Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Repetitive Stress Injuries?
Yes. Workers’ compensation can cover repetitive stress injuries. Not all workers are injured in dramatic explosions or collapsed buildings. Sometimes, small repetitive motions can slowly damage nerves and muscles, leading to immobilizing pain. At the Musleh Law Firm, we have helped many people with crippling repetitive stress injuries, and our Ocala workers’ compensation attorneys are available to talk with you, too.
What Are Repetitive Stress Injuries?
Repeated motions put stress on the body and can lead to inflammation, swelling, muscle strain, and bruising. Even small movements like typing on a keyboard can, over time, cause pain. Repetitive stress injuries often develop slowly over months and sometimes years. They commonly affect the wrists, hands, elbows, shoulders, and neck. Many office workers, who spend all day inside safe, air-conditioned offices, can suffer from these injuries.
Some of the more common include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome. The median nerve travels down the forearm and through the wrist. However, repetitive motions can inflame soft tissues in the wrist, which push against the nerve. Common symptoms are weakness, numbness, or tingling in the hand and fingers.
- Tendons connect muscles and bones. Over time, overwork can lead to inflammation, especially in the elbow, shoulder, knee, or hip.
- Bursae are fluid sacs which provide cushion for your joints. Repetitive motions can cause these sacs to become inflamed, which leads to pain.
- Tennis elbow. This condition describes injury to the tendon on the outer side of the elbow. Repetitive motions can lead to inflammation and injury.
Treatment will depend on the severity of the injury. Some workers need surgery to alleviate problems, while others respond well to rest and conservative treatment, like corticosteroid injections and massage. Unless workers take precautions, any injury could return and be just as disabling.
Does Workers’ Compensation Cover These Injuries?
If you developed them while working, you are covered. By contrast, you would not be covered if you are injured by repetitive motions you make outside of work, such as painting houses in your spare time. But most people can point to repetitive motions like typing that they do at work. So they should be covered.
One challenge with these injuries is convincing the insurer that you are suffering from one. If you suffered a burn on your face in a fire, then there’s little doubt you are injured. Because insurers can’t “see” the repetitive stress injury, they might think you are exaggerating the pain you feel.
Don’t be surprised if the insurance company wants you to attend a medical exam with a doctor they handpick. The doctor will perform an exam and probably ask you questions. For example, you might need to grasp an object for a length of time to see if you have sufficient strength.
We Can Help with Your Workers’ Comp Claim
The workers’ compensation system is confusing and overwhelming for many people—especially those in pain. If you need assistance, please contact us. It is possible to receive benefits for repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis. An Ocala workers’ compensation lawyer at the Musleh Law Firm will gladly answer any questions you have.