Many of New Jersey’s injured workers incorrectly assume that in order to file a workers’ comp claim, the work-related injury must be sudden and acute. Unfortunately, too many employers and insurance companies take few steps, if any, to correct this common misconception. The truth is that under New Jersey’s workers’ comp system, employees who suffer repetitive stress injuries, also known as WEAR and TEAR™ injuries, may also be eligible for workers’ comp benefits.
In other words: workers’ comp injuries include more than just broken bones.
WEAR and TEAR™ injuries encompass many types of conditions and syndromes, including but not limited to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and several types of back and spine injuries. An employee’s muscles, nerves, and tendons are all susceptible to these types of injuries, which develop over time as the result of repetitive, awkward, and/or forceful movements.
The number of WEAR and TEAR ™ injuries suffered by New Jersey’s workers is staggering; the number also continues to grow annually. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number of repetitive stress/strain injuries is America’s biggest occupational health problem. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome accounts for more than one-half of all work-related injuries.
What Jobs Are More at Risk for WEAR and TEAR ™ Injuries?
Every type of job that requires an employee to perform repetitive motions over a period of time may cause WEAR and TEAR ™ injuries. However, there are certain careers that tend to produce higher numbers of these types of work-related injuries.
Any type of office work (particularly data entry administration and programming)
- The majority of employees with office jobs suffer some if not all symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Improper posture and ill-fitting chairs are big culprits. Additionally, repetitive typing and non-ergonomic keyboards lead to increased pressure on the nerves and tendons of the wrists and hands.
- Factory machinists suffer WEAR and TEAR ™ injuries due to their continual and repetitive operation of the same machines day in and day out.
- Assembly line workers perform repetitive motions for hours a day using the same muscles and tendons.
- Sewing machinists also suffer WEAR and TEAR ™ injuries due to repetitive finger, wrist, and arm mechanics.
Cash register operation
- By operating a register and scanning products over and over again, these employees often suffer repetitive stress injuries.
Painting and decorating
- Painters of home interiors and exteriors often suffer WEAR and TEAR ™ injuries due to repetitive motions with brushes and sprayers. Painters often develop nerve damage resulting from hours of tightly gripping brushes and paint triggers.
- Hours of gripping a steering wheel as well as repetitive gear shifting can cause different types of repetitive stress injuries.
- Routine exposure to vibrating machinery and repetitive heavy lifting are two activities that often lead to WEAR and TEAR ™ injuries.
Electric and electronic assembly
- Repetitive adjustment of thin wires and parts in small spaces leads to strain on the body that develops over time.
This list illustrates just some of the many types of jobs and careers that can lead to the development of WEAR and TEAR ™ injuries. If you have suffered a repetitive stress injury while on the job, you may face opposition and pushback from your employer and/or the workers’ comp insurance company. Don’t listen! Just because you didn’t suffer a broken leg in a specific workplace incident, it doesn’t mean that your WEAR and TEAR ™ injury is not covered under workers’ comp.
Contact Us Today
At Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo, we have helped many employees who suffered WEAR and TEAR™ injuries. Call or contact us for a free consultation. Talk to an experienced lawyer who can help you sort out your rights. We can be reached by phone at 888-675-7607, or you can complete our online form. We look forward to discussing your situation with you.