A repetitive stress injury, also called repetitive strain injury or RSI, can cause serious pain that makes it difficult or impossible for someone to do their job. A worker who suffers from an RSI may be eligible for workers’ compensation. However, proving the origin of your RSI is not as straightforward as other injuries, and employers often try to find ways to deny these claims. Who can you count on if your employer or the workers’ compensation carrier is refusing to pay?
Don’t settle for less than you deserve. If your repetitive stress injury workers’ compensation claim has been denied, or you have questions about your legal rights, turn to the dedicated attorneys of Nikolaus & Hohenadel, LLP.
What Is A Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI)?
RSI is a term that applies to the pain and damage caused by constant and repetitive movement and overuse of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves. An RSI usually affects upper parts of the body such as:
Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and usually develop over time. They include:
- Aches and pains
Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most well-known types of RSI, and is caused by pressure on the median nerve in your hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome is common among office workers using computer keyboards or assembly line workers who perform the same repeated task. This condition is an example of how painful and debilitating an RSI can be.
How Does a Repetitive Stress Injury Qualify For Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is available to anyone in Pennsylvania who suffers workplace injuries. More specifically, the injury must arise in the course and scope of their employment. Provided there is no evidence of intentional self-harm, illegal activity, or intoxication, it is irrelevant whether the worker is at fault for the injury.
RSIs qualify as workplace injuries under the right circumstances. The worker has to show that the injury developed as a result of their work. However, a preexisting RSI that becomes aggravated due to work may also be eligible for workers’ compensation.
How Can Nikolaus & Hohenadel, LLP, Help With Your RSI?
If you have questions or concerns about your RSI and whether it will be covered by workers’ compensation, don’t hesitate to speak with a knowledgeable attorney. Our attorneys understand Pennsylvania workers’ compensation laws, specifically as they apply to RSIs. We don’t tolerate employers who refuse to pay the benefits their employees deserve under law.
We can help with documenting your injuries and making sure you have sufficient medical evidence to prove your claim. We will also assist with filing your claim and making sure all deadlines are met. In the event your workers’ compensation claim is wrongfully denied, we can take steps to appeal the decision.
The Challenges Of Winning Workers’ Compensation For RSIs
A clear workplace accident, such as a slip and fall or a crushed hand, is not seriously questionable for purposes of workers’ compensation. As long as the injury took place in the scope of employment and the injured worker followed all filing requirements, the injury should be covered. But the same is not always true for RSIs.
RSIs are not only more difficult to spot than a sudden injury, but pinpointing their origin is more complicated. For this reason, employers and their workers’ compensation carriers view RSI workers’ compensation claims with suspicion, and routinely deny coverage as a result. There are even cases in which employers hire private investigators to see if someone is really hurt or if there is another explanation (outside of work) for their injury.
The fact that RSIs tend to develop gradually poses another problem. Workers’ compensation claims have to be filed no later than 120 days in order for the injured worker to receive benefits. They have to be reported within 21 days for benefits to be retroactive to the date of injury. But determining a date of injury for an RSI is difficult at best. This often gives employers an excuse to deny claims.
Tips For Filing Workers’ Compensation For RSIs
As soon as you notice pain or other symptoms consistently, you should document the workplace causes you believe contributed to the RSI. In other words, take note of the tasks you think caused your injury, and how long you spent on each one. Also take note of the severity and progression of your pain. Documenting the causes of your RSI is an important step in establishing that the injury arose from work.
Next, notify your employer immediately. Because RSIs typically take so much time to detect, there’s a risk the worker will wait too long to report it. Follow the necessary steps to give proper notice to your employer about the RSI.
Then, see a doctor so you can be treated and begin documenting the medical evidence of your RSI. Keep in mind, however, that you may be required to select an employer-approved doctor for your first 90 days of treatment. After the 90 days are up, you can see a doctor of your choice. But you have to attend all required appointments with your doctor to make sure you don’t invalidate your workers’ compensation claim. Be sure to also notify your doctor about the work-related causes of your RSI. This is important to ensuring your injury is documented as work-related.
Finally, speak with an experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney.
Contact Our Lancaster Workers’ Compensation Attorney
A repetitive stress injury can interrupt your working life and make it difficult to provide for yourself and your family. Fortunately, it may qualify you for workers’ compensation benefits. Let our attorneys go to work for you and help get the payments you deserve. Give us a call today.