Get the Compensation You Deserve for Repetitive Stress Injuries

February 10, 2023 2:12 am

Get the Compensation You Deserve for Repetitive Stress Injuries

Get the Compensation You Deserve for Repetitive Stress Injuries

Whether you get injured in a workplace accident or as a consequence of occupational illness, North Carolina law defines rules enabling workers to get the compensation they deserve.

Unlike workplace accidents, which cause injury in a sudden, single traumatic event, some injuries come from specific circumstances typical for a workplace environment. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), occupational illness develops over time through exposure to employment-related factors.

Repetitive stress injury is one of the most typical occupational illnesses, reaching epidemic proportions in some industries in North Carolina.

What Is a Repetitive Stress Injury?

Repetitive stress injury (repetitive strain injury, RSI) is damage to your body that develops gradually over time due to the same repetitive motions at your workplace. Despite occurring slowly through a prolonged period, RSI can cause significant damage to your muscles, tendons, bones, and nerves, requiring adequate medical treatment and time off from work.

Types of RSIs, Symptoms, and Treatment

Repetitive motions over a protracted period can put your nerves, muscles, and tendons in abnormal conditions or cause disorders. The most typical conditions involving repetitive stress motions are the following:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome. People who work with computer keyboards can experience carpal tunnel syndrome manifesting in weakness in the hand and numbness in the first three fingers. The condition occurs due to median nerve compression in the wrist. In addition to numbness and weakness, you can sometimes experience pain and tingling. Typical treatment includes nerve gliding exercises, icing, cortisone injections, and pain medication.
  • Trigger finger. If you cannot erect your fingers once you bend them in your palm, you are most likely suffering from the RSI called trigger finger. It occurs as a consequence of inflammation of the tendon sheaths. Treatment involves anti-inflammatory medication, massage, cortisone injections, or surgery.
  • Tenosynovitis. Repetitive motions at the workplace often cause tenosynovitis – an inflammation of the fluid-filled sheath that surrounds a tendon. It usually leads to joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. Treating tenosynovitis includes pain-relief medication, antibiotic therapy, and surgery.
  • Rotator cuff injuries. People who repeatedly perform overhead movements (athletes, painters, carpenters) tend to suffer from rotator cuff injuries. It consists of tearing the shoulder tendon, causing deep pain, disrupted sleep, and arm weakness. Patients alleviate the pain using analgesics and corticosteroids or undergoing arthroscopy, tendon transfer, and shoulder replacement.
  • Tennis elbow. Lateral epicondylitis (known as tennis elbow) manifests in inflammation, swelling, and tearing of the tendons in the forearm. Typical symptoms include pain and a burning sensation over the outside of the elbow, resulting in a weak grip. Besides athletes, tennis elbow affects manual laborers (plumbers, gardeners, etc.) who perform repetitive gripping movements. Treatment includes rest, activity moderation, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, steroid injections, or surgery.
Get the Compensation You Deserve

Which Jobs Carry the Highest Risk of Repetitive Stress Injuries?

Many jobs involve performing the same repetitive movements or staying in the same position for long periods. Occupations that have a higher risk of developing the RSI are the following:

  • Manufacturing workers
  • Construction workers
  • House cleaners
  • Delivery drivers
  • Custodians
  • Painters
  • Firefighters
  • Plumbers
  • Grocery clerks
  • Athletes
  • Bus drivers

How to Get Workers’ Compensation for Repetitive Stress Injury in North Carolina?

You should seek medical help after experiencing the first symptoms of repetitive stress injury. Do not wait until your condition gets worse. Feeling pain or uneasiness after performing repetitive movements at work means your muscles and tendons have already suffered significantly.

After receiving the necessary medical treatment, you need to consider getting the compensation you deserve. Take the following steps:

  • Notify your employer. The first you need to do is notify your employer. Let them know the symptoms you are experiencing, the working conditions (position, movements) that caused the painful sensations, and the date you first experienced such symptoms. Notify your employer in writing by sending them a letter or an email. Do that within 30 days of experiencing the first signs of RSI.
  • Gather necessary evidence. Remember that there are high chances your employer (or an insurance carrier) will reject your claim outright. Repetitive stress injuries can result from causes other than workplace conditions. That means your employer will probably use the opportunity to dispute your request by claiming there is no causal link between your symptoms and the workplace environment. That is why you should document your condition and gather contact information from persons you can later call witnesses.
  • Talk to your doctor. Talking to your doctor is another way to document your health condition. Tell them that you feel the pain and other symptoms due to continuous repetitive movements at your workplace. That way, doctors will bill your treatment as a workers’ compensation case, making it easier for you to prove your claim.
  • Contact a knowledgeable compensation attorney. Repetitive stress injuries are harder to prove than workplace accidents. The causal link between the workplace environment and the RSI symptoms is usually blurred. Your employer and the insurance company will use that to avoid paying compensation or look for ways to pay the minimum amount required by law. That is why you need a knowledgeable compensation attorney on your side. A well-versed lawyer will know the strengths and weaknesses of your case. Using advanced knowledge of the compensation system, your attorney will help you get the compensation you deserve by filing the correct forms to your employer and pursuing your case before the state bodies.
  • File a compensation claim. Compensation disputes arise from the disagreement between you and your employer regarding the compensation you seek. Perhaps your employer will reject paying reimbursement (entirely or partially). In both cases, you can file a claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) – a body that resolves disputes between insurance carriers and injured workers. You must file a claim within two years, starting from the date you were first diagnosed with your RSI symptoms.
Perry Morrison Knows What You Deserve and Can Help You Get It

Perry Morrison Knows What You Deserve and Can Help You Get It

Practicing Workers’ Compensation law since 1989, Perry Morrison knows insurance companies routinely deny RSI compensation claims. Mr. Morrison shares the stress, frustration, and pain you feel after rejection.  

Repetitive stress injuries reduce the quality of life, which is why no one should deny rightful compensation claims.

Perry knows the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation system in and out. He can help you gather evidence and present your case effectively to get the RSI compensation you deserve. 

Reach out today to schedule your appointment at 252-243-1003.

Servicing The Following Counties In North Carolina