In order for a workplace injury to be compensable under New Jersey’s workers’ compensation law, it does not have to be a sudden, acute injury. In other words, an injury does not have to occur in a sudden workplace accident in order for you to receive workers’ compensation benefits. There are other types of injuries that occur over time that may be just as debilitative as an acute injury. Repetitive stress injuries, also known as WEAR and TEAR injuries, include several different types of injuries resulting from repetitive, forceful, and/or awkward movements.
One of the most common types of WEAR and TEAR injuries is carpal tunnel syndrome. This condition develops over a prolonged period of time due to repetitive motions; it often occurs as a result of performing work-related duties time and time again (e.g., extensive computer use, typing, etc.). In addition to carpal tunnel syndrome, lower-back injuries often result from factory jobs and other occupations that require heavy lifting. WEAR and TEAR injuries include damaged nerves, tendons, and muscles. In many cases, WEAR and TEAR injuries may affect more than one body part at a time.
Just as with acute injuries, WEAR and TEAR injuries can significantly restrict an employee’s ability to perform expected job duties as well as an employee’s daily activities. The pain can be severe, and it tends to get worse over time. 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.
Don’t Ignore Your WEAR and TEAR Injury
A WEAR and TEAR injury may be a legitimate workplace injury for which you should receive workers’ compensation benefits. If you believe you suffer from a WEAR and TEAR injury and it may be work-related, don’t be afraid to seek medical help. Let your doctor know you believe it is a workplace injury.
While workers’ compensation insurance companies can make recovery for WEAR and TEAR injuries difficult, it is possible – especially with the right workers’ compensation attorney representing your interests. Many times, insurance adjusters presume that a WEAR and TEAR injury is related to the natural aging process or that it is due to a pre-existing condition that has nothing to do with work.
If so, it is in your best interest to contact aggressive, knowledgeable legal counsel experienced in successfully representing employees with WEAR and TEAR injuries. It is important to note that the passage of time may be fatal to your claim.
At Petro Cohen, P.C., 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.