There are many professions that require workers to perform repetitive actions. These include construction workers, baristas, production line workers, etc. Any of these workers and many others can suffer from a repetitive motion injury or repetitive stress injury.
A repetitive motion injury results from overusing or repeating the same body motion repeatedly. This kind of work routine exerts strain on certain parts of your body, including bones, tendons, and muscles. The constant friction and motion causes injury or pain. Repetitive motion injury is also referred to as repetitive stress injury (RSI).
According to statistics by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), on average, 1.9 million workers in the US sustain repetitive motion injury or RSI every year. While there can be a broad range of repetitive motion injuries, some of the most commonly reported are tendonitis, carpal tunnel, and bursitis.
What Is a Repetitive Motion?
The repetitive motion refers to an action that requires you to perform the same motion repeatedly for a minimum of 30 seconds. The harm caused by repetitive motion does not happen overnight. The damage builds gradually over a period of time while you perform a certain action repeatedly.
The damage caused by repetitive motion injury may have a severe impact on your musculoskeletal system, which also includes your bones, muscles, and joints.
Are You Eligible for a Workers’ Compensation for Repetitive Motion Injury?
The simple answer is a “Yes.”
Let us suppose you are a worker who has suffered a repetitive motion injury or RSI due to continuously performing certain actions required by your job. In that case, you can apply for the workers’ compensation benefits.
However, in order to be eligible, you will need to prove that the injury is actually a repetitive motion injury. You will also have to prove that the injury has become debilitating or disabling enough to prevent you from carrying out your job tasks or personal day-to-day activities.
Why Does RSI Qualify for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Repetitive Motion Injury or RSI can cause musculoskeletal disorders in your body and prevent you from working short-term or permanently. This is due to strained ligaments or muscles, and the damages can be temporary or permanent.
Therefore, you need to ask the doctor to determine if your repetitive motion injury is temporary or permanent. This plays a critical role in determining the amount of compensation you should receive.
Repetitive motion injury may even affect or interrupt the blood supply to specific parts of your body. According to Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) magazine statistics, 68% of workers revealed that their job tasks have either caused a musculoskeletal disorder or aggravated an existing one.
If you are performing a specific movement while performing your job and it becomes unbearably painful, it is an indication that you have developed a repetitive motion injury at your workplace. While employers are legally under obligation to provide a safe workplace, certain factors can still cause RSI.
For instance, the setup of the cubicles or working at a computer station for hours can cause issues with your neck, shoulder, and back. You can sit in a poor posture for hours working on the computer, and this may cause several musculoskeletal issues.
States that Allow Workers’ Compensation for RS
Most states in the country allow you to file for workers’ compensation benefits for repetitive motion injury. However, the states that do allow compensation claims require you to prove that:
your injury was work-related
It is preventing you from performing your job. In worst cases, it can even cause permanent disability.
Many workers have a misconception that they will not be able t receive workers’ compensation benefits for a carpal tunnel or tendonitis injury from their previous employment. Typically, it is true because you cannot get compensation for a condition you had from your previous job. However, you can still qualify for workers’ compensation benefits if your current job ends up aggravating an old injury.
Suppose you suffered from a carpal tunnel injury five years ago at your previous job. You received the treatment, and the pain went away. Now, you have recently started a new job six months ago, and performing certain actions has aggravated that five-year-old injury causing severe pain.
In this case, even when carpal tunnel is a pre-existing condition, you will still be eligible to receive workers’ compensation. Why? Because it was your new job tasks that aggravated an old injury.
States Where RSI Does Not Qualify For Workers’ Compensation
Few states do not provide any coverage for repetitive motion injury under their workers’ compensation benefits.
According to Virginia’s workers’ compensation law, you are only eligible if an injury caused was due to an accident at work. Here an injury by accident means an injury caused by a single traumatic incident. As you can see that a repetitive motion injury does not fit this definition. Therefore no compensation for an RSI.
That said, the state of Virginia made an amendment to the law and allowed compensation for only two particular repetitive motion injuries. These are carpal tunnel syndrome and hearing loss.
When Is The Right Time To File A Claim?
First, as soon as you feel severe pain in any part of your body, you need to seek a medical assistant. If it is a repetitive motion injury, you may require medical treatment and even rehabilitation in severe cases. You may even require taking some time to work in order to recover from the injury.
Do you believe that the injury results from your work-related tasks and actions? In that case, you must immediately file for workers’ compensation benefits for repetitive motion injury.
Get Workers’ Compensation Assistance from Latimer Law
If you are a legal resident in California and currently suffering from a repetitive stress injury while working, you are eligible to file a workers’ compensation benefits. However, this will require you to hire an attorney with expertise in California’s workers’ compensation law.
We at Latimer law have years of experience in helping our clients. We will investigate, negotiate and ensure that you receive the maximum compensation you deserve. You can contact us for a free consultation about the value of your compensation claim. Simply call us on 510-444-6555.