Textile workers often have to do repetitive and precise tasks with their hands as they die, cut, weave, or sew fabric and garments. Since this work sometimes requires awkward positions, it can lead to repetitive strain injuries.
You can seek workers’ compensation if you are a textile worker suffering from a job-related repetitive strain injury (RSI). However, securing benefits for an RSI presents unique legal challenges. A workers’ compensation lawyer can provide solutions. Read on to learn more about pursuing a claim if you cannot work because of your injury.
You Can File a Workers’ Compensation Claim for a Repetitive Strain Injury
California employers must provide workers’ compensation insurance, even if they only have one employee. Therefore, if you are a textile worker with a job-related RSI, you should be able to apply for benefits under your employer’s policy. To be eligible, you must have an injury that prevents you from working or doing your usual job. Your injury must also be work-related.
However, because RSIs develop gradually and often worsen over time, seeking workers’ compensation for repetitive strain injuries can present legal challenges. Insurers will often dispute claims on the grounds that your injury did not occur at work.
Common RSIs and Textile Industry Hazards
Many textile workers perform detailed and repetitive hand work, often while standing or sitting above a sewing machine or work table. This type of work and the body positioning required to perform it can create musculoskeletal stress, leading to repetitive strain injuries. Common RSIs include the following:
- Stress fractures
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Ganglion cysts
- Back strains and sprains
- Herniated discs
- Trigger finger or thumb
- Tennis elbow
- Nerve compression disorders
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), textile workers also get exposed to many other workplace hazards, including toxic chemicals, loud noises, and fabric dust. If you have an RSI or any other type of job-related injury or occupational disease, a personal injury attorney with our firm can help you pursue textile industry workers’ compensation benefits.
Legal Challenges in Proving Textile Work Caused Your Repetitive Strain Injury
Proving textile work caused your repetitive strain injury is where legal challenges can arise when seeking workers’ compensation.
Unlike an accident-related injury, such as a broken bone, there is not one incident you can point to as the origin of an RSI. Instead, these types of injuries develop gradually and worsen with time and repeated strain. In addition, some RSIs can be difficult to medically prove because they may not appear on X-rays and other scans. However, this does mean they are not painful or limiting enough to affect your work capabilities.
One solution to this challenge is to report your injury promptly. As soon as you develop RSI symptoms, tell your employer. Do not “wait and see” or try to tough out the pain. Waiting longer than 30 days to report your injury could result in a denial of benefits. From there, you usually have one year to file your claim.
If you must take legal action to secure compensation, CCP § 335.1 allows two years to file a personal injury lawsuit in California.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits You Can Recover for a Repetitive Strain Injury
Workers’ compensation benefits for injured workers suffering a repetitive strain injury may include the following:
- Medical benefits. Your employer’s policy should pay for your RSI-related medical expenses, including surgeries, hospitalizations, medications, mobility aids, and physical therapy.
- Wage replacement benefits. Wage replacement usually provides up to two-thirds of your pre-injury weekly wages. How long you can receive payments depends on the severity of your condition and whether or not you can ever return to your previous job.
- Supplemental job displacement benefits. If you have a permanent injury and must seek other employment, these benefits provide money to pay for vocational training.
How Can a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Help With Challenges to Your RSI Claim?
You can file a claim and attempt to secure benefits alone. However, as discussed, you may face legal challenges when seeking textile worker injury compensation for an RSI. A workers’ compensation attorney with our firm can find solutions. The benefits of working with us include the following:
- We can hire and consult with medical professionals and other experts to prove your RSI is work-related
- We can obtain medical, scientific, and industry-related research establishing your injury’s connection to textile work
- We can interview witnesses who can testify regarding the onset of your RSI symptoms
- We can manage claims paperwork and deadlines
- We can communicate with involved parties on your behalf and aggressively negotiate for the maximum compensation possible
- We can file a personal injury lawsuit and represent you in civil court if necessary
Contact KJT Law Group for Workers’ Compensation Claim Solutions
Contact KJT Law Group today at (818) 507-8525 about your repetitive strain injury workers’ compensation claim. We help California textile industry employees and workers from all occupations seek the benefits they need and deserve. We offer free consultations and take cases on contingency.