Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is a common injury caused by the overuse of the muscles used to open and close the hand. Unlike some other types of New Jersey workplace injuries, tennis elbow often occurs in employees working in professions not typically thought of as dangerous. However, tennis elbow is covered under the New Jersey workers’ compensation system and is the basis of many successful workers’ comp claims each year.
We typically call these types of claims “WEAR and TEAR™” because they develop slowly over time. Another common term for this type of injury is Repetitive Stress Injury or RSI.
If you are experiencing tennis elbow and believe it is related to your job, it’s best to visit the doctor to confirm the diagnosis. Once you have a diagnosis, you should consider contacting an experienced New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyer to assist you with the claims process.
What Causes Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow, also referred to as elbow tendonitis, is named after tennis players because playing tennis involves making the repetitive movements that can lead to the development of the condition. However, despite its name, tennis players only comprise 10% of the cases of tennis elbow in the United States.
Tennis elbow can develop any time someone frequently contracts the muscles in the forearm, which places stress on the tendons that connect the forearm muscles to the outer part of the elbow. A few of the common movements that can lead to tennis elbow include:
- Cutting ingredients in the kitchen;
- Driving screws with a manual screwdriver;
- Playing certain musical instruments;
- Squeezing gardening shears;
- Using a computer mouse; and
- Using plumbing tools.
These are just a few of the many common actions that cause tennis elbow. In addition, certain risk factors make someone more likely to develop tennis elbow. If you believe that you developed a case of tennis elbow because of your work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
Treating Tennis Elbow
Unfortunately, there is no easy “cure” for tennis elbow. With rest and the appropriate exercise regimen, tennis elbow will most likely get better on its own. According to a 2020 study, approximately 80 to 90% of all cases of tennis elbow improve with time. However, this assumes that the person suffering from tennis elbow effectively treats the condition.
The most important things to do when you are suffering from tennis elbow are to avoid certain movements. In particular, the following actions should be avoided:
- Fully extending your arm;
- Using one hand to lift heavy objects;
- Carrying objects with a fully extended arm; and
- Repeatedly grasping small objects.
Aside from avoiding these movements, it is also crucial to allow the forearm muscles to rest. Ice and compression can also help reduce the swelling of the affected tendon. Of course, for the many workers who suffer from tennis elbow, taking time off work to rest is not an option. However, by successfully pursuing a claim for workers’ compensation, your employer will be required to give you the time you need to heal.
Filing a Claim for New Jersey Workers’ Compensation
The New Jersey workers’ compensation system provides medical and income-replacement benefits to workers who are injured on the job, whether the injury is acute or caused by the repetitive stress of the job. To qualify for benefits, you need to prove that your tennis elbow was work-related. However, you will not need to prove that your employer—or anyone else—was responsible for your injuries.
While there is no average workers’ comp settlement for tennis elbow, a qualifying employee will typically receive New Jersey workers’ compensation benefits until they can return to work. In addition to any necessary medical treatment, workers’ comp benefits provide ongoing income benefits, which are generally set at 70% of your weekly wage, up to a maximum amount set by state law. If you have questions about the workers’ compensation process, consider reaching out to a knowledgeable workers’’ compensation lawyer.
Contact a South Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you recently learned that you suffer from work-related tennis elbow or another type of WEAR and TEAR injury, give the experienced New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers at Petro Cohen, P.C. a call. We have more than 100 years of combined experience handling all types of workers’ comp claims, including those based on a tennis elbow diagnosis.
We understand that WEAR and TEAR injuries can significantly restrict an employee’s ability to perform expected job duties as well as an employee’s daily activities. Just as with acute injuries, the pain of a repetitive stress injury such as tennis elbow can be severe. However, with RSI injuries, the pain tends to get worse over time, especially if left untreated. Because of the gradual nature of some of these injuries, many workers feel they should not report the injuries as workplace-related. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that many are unreported or underreported as workplace injuries.
We have taken on and successfully handled many types on WEAR and TEAR injuries like tennis elbow, such as trigger finger, carpal tunnel syndrome, neck and back injuries, and many other types of injuries including shoulder, knees, hips, and hands. We will work closely with you and your medical providers to gather the necessary documentation to submit your claim promptly and accurately. And you can rest assured that we will be with you every step of the way to ensure you received the medical treatment you need and the compensation you deserve.
To learn more and to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with an attorney at Petro Cohen, P.C., reach out to one of our dedicated personal injury attorneys today by calling 888-675-7607. For your convenience, we have four convenient offices in Hamilton, Northfield, Cape May Court House, or Cherry Hill, NJ. You may also reach us through our online form or via e-mail at info@PetroCohen.com and one of our dedicated workers’ comp attorneys will contact you shortly.