Workplace injuries are usually related to one life-changing incident, like a slip and fall accident or an engine explosion. A big proportion of workplace injuries grow gradually due to the cumulative effect of recurring postures or movements at work. Fortunately, workers may get the compensation benefits for RSIs (repetitive stress injuries); provided that they can demonstrate their duties were the reason for them.
The Symptoms of Repetitive Stress Injuries
Under state workers’ compensation systems, RSIs have different names, like overuse injuries, cumulative trauma, or repetitive strain injuries. Whatever the name, repetitive stress injuries include many different health conditions, including bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger finger, tendonitis, tennis elbow, rotator cuff syndrome, and lower back pain.
A repetitive stress injury may involve a combination of or all of the many different symptoms, including the following.
- Pain or acute pain;
- Loss of coordination or strength; and,
- Decreased range of movement or flexibility.
The victim may not notice symptoms in the initial phases, or he or she may experience these only when holding a certain posture or doing a particular movement. Without treatment, the victim may always experience symptoms such as the pain, weakness among others, leaving him or her not able to perform their work or even do simple actions required every day.
Who are at Risk for an RSI?
Most people associate repetitive stress injuries with computer work. Consider how many jobs often need using a touchscreen, keyboard, and/or mouse, it is no surprise system-related injuries to the wrists, arms, and hands are widespread. However, injuries can develop over time from an array of other tasks, which need repeated micro-movements, holding awkward postures, regular lifting and carrying, or the use of vibrating equipment. Besides the several jobs involving computer use, there are other high-risk occupations for RSIs.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim for a Repetitive Stress Injury
Depending on your state regulations, your employer or you will have to file this claim to begin your worker’s compensation case officially. Generally, RSIs are covered under workers’ comp, but some states in the US set special restrictions on cumulative injuries, else they need workers to conform to higher standards for substantiating that their injuries occurred due to work duties.
Each American state has its deadline for filing the compensation claim; when it comes to cumulative injuries, usually, the period starts when one initially experienced some disability and he or she should have known or knew that it was work-related.