Injuries in the workplace don’t always result from an impact or dramatic accident. Some injuries arise simply from the regular performance of a particular task or a series of physically stressful tasks. New Jersey workers’ compensation protects injured workers for various injuries, including repetitive strain injuries.
What Is a Repetitive Strain Injury?
There are almost as many types of repetitive motion injuries as there are jobs that can cause them. A repetitive strain injury (RSI), or repetitive motion injury, occurs when you perform the same motion repeatedly, eventually resulting in a nagging pain and potential temporary or permanent damage to a muscle, nerve, or tendon that worsens with continued overuse. RSIs can affect most parts of the body, such as:
- Forearms or elbows,
- Knees, and
- Upper or lower back areas.
Essentially, without adequate rest, breaks, and adjustments, repeated motions or awkward posturing could impact any part of the body.
The RSI that you’ve probably heard of is carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome can happen to someone regardless of the kind of job they have. It occurs when the median nerve, which threads its way via a “tunnel” located in the wrist along the forearm to the hand, becomes compressed due to ligaments and tendons being swollen or inflamed. It is common among adults who work at computer keyboards or perform the same task repeatedly on an assembly line in a factory.
Tendinitis is another common RSI. Tendons connected to bones can get injured by overuse. Tennis elbow and trigger finger —also known as Blackberry thumb, iPod finger, PlayStation thumb, or Rubik’s wrist — are two more common injuries associated with tendonitis.
Bursitis is a third form of an RSI, which occurs when the bursa, a fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion, becomes inflamed and painful.
Warning signs for all these conditions include pain or tenderness, stiffness, tingling or numbness, cramp, weakness, and throbbing.
When you notice, for example, that you have pain in your wrists or hands, numbness or tingling in your fingers, or that your hands are going to sleep when they are sitting in your lap, you should notify your employer as soon as possible.
An employee may give notice to their supervisor, personnel office, or anyone in authority at your place of business. The notice does not have to be in writing, but it is never a bad idea to document any aspect of your case. Additionally, there are specific time limits to report your injuries, so don’t delay.
If you need medical treatment, request treatment from your employer as soon as possible. Be aware that under the NJ workers’ compensation law, the employer and insurance carrier can select the physician to treat injured workers for work-related injuries.
Does Repetitive Strain Injury Qualify for Disability?
Workers’ compensation provides medical treatment, wage replacement, and permanent disability compensation to employees who suffer job-related injuries or illnesses and death benefits to dependents of workers who have died due to their employment.
When you get an RSI due to a work-related activity, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation if the condition prevents you from doing your job. An increasing number of compensation claims today are RSI-related.
As all employers in New Jersey are required to have workers’ compensation insurance, there is no reason why your employer’s insurance cannot cover your repetitive stress injury.
How to Prove an RSI case
To receive repetitive motion injury coverage, you need proof of your injury. This will likely require a medical evaluation. Most employers and their insurance companies will fight RSI claims. They will look for any other reason to explain the repetitive stress injury. That is why it is important to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who has dealt with this sort of workers’ compensation claim and the types of proof you will need to establish your claim. Contact Petro Cohen, P.C. today.
Trust Petro Cohen for Your WEAR and TEAR Claim
Petro Cohen, P.C. has assisted injured workers in South Jersey for decades with an emphasis on WEAR and TEAR™ or repetitive stress injuries. The firm’s Workers’ Compensation Department has more than 100 years of combined experience, among Department Head and Senior Partner Frank Petro, Partners Suzanne Holz Meola, and Terri Hiles, and attorneys Daniel Rosenthal and Sam Scimeca. Working together with you, they will ensure you receive the medical treatment you need and the compensation you deserve. Petro Cohen, P.C. has offices to serve you in Northfield, Cape May Court House, Cherry Hill, and Hamilton, NJ. To determine if you may have a potential workers’ comp and/or personal injury case, schedule your free and confidential consultation with a Petro Cohen, P.C. attorney by calling 888-675-7607. You can contact us through our online form or via 24/7 live chat at PetroCohen.com.