This content has been reviewed by Jason D. Stone.
A surprising number of workers live with considerable pain and discomfort caused by repetitive stress injuries they gained at work. In addition to affecting their quality of life, these injuries can lead to significant medical bills and impair their ability to work.
Unfortunately, many people just accept their injuries without realizing they could be eligible for workers’ compensation.
Common Types of Repetitive Stress Injuries
Over time, repeatedly performing the same physical actions—whether working on a computer, controlling a particular machine, or heavy lifting—can cause injuries. Injuries are more likely to occur if your company fails to take the proper steps to minimize the strain, such as using ergonomic office furniture and accessories.
These injuries can occur anywhere in the body, including wrists, fingers, knees, hips, shoulders, and back. Some of the most common conditions caused by repetitive stress are:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome, which affects the wrists, hands, and fingers
- Rotator cuff injuries, causing pain, stiffness, and weakness in the shoulder area
- Tendonitis, caused by an inflamed tendon or tendon sheath
- Epicondylitis, commonly known as tennis elbow, leads to sore, tender outer elbows
- Bursitis, a painful condition caused by inflamed bursae, which cushions your joints
- Trigger finger, which causes inflamed and swollen tendons in fingers and thumbs
- Lower back injuries, often caused by a herniated disk
- Muscle strains
Jobs With High Rates of Repetitive Stress Injuries
Workers from any fields can experience repetitive stress injuries, from assembly line workers to construction workers to office staff.
Common actions that result in repetitive stress injuries include:
- Prolonged use of computer equipment such as a mouse and keyboard
- Frequently rotating the neck, like when driving a forklift
- Using sewing machines
- Regularly lifting heavy loads, like patients, building materials, or equipment
- Using vibrating tools like jackhammers, dentist’s drills, and motorized saws
- Prolonged sitting or standing
Workers’ Compensation and Repetitive Stress Injuries
All Massachusetts employers are required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance. If an employee receives an injury at work, workers’ comp protects both the employee and the employer. It does not depend on the number of employees or the hours they work, except for domestic workers who must work a minimum of 16 hours before they receive coverage.
Repetitive stress injuries can force employees to leave the workforce or reduce their hours while often leading to large medical bills. Fortunately, workers’ comp covers these injuries if they are work-related. To be eligible for workers’ compensation, you must miss a minimum of five days’ work due to your work-related injuries.
Claiming Workers’ Comp for Your Injuries
If you have a work-related repetitive stress injury, you should inform your employer as soon as possible and file a claim. To do this, you will need to know certain pieces of information, such as the period the injury occurred over, the dates you have missed work, the types of injuries you have sustained, where you first went for treatment, and your current treating doctor. You may also have to provide your employer or their insurance company documents, such as unpaid medical bills and medical reports.
Working with experienced Boston workers’ compensation attorneys can ensure you don’t miss any deadlines and you include all the correct forms and information in your workers’ comp claim.
Workers’ Comp Benefits
Your employer’s insurer will examine your case and medical records to determine if you are eligible for compensation and, if so, how much. If your claim is successful, you may receive financial help toward your medical bills and a proportion of your wage.
The amount of compensation you will receive depends on several factors, including whether your injury is:
- Permanent and total: Medical experts expect your injuries to last throughout your life and prohibit you from working.
- Temporary and total: These stop from working entirely for a limited time.
- Partial: Despite the injury, you can work in some capacity.
Hiring a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
One of the benefits of workers’ compensation is that most cases don’t require going to court. If your claim is simple, you can often resolve it by filing a claim with your employer and the insurance company. However, without the support of a workers’ compensation lawyer, you may face a far more difficult time receiving the benefits you’re entitled to.
It can be challenging to prove that repetitive stress injuries are related to work, which gives insurance companies an easy justification for denying your claim. If this happens and you wish to appeal the decision with the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA), you will need to attend a hearing and present evidence that your injury is work-related and that all medical care was necessary.
Consult With a Massachusetts Lawyer Today
Your application, as well as your initial appeal, will have a higher chance of success if you work with experienced Boston workers’ compensation attorneys like those at Jason Stone Injury Lawyers. If you’re suffering from a work-related repetitive stress injury, get in touch today for more information or to schedule a free consultation.