Are Repetitive Strain Injuries Covered By Workers’ Compensation?

doctor and patient

Repetitive strain injuries often happen in physical jobs or factory work when the employee continuously lifts something or makes the same motion over and over again. That said, these injuries can also happen to office employees. For example, people who work and type on a computer all day long can suffer permanent injuries to their hands.

Things such as lifting boxes or using a computer mouse mean that you are using the same part of your body over and over again. These activities could leave you in constant pain and restrict your range of motion. Some people may find that they can no longer because their discomfort or physical limitations are too much to handle.

Repetitive strain injuries can affect any part of the body that is used over and over again in the same way. Employers should take breaks and vary their routines, but that is not always possible.

Common Examples of Repetitive Strain Injuries

Some examples of repetitive strain injuries include:

  • Tendonitis
  • neuritis
  • fascitis
  • myositis
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • thoracic outlet syndrome
  • cubital tunnel syndrome
  • degenerative arthritis
  • tendinosis
  • fibromyalgia
  • herniated disk
  • focal hand dystonia
  • neuropathic pain

As you can see, these primarily impact the upper body, although workers who stand on their feet all day may have injuries to their legs. It does not matter whether you use proper posture or ergonomics. Workers’ compensation claims are not concerned with fault.

Compensation You Can Receive When Your Injury Was Job-Related

For any workers’ compensation claim, the key is that the injury that you suffered was work-related. All of the injuries described above can be work-related if your job duties call for you to repeatedly use that part of the body. So long as you were injured, and it came from your job, you can receive payments for:

  • Your medical bills related to your injury
  • A portion of your lost compensation from when you were unable to work

You Must Prove that You Suffered an Injury

Your first challenge is demonstrating that you were injured. Many repetitive strain injuries will show up on a scan or an MRI. However, some of these injuries may not be visible. When that happens, your claim is based on your word. Even if you have a statement from your doctor, the insurance company may be skeptical of your claim.

Insurance Companies Question These Injuries More Often

You may run into issues with the insurance companies for a repetitive motion claim. Theoretically, your injury should be covered by workers’ compensation, just the same as any injury from a workplace accident. However, with an accident, there is less of a question that your injury is work-related.

Reasons Why an Insurance Company May Try to Deny Your Claim

Insurance companies may question whether your repetitive motion injury was work-related. They may also challenge whether the injury was suffered at this job or as the result of previous employment. They may allege that you have a pre-existing condition or were injured at home. Just because the insurance company challenges and denies your initial claim does not mean that is the end of the story as far as benefits are concerned. In the end, pointing out what you do every day on the job and tying it to your injury should be enough to prove that your injury was work-related.

In addition, insurance companies may argue that you are still able to work, even with the repetitive motion injury. They may claim that your injury can be fixed and treated with new ergonomics as opposed to time off from work and medical treatment.

An insurance company could claim that you were injured at a previous job. In their view, the other employer’s workers’ compensation policy should cover your injuries. You would need to track down the right insurance carrier against which to file a claim.

Get Medical Help Immediately

Perhaps your best chance to establish that your injury is work-related is when you see a doctor and get medical documentation. Your treating doctor may give an opinion that your repetitive motion injury came from your job. Even if your initial claim is denied, an experienced workers compensation attorney can help reverse their denial. At Arshakyan Law Firm our attorneys have been consistently been able to obtain benefits even with an initial denial.

What to Do After a Repetitive Strain Injury

From your standpoint, there are several things that you should do if you suspect that you have a repetitive strain injury from your job:

  • Report the injury to your employer as soon as you spot potential symptoms – there are strict timelines for reporting the injury, and you do not want to miss that deadline because it can result in making you ineligible to obtain benefits at all.
  • You should always have a doctor diagnose your injury – your employer may have a list of physicians that are a part of their network. So long as they are not too far from your home or inconvenient, you must go where your employer tells you to get medical care.
  • If you have a difficult potential workers’ compensation claim, you should consider consulting with an attorney before you file it. Certainly, if your claim is denied, you would need an attorney to handle your appeal. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney knows how to marshal the medical evidence to show that you were injured and that it came from your job.

Call a Southern California Workers’ Compensation Attorney

If you have been injured, and you suspect that it came from your job, you should file for workers’ compensation benefits to pay for your medical costs and wages. The Arshakyan Law Firm helps injured employees seek workers’ compensation benefits. We handle difficult cases for our clients and will represent you in an appeal. Call us today at (888) 851-5005 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation.