time you can receive these benefits varies and is based on the disability level determined by your physician (temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, permanent partial disability or permanent total disability).
- Death benefits. These are paid to certain eligible dependents if your injury results in death.
What to do if you think you have a repetitive stress injury
It’s essential to watch out for signs of repetitive stress injuries so you can receive early treatment. If you’re experiencing symptoms of an RSI that you believe may be job-related, you should take the following steps:
- Notify your employer immediately. In order to receive workers’ comp, it’s essential to notify your employer of your injury so the appropriate paperwork can be filed.
- Seek medical treatment. Provide your doctor with as many details as possible about your injury, including what you were doing the 1st time you experienced the symptoms, what triggers them and how long you’ve been suffering. It’s essential that you obtain documentation from a physician linking your injuries to your work to recover compensation.
- Consult a workers’ comp attorney. Workers’ comp cases involving RSIs can be more complicated than most because they happen over time, so it’s not uncommon for valid claims to be denied. An attorney can investigate your case, gather evidence and consult experts to prove your injury resulted from your job and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Contact an Alabama workers’ comp attorney
Experiencing a work injury is stressful, especially when it requires you to miss work. You may experience mounting medical bills, and your savings can be quickly depleted. An experienced workers’ comp attorney will protect your rights and help you get the money you need to provide for yourself and your family.
Related reading: Eye safety in the workplace
If you’ve suffered a repetitive stress injury while working in Alabama, contact the experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Nomberg Law Firm. We can negotiate with your employer and their insurance company on your behalf so you can focus on recovering from your injury. Contact us today, and let us devise an individualized plan for you.
About Nomberg Law Firm
Nomberg Law Firm has been helping people in Alabama recover fair compensation for their injuries since 1967. We know our clients are hard-working men and women who deserve the best representation possible.
We understand how hard it can be to pay your bills and get back on your feet while trying to recover from a serious injury. That’s why we dedicate our entire practice to fighting for your rights and obtaining maximum financial compensation.
The sheer number of clients at larger law firms means you’re one of many. As a small, family-owned injury law firm, we can focus on your needs, provide individualized assistance, and offer you one-on-one attention that larger firms simply cannot match.
Get the legal support you need to recover and move forward with your life.