Should I File a Workers’ Comp Claim for a Repetitive Stress Injury?

March 28, 2022

Workplace injuries can come from serious accidents such as slips and falls, work vehicle crashes, crushing accidents, exposure to dangerous substances, and more. Employees can also suffer injuries from repetitive motions at work, such as lifting heavy objects.

According to the Bureau of Labor, over 32% of workers with non-fatal injuries required at least some time off from work to recover, including those with musculoskeletal injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Understanding your injury and how it occurred is crucial to pursuing a successful workers’ compensation claim.

Types of Repetitive Stress Injuries

Performing the same action repeatedly over a long period and in the same position can lead to repetitive stress injuries. These injuries are most common in the retail, healthcare, and manufacturing industries.

Repetitive stress injuries are also known as repetitive motion injuries. They can affect various parts of your body, including your shoulders, knees, and back. They include:

  • Bursitis: Inflammation of your joints, especially the shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees
  • Tendinitis: Inflammation of the tendons, the tissue connecting muscle to bone
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome: Numbness, weakness, or tingling in the hand, which can make it difficult to grasp objects
  • Golfer’s elbow: Inflammation of the tendons in the forearm
  • Rotator cuff syndrome: Damage to tendons holding the shoulder joint
  • Tennis elbow: Inflammation of the elbow joint
  • Trigger finger: Pain and stiffness and a sensation of locking when bending or straightening your finger

Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSIs) often show up as mild symptoms and gradually become more painful and difficult to manage. If you experience symptoms of an RSI, medical treatment may help you manage them so that you can return to work. Treatments might include taking anti-inflammatory medications, using heat packs, or even physical therapy. Some tendons and nerves may need to be repaired surgically in severe cases.

Should I File a Workers Compensation Claim for Repetitive Stress Injuries?

The Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act covers specific work-related injuries and occupational diseases. The act does provide coverage for certain medical conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

To receive workers’ compensation benefits, you need to prove your carpal tunnel syndrome or other covered RSI is work-related. This includes having evidence of repetitive tasks in your job, physical examinations, and a history of carpal tunnel syndrome. Since carpal tunnel syndrome develops over time rather than in a single instance and is manageable with proper medication, filing a claim may prove difficult. That’s why we recommend having an experienced workers’ compensation attorney on your side to help prove that your injury exists and is affecting your ability to work.

Proving your injury

According to the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act, an occupational disease must be disabling and result from causes and conditions particular to your job or work environment to be eligible for coverage. Providing objective evidence, such as medical records from your healthcare provider, is also necessary.

Heart-related disease and arthritis are among the medical conditions expressly excluded from workers’ comp coverage. While they may not be covered under the Act, they can affect the severity of your RSI.

They may also restrict you from returning to work if you have reached maximum recovery from another work-related injury covered by Louisiana’s workers’ compensation laws.

Working with one of our Louisiana workers’ compensation lawyers can help you navigate these challenges if your RSI results from repetitive tasks at work. We can collect the kind of evidence you need for a successful claim.

What to Do If Your Employer Denies Your Workers’ Comp Benefits

If you become disabled or temporarily unable to work as a result of a work-related illness or injury, the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation benefits should be calculated based on what you were earning at the time you became unable to work. They may also be calculated starting from the date you were last exposed to the condition that caused the illness, whichever is earlier.

The Louisiana Office of Workers’ Compensation must be notified if your employer disputes your right to benefits under the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act. You can file a Disputed Claim for Compensation. Filing this form sets a trial before a Workers’ Compensation Judge in motion.

The legal process may take six to nine months or longer if the claim is appealed. You may enter into a lump sum, or compromise settlement, provided all parties agree to it and the Workers’ Compensation Judge approves.

Work with a Louisiana’s Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers understand the impact RSIs can have on your health. Our workers’ compensation lawyers can help you pursue the benefits you need to manage your RSI and focus on recovery. Contact us today to schedule your initial free case evaluation and learn about your legal options.