Some of the most chronic injuries in the workplace are not caused by major traumatic incidents such as car accidents or slip-and-fall accidents, but repetitive strain injuries (RSI) that occur over time resulting from the regular performance of a particular tasks or a series of physically stressful jobs. California workers' compensation helps protect employees who are injured in any manner while working, not just those who suffer some type of sudden traumatic injury on the job.
These repetitive stress injuries manifest over a period of time. Because they occur over time, they could be challenging to prove. At Greenberg and Ruby Injury Attorneys, APC, our California work injury lawyers will go the extra mile to substantiate your claim and help you maximize coverage for injuries, damages and losses. If you have been injured on the job from a repetitive motion injury - whether that happened suddenly or over a period of time - you are entitled to compensation. Our work injury lawyers can help you through this process.
What is a Repetitive Stress Injury?
A repetitive stress injury or RSI refers to damage to the muscles, tendons or nerves caused by repetitive motions and constant use. They are also known as repetitive strain injuries or repetitive motion injuries. Repetitive stress injuries are common and typically affect body parts such as fingers, wrists, elbows, arms, shoulders and knees.
As the term suggests, repetitive stress injuries are caused by performing the same tasks or movements repeatedly until it begins to hurt your body. Any motion or movement such as typing on a computer can cause a repetitive stress injury if you do it too often.
Some common examples of repetitive stress injuries include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Osgood-Schlatter disease, an inflammation of the area below the knee where the tendon from the kneecap attaches to the shinbone
- Trigger finger and trigger thumb
- Tennis elbow
- Back strains and sprains
- Shin splints
Which Workers Suffer from Repetitive Stress Injuries?
Anyone could get a repetitive stress injury. Activities that could increase the risk of an RSI include repetitions of tasks, doing the same activity for a long period of time without rest, lifting heavy objects and maintaining a poor or awkward posture for a long time without a break. Working in cold climates could also raise the risk of such injuries. RSI tends to worsen with movements such as twisting, hammering, squeezing, pushing, pulling, lifting and reaching.
Here are some of the jobs that are commonly associated with repetitive stress injuries:
- Heavy computer workers
- Clerks and data entry professionals
- Workers on an assembly line
- Surgeons, nurses and dentists
- Musicians who play instruments
Does Workers' Comp Cover Repetitive Stress Injuries?
Under California law, all employers are required to carry workers' compensation coverage for any type of injury or illness that happens as a result of employees doing their jobs. Whether you have suffered injuries such as a head injury, limb loss or mental disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, illnesses such as cancer or repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, you are entitled to workers' compensation benefits. Just because an injury developed over time, it doesn't mean that it is not covered under workers' comp.
However, getting the coverage you need for a repetitive stress injury can be more challenging than a standard traumatic injury. An injured worker in such cases must show that they suffered the injury as a result of their job as opposed to factors outside of work such as playing sports or engaging in other activities.
Proving a Repetitive Stress Injury
If you have suffered a repetitive stress injury on the job, you may be entitled to workers' comp benefits to cover the costs of medical expenses and a portion of lost income. In order to receive workers' compensation for a repetitive stress injury, you will need to prove either that:
- Your injury was the direct result of performing your work duties
- Your duties at work aggravated a preexisting injury
In order to help prove your RSI, there are a number of steps you must take including:
Documenting the injury: Once you suspect that you have a repetitive stress injury, it is important that you begin to document the job-related tasks that led to the injury. Make a note of when the pain began and maintain a log of hours you spend performing the repetitive task. It is also a good idea to make a note of comments from coworkers about how the injury is affecting your ability to do your job.
Consult a doctor: As soon as you suspect a repetitive stress injury, consult a doctor right away. Medical evidence is an important part of your workers' comp claim or Los Angeles work injury lawsuit. Tell your doctor when you first felt pain and how the situation has worsened. It is also a good idea to get a written statement from your doctor to show that your repetitive stress injury resulted from your job duties.
Report the injury to your employer: It is important to report the injury to your employer as soon as you have knowledge of it. Reporting promptly helps avoid problems and delays in receiving benefits, including medical care.
Contact an experienced lawyer: Reach out to an experienced work injury lawyer who can help protect your rights every step of the way.
How Greenberg and Ruby Can Help
If you have a work-related repetitive stress injury, we can provide counsel and represent you throughout the process up until you receive compensation for your losses. We understand the difficulties and complexities when it comes to proving these types of injuries. Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means we don't charge you any fees unless we win compensation for you. Call us today for a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation.