When most people think of workplace injuries, they automatically think of harm from one-time, traumatic accidents. However, many workers throughout the U.S. suffer from injuries that develop over time, caused by repetitive motions from the job duties they perform daily.
These type of injuries are known as repetitive stress injuries (RSIs), also known as repetitive strain injuries and overuse injuries. RSIs include a wide range of conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, bursitis, epicondylitis, hernias, sciatica, lower back pain, trigger finger, and more.
The following are the most common types of work the can lead to RSIs:
- Office work due to hours spent using computers and keyboards
- Assembly line workers, mechanics, carpenters, contractors, drivers, and others who stay in a fixed position for long periods of time
- Grocery store cashiers who use barcode scanning
- Nurses and health care aids due to physical labor
- Construction workers who use vibrating equipment
- Warehouse workers who are required to lift heavy items
Fortunately, RSIs are covered under workers’ compensation law. Injured workers do not need to prove their employer is liable for their injuries. Workers’ comp benefits cover medical treatment and wages while if an employee cannot work. Surgery and time off from work to recover is often necessary when dealing with RSIs.
If you suspect you are suffering from a work-related RSI, immediately notify your employer to start the claims process. Your employer will then contact workers compensation insurance provider, who will set you up with one of their adjusters. Additionally, you will need to visit a doctor—most likely represented by the insurance company—to determine if your injuries are related to your job duties.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for an employer’s insurer to deny claims or delay covering medical expenses since RSIs can be costly. If you are experiencing this type of situation, it is wise to hire an experienced workers’ comp attorney to protect your rights and best interests. An attorney can help you get a second opinion for your injuries and build a strong case using the proper medical evidence.