Repetitive stress injuries can cause severe pain, tissue and nerve damage and prevent you from working and even leading an everyday lifestyle. It can bring about expensive medical treatments and costly lost wages due to work absence. As a potentially incapacitating injury, repetitive stress injury is covered by workers’ compensation, but not in every case. Here’s everything you need to know before making a workers’ comp claim for this common workplace injury.
Repetitive Stress Injuries: Types and Common Causes
Repetitive stress injuries (RSI) can significantly damage your nerves and muscles, impede your effectiveness, and even require a career change. These injuries primarily affect the upper extremities and spine, causing problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome, elbow and shoulder pain, and muscle weakness. The most common causes of repetitive stress injuries are:
- Prolonged sitting or standing
- Excessive computer use without proper ergonomic support
- Repetitively lifting, carrying, sawing, cutting
If you work in a highly monotonous job, you could be prone to repetitive stress injuries. These injuries are likely to get worse with time if you leave them untreated. For this reason, it’s best to act on the problem as soon as you suspect you’ve suffered any work-related RSIs.
Can You Get Disability Benefits for RSI?
Under the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act, all employers in this state must carry workers’ compensation insurance. All State of Massachusetts employees have a legal right to claim workers’ compensation for work-related injuries.
However, many employees often have to surmount a series of challenges to obtain benefits, especially if their workplace injuries have occurred gradually.
If the insurer approves your claim, you will receive disability benefits to cover the medical expenses you’ve gone through treating your injury. Additionally, you can receive a portion of your weekly wage if your injury meets one of these three main classifications:
- Permanent and Total — The disability will last for the rest of your life and prevent you from doing any work.
- Temporary and Total — The injury prevents you from working, but only for a limited period.
- Partial — The injury doesn’t completely take you out of the workforce, but you can only perform some specific type of work with it.
With this in mind, the situation isn’t always so clear-cut. Even if your disability meets one of the criteria above, your insurer might determine that the injury isn’t work-related. Moreover, it can assert that the proposed treatment isn’t medically necessary. Unfortunately, the appeals process can drag on for a prolonged period. This can cause you a lot of stress if you find yourself without a skilled attorney to guide you through this process.
Contact a Trusted Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you have a work-related repetitive stress injury, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation disability benefits. An attorney knowledgeable in workplace injury claims can review your RSI claim and advise you about the best approach based on your situation.
At Eden Rafferty, our workers’ compensation attorney, Jane Eden, has many years of experience working with clients suffering from workplace injuries. We can help you obtain your rightful workers’ compensation benefits for any repetitive stress injury you’ve sustained in your workplace. Contact us right away or call (508) 210-1416 for a consultation with Attorney Eden.