Yes, a work-related repetitive strain injury can qualify for disability benefits in a workers’ compensation case. However, you may only receive disability benefits if the repetitive strain injury prevents you from working your current job or obtaining any other gainful employment.
In addition to disability benefits, your work-related repetitive strain injury may also qualify you for other workers’ compensation benefits like injury-related medical expenses, mileage, out-of-pocket costs, vocational training, and education. A workers’ compensation attorney can help you seek all of the benefits you qualify for.
What Is a Repetitive Strain Injury?
A repetitive strain injury (RSI) is an injury caused by long-term wear and tear from repetitive motions or overwork in a particular area of the body. An RSI can wear down joints, tendons, ligaments, and muscles.
You can suffer an RSI outside of work if you exercise, play sports, or have certain repetitive hobbies. But it’s common for many workers across all industries to develop RSIs over their careers. An RSI most commonly occurs in a role that has a lot of physical activity and repetitive tasks.
This injury has many names across the country and in California, so you may also hear it referred to as a repetitive stress injury or overuse injury. It’s also a type of cumulative trauma, a broad term that accounts for all injuries resulting from long-term exposure to hazards, including repetitive motion, loud noises, chemicals, and pollutants.
How Do Repetitive Strain Injuries Occur?
No matter your industry or position, you may have suffered a repetitive strain injury at work. Here are some of the most common work activities and tasks that can lead to RSIs:
- Assembly line tasks
- Using hand tools and power tools
- Typing on a keyboard or using a computer mouse
- Squatting or bending
- Reaching overhead
- Lifting, especially heavy objects
- Climbing stairs or ladders
- Sitting for long periods in the same position
RSIs are more common in certain industries and roles than others. If you work in any of these settings, you may be at risk of (or currently experiencing) a repetitive stress injury:
- Manufacturing and processing workers
- Construction workers, HVAC professionals, plumbers, and electricians
- Transportation and delivery workers
- Agricultural workers
- Emergency medical and emergency response professionals
- Healthcare workers
- Housekeeping and janitorial staff
- Retail and warehouse workers
- Office workers
While most of the roles on this list involve regular physical activity and movement, others are more sedentary. It’s important to understand that every worker, regardless of industry or position, may develop an RSI. This could help you determine whether your RSI is directly related to your work, is made worse by your work, or is the result of something else in your life. If your RSI is work-related, a Los Angeles workers compensation lawyer can help you seek workers’ comp benefits, doing the legwork while you recover.
Types of Repetitive Strain Injuries
Any type of work-related repetitive strain injury qualifies for workers’ compensation if you are unable to perform your specific duties, need medical treatment, and need to take time off to recover. However, you only qualify for disability benefits if your RSI prevents you from working in your job or any gainful employment.Here are some of the most common RSIs and how they occur:
This condition is when the fluid sacs that cushion the muscles, tendons, and joints are inflamed. Bursitis is most common in the hips, knees, shoulders, heels, and elbows. You may notice swelling, aches, stiffness, and pain in the affected area. Bursitis is common in workers who regularly spend time crouching, kneeling, leaning on elbows for long periods, and repeatedly lifting over their heads.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
CTS occurs when the central nerve in the wrist is compressed due to overwork. This can cause swelling, pain, stiffness, grip strength issues, a “pins and needles” feeling, and numbness in the hand and fingers. CTS is common in people who frequently work with a computer mouse.
The tissues that connect your muscles and bones can become inflamed, causing tendonitis. You may experience swelling, pain, and stiffness. There are different types of tendonitis, including tennis elbow and rotator cuff syndrome. Repetitive movements in the shoulders or elbows, such as in a manufacturing or assembly job, can cause different types of tendonitis.
What Should I Do If I Think I Have a Repetitive Strain Injury?
RSIs commonly result in issues with coordination, fine motor skills, and strength in an affected area. You may also experience less flexibility or reduced range of motion. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor. They may be able to diagnose the condition and determine whether it’s related to your work. However, you should first notify your employer of your injury, as you need to be diagnosed by one of their workers’ compensation-approved doctors to streamline the process. This step will also start the workers’ compensation claims process. The recommended doctor must be listed on your employer’s insurance company’s medical provider network. They must officially assess your symptoms, diagnose the condition, and determine whether your injury is work-related. If they do discover that your injury is caused by your work, you can start putting together your workers’ compensation claim. If your RSI prevents you from working at all, you may qualify for disability benefits.
The KJT Law Group Can Help Your Repetitive Strain Injury Claim
If you believe you’re suffering from a repetitive stress injury from work, one of our Los Angeles personal injury lawyer can help you pursue the compensation you need. We can gather evidence linking your repetitive strain injury to your work, get you a second-opinion diagnosis of your injury if necessary, and make sure your claim is filed correctly, comprehensively, and on time. Let us guide you through this stressful process and fight for the benefits you deserve. Contact us online or call the office of KJT Law Group at (818) 507-8525 to schedule your free consultation.