As a nurse, therapist, or other health care provider, you spend hours on your feet every day, and you perform intricate tasks with your hands day in and day out. You may also be routinely bending, squatting, or stretching to reach medical tools and supplies, and you probably spend several hours per week typing patient data into computers as well. In short, you perform several tasks that put you at risk for repetitive stress injuries. Eventually, you may find you have pushed your body beyond its physical limits.
A variety of types of repetitive stress injuries – or what we call WEAR and TEAR injuries – are common in the medical profession. While most people think about job-related injuries occurring on construction sites and in physically demanding jobs in factories and warehouses, the reality is that a significant percentage of on-the-job injuries involve WEAR and TEAR suffered by office workers and professionals. This includes individuals who work in all occupations within the health care sector, and medical professionals who are experiencing pain and physical limitations due to WEAR and TEAR injuries need to take the time to care for themselves.
All of us at Petro Cohen, P.C. salute the healthcare workers, first responders, and other hard working people who have risked their lives to ensure our health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Seeking Workers’ Compensation Benefits for WEAR and TEAR Injuries
Another common misconception about job-related injuries is that only traumatic injuries from discrete accidents and incidents are eligible for workers’ compensation. While most people assume that they will be able to collect benefits if they suffer an injury like a severe strain or broken bone, many do not realize that repetitive stress injuries are covered as well. However, these injuries are covered under the theory of occupational exposure, or WEAR and TEAR. Whether your injury developed over weeks, months, or years, you owe it to yourself to speak with a workers’ compensation attorney about your legal rights.
Examples of WEAR and TEAR injuries that are common among nurses, therapists, and other health care professionals include the following:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- De Quervain’s tenosynovitis
- Degenerative conditions
- Disc abnormalities
- Impingements and labral problems
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Stenosing tenosynovitis (trigger finger)
So, if you are experiencing chronic pain or any other symptoms of these conditions (or any other repetitive stress injuries), what do you need to know about filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits? Use the links below to learn more about seeking workers’ compensation benefits in New Jersey:
1. Understanding the “No Fault” Nature of Workers’ Compensation in New Jersey
In New Jersey, workers’ compensation is a “no fault” system. This means that employees can seek benefits for all injuries sustained within the scope of their employment, regardless of the specific cause. If you are in pain because you are a devoted employee and you love doing what you do, you are well within your rights to file a claim for benefits.
2. The First Step Is to Provide Written Notice to Your Employer
In order to file for workers’ compensation, you must first provide written notice of your injury to your employer. Most employers have an “Accident Form,” and you can use whatever form your employer provides you, even if you don’t have an accident-related injury.
3. You Will Need to See the Company Doctor
One aspect of New Jersey’s workers’ compensation system is that it gives employers the right to require employees to see their “company doctor.” When you provide written notice of your injury, your employer should tell you where you need to go to seek a diagnosis and treatment. This won’t necessarily be your only option, but it is where most employees in New Jersey need to start.
4. It Is Important to Thoroughly Document Your Repetitive Stress Injury
Due to the unique nature of WEAR and TEAR injuries, there are some unique aspects to filing workers’ compensation claims for these injuries as well. In particular, thorough documentation is key, as you will need to be able to demonstrate that your injury developed at work rather than at home.
5. Preparing for the Workers’ Compensation Claims Process
While some employees have relatively little trouble securing the benefits to which they are legally entitled, for others, collecting benefits can be a challenge. As a result, it is important to have a clear understanding of what to expect once you file your claim.
Contact Us for a Free and Confidential Consultation
If you have questions about your workers’ compensation eligibility or would like help filing your claim for benefits, we invite you to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our experienced attorneys at Petro Cohen, P.C..
As a valued client of our law firm, you can expect legal excellence when our proven New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers handle your matter, regardless of the size of your case. Your case management will involve a comprehensive review of basic workers’ compensation coverage – such as wages and medical coverage – along with more complex issues, such as work-related medical conditions, loss of function, and WEAR and TEAR injuries that may not show up until years after you have left a job.
We understand that come injuries, such as WEAR and TEAR injuries, may not be evident immediately, but rather develop over time. No matter what the extent of your injuries are, you will always be treated courteously and professionally by our staff.
Our award-winning workers’ compensation team is here to help when you need them. The department head, Frank Petro, is respected locally, regionally, and nationally as a leading attorney in this specialized field, and has received the highest rating by Martindale-Hubbell – the world’s foremost authority on law firm credentials – in Professional Excellence and Ethical Standards and Legal Ability. He has been recognized as an outstanding attorney by Best Lawyers® every year since 1995 and by Super Lawyers® every year since 2005. Moreover, he has achieved a rating of “Superb” on the leading lawyer-review website, Avvo®, the highest achievable rating.
Along with Suzanne Holz Meola, Terri Hiles, and Daniel Rosenthal, our New Jersey workers’ comp attorneys at Petro Cohen, P.C. have more than 100 years of combined experience, having successfully handled thousands of litigated workers’ comp cases throughout New Jersey. This experience and winning track record means that you are going to have a skilled New Jersey work injury lawyer who will work for you.
We have four office locations in southern New Jersey to serve you, including Northfield, Cherry Hill, Hamilton, and Cape May Court House. Additionally, we are available by phone (888-675-7607), e-mail (info@PetroCohen.com), and Live Chat through PetroCohen.com 24/7.
To discuss your WEAR and TEAR or other workers’ compensation injury in confidence, call us or request an appointment online today.