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Are Repetitive Stress Injuries Covered By Workers’ Comp?

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Posted By DAM Firm | May 6 2024 | Workers' Compensation

Repetitive stress injuries (RSIs), sometimes referred to as repetitive motion injuries or simply “stress injuries,” afflict millions of people across the country each year. These injuries sometimes happen due to on-the-job duties, such as repeating the same motions repeatedly without proper equipment, training, or ergonomic devices. Here, we want to discuss whether or not workers’ compensation benefits cover repetitive stress injuries. Hint – they almost always do.

Are Repetitive Stress Injuries Covered By Workers' Comp

Types of Workplace Repetitive Stress Injuries

Repetitive stress injuries can have significant long-term effects on employees’ health and productivity. Some of the most prevalent workplace RSIs San Bernardino workers sustain include:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome. This rather common condition arises from pressure on the median nerve within the wrist’s narrow passageway, often caused by continuous typing or assembly line work.
  • Tendonitis. Inflammation or irritation of a tendon occurs from a repeated motion or overuse, commonly affecting wrists, elbows, and shoulders.
  • Bursitis. Frequent repetitive movements can lead to the inflammation of bursae, fluid-filled sacs that cushion bones, tendons, and muscles near joints, especially in the shoulder, elbow, and hip.
  • Epicondylitis. Often referred to as tennis elbow, this involves the inflammation of tendons that join the forearm muscles on the outside of the elbow, commonly seen in painters, carpenters, and butchers.
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome. This condition is caused by compression of nerves or blood vessels between the collarbone and first rib, often seen in jobs requiring repetitive lifting of items overhead.
  • Trigger finger. Prolonged gripping activities can lead to a painful condition where a finger or thumb gets stuck in a bent position.
  • De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. This affects the tendons on the thumb side of the wrist and can cause difficulty in making a fist or grasping objects, often seen in workers using hand tools frequently.

What Will Workers’ Compensation Cover?

Workers’ compensation covers a variety of needs for employees who sustain workplace injuries, including repetitive stress injuries. These coverages include:

  • Medical expenses. Workers’ compensation generally covers all necessary medical treatments related to the injury, such as hospital or doctor visits, surgeries, physical therapy, and medications.
  • Rehabilitation costs. If the injury requires physical rehabilitation or occupational therapy to regain lost skills or learn new ones, these costs are typically covered.
  • Disability benefits. In situations where injuries result in temporary or permanent disability, workers’ compensation provides financial benefits. These benefits can be either for partial disability or total disability, depending on the severity of the impairment.
  • Lost wages. Compensation for lost wages is provided, typically amounting to a portion of the employee’s regular income, during the period they are unable to work due to their injury.

What Could Complicate the Claims Process?

One of the most challenging aspects of recovering workers’ compensation benefits for repetitive stress injuries is showing that the injury actually occurred as a result of on-the-job duties. Because these injuries often take longer to arise, an argument could be made that activities outside of the workplace also contributed to the injury. Workplace repetitive stress injury victims should seek assistance from a workers’ comp attorney who can help walk them through the process of proving these particular claims.

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