Can I Get Workers’ Compensation for a Repetitive Stress Injury?
Some serious injuries don’t happen in a moment; they can build over time as a result of a particular task at your job, eventually becoming a source of pain that needs medical attention. As an employee, you’re just as entitled to compensation for work-related injuries which are cumulative, and not just for catastrophic injuries which disable you instantly.
What is a Repetitive Stress Injury?
A Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI), also known as a “Repetitive Strain Injury,” “Cumulative Trauma Disorder,” or “Repeated Motion Injury,” is an injury which develops from repetitive use of a particular body part beyond the capabilities of those tendons, muscles, or joints. RSIs are the fastest-growing category of workplace injury. The most common form of RSI is carpal tunnel syndrome, which is a swelling of the tissues in the wrist resulting in pinched nerves in the forearms. Carpal tunnel syndrome often afflicts office workers who are required to spend hours at a computer, in a work space which forces them to type in an unnatural position that results in injury. Employees who do a lot of data entry, repeatedly and quickly moving in almost-identical ways without resting, as well as those who use a computer mouse or touch screen frequently, are especially likely to develop this condition. In addition to the strains caused by computer use, workers who are required to sit for long periods without a break can also develop bursitis, which is the swelling of the tissues between bones.
Grocery store and other retail workers are also vulnerable to develop RSIs. Workers who stock shelves, butchers and meat packers, and cashiers scanning hundreds of differently-sized objects each day are all vulnerable to strains in their hands, arms, and fingers. Even hearing loss can qualify as an RSI when it results from spending years in a noisy workplace that fails to provide adequate hearing protection. Other occupations that frequently cause RSIs in their workers include drivers for either shipping or passenger transportation, factory workers, and mechanics.
What are some potential pitfalls of filing a Workers’ Compensation claim for my repetitive stress injury?
Since repetitive stress injuries accrue over time, it can be difficult to prove the exact cause of the injury. Some employers may argue that the RSI developed from your activities at home or at a previous employer. Additionally, Workers’ Compensation claims often involve rigid reporting deadlines. Since calculating the exact date that an RSI developed may be impossible, an employer may argue that you waited too long to report your injury, and thus are barred from making a claim. An experienced South Carolina Workers’ Compensation attorney can assist you in overcoming these hurdles and getting the money you need to treat your work-related injury.
If you have been hurt on the job in South Carolina, get help obtaining the Workers’ Compensation benefits to which you’re entitled by contacting Spartanburg workplace injury lawyer Chad Pye for a consultation, at 884-583-5658.