Workplace accidents come in many forms, including sprains, strains, and overexertion injuries. These severe, painful injuries cause employees to miss work and often require intensive medical treatment. Workers’ compensation is available, but securing the benefits you deserve could prove challenging. You need a committed Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney in your corner. The law firm of Nikolaus & Hohenadel is ready to help.
Understanding Sprains, Strains, And Overexertion
Sprains and strains are common workplace injuries, even affecting workers in jobs that are not necessarily considered labor-intensive. A sprain is caused by stretching or tearing a ligament, the tissue that connects bones and joints. Ankles and wrists are the most common locations of sprains.
Strains, on the other hand, involve stretching or tearing of the muscle or tendon. The tendon is the tissue that connects bones and muscles. Common locations of strains include the back and hamstring muscles.
The symptoms of sprains and strains are similar, which is why it’s often difficult to determine which one the worker is suffering from. These are the most common ones:
- Pain around the affected joint
- Limited motion and flexibility
- Muscle spasms
- Pain or tenderness
- Limited motion and flexibility
Overexertion occurs when a worker does too much physical labor. Injuries are similar to sprains and strains but can affect different parts of the body. These are among the most common injuries caused by overexertion:
- Back and neck injuries, including spinal cord and disc injuries
- Muscle sprains and tears
- Injuries to joints, tendons, and ligaments
- Shoulder injuries
- Ankle and knee injuries
Overexertion can even lead to more serious problems like heart attacks. Muscle fatigue and spasms, dizziness, inability to move, and arthritis are some of the signs of overexertion.
Causes Of Sprains, Strains, And Overexertions
Although jobs involving manual labor are more likely to see these types of injuries, they can occur in any sort of work environment. Some of these are the result of repetitive motion, while others can happen after a single incident. The most common causes of sprains, strains, and overexertion injuries are:
- Lifting heavy objects. Workers do not always appreciate either the weight of an object or their physical limitations in lifting it. Just a little extra weight can be enough to push the body too far.
- Improper lifting. Similarly, employees often don’t use proper lifting techniques for the weight they are trying to handle. Attempting to pick up, lift, or move heavy objects will likely cause injury.
- Awkward posture. Slumping, slouching, working in cramped positions, and other types of awkward posture can put excessive pressure on joints, tendons, and muscles. Adding other actions, such as lifting objects, can aggravate these injuries.
- Repetitive motion. Many jobs involve doing the same task over and over again, but this sort of repetitive motion may strain muscles and ligaments. Over time, this can cause injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome, rotator cuff problems, and tendinitis.
Preventing Sprains, Strains, And Overexertion Injuries
Employers are legally responsible for providing a safe workplace that is reasonably free from unnecessary risks and in compliance with OSHA requirements. Although there’s no way to eliminate all hazards, these are some steps employers can take to minimize the likelihood of accidents:
- Proper training. Workers, especially those engaged in manual labor, should be properly trained in how to safely do their jobs. Training and periodic re-training sessions may be necessary.
- More people and more loads. Tasking more people with lifting and carrying jobs, and breaking heavy loads into smaller ones, can prevent accidents and injuries.
- Using your legs to lift. Most people understand that you should lift heavy objects with your legs, rather than your back. But not all workers are trained to do so.
- Regularly changing positions. Sitting in the same position all day can place stress on the body. The back, neck, arms, and shoulders can benefit from regular changes in positions.
- Ergonomic equipment. “Ergonomic” means related to efficiency and comfort in the working environment. Chairs, keyboards, and other equipment can promote ergonomics.
- Stretches and breaks. Labor-intensive jobs require frequent stretches to reduce the risk of muscle strains. Workers also need breaks from physical work to ensure they aren’t overexerting themselves.
Filing A Workers’ Compensation Claim
Sprains, strains, and overextension injuries can cause major issues for workers. Not only will they face medical bills for necessary treatments, but they will also miss work during their recovery. These and other costs are why the workers’ compensation system exists. If your injury occurred on the job site or was otherwise work-related, you have the right to claim benefits.
Get the medical attention you need for your injury. Your employer may have a list of company-approved doctors that you will have to see for your initial treatment, so be mindful of that. As soon as possible, file a written notice with your employer so you can begin receiving coverage.
It’s important to consult a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney early in the process. Having an attorney doesn’t necessarily mean you will file a lawsuit; rather, it’s a critical step to protecting your rights and ensuring you don’t invalidate your claim. Failure to follow the law, file the proper forms, or see the right doctor can jeopardize your ability to recover.
On top of that, employers and workers’ compensation insurance carriers are notorious for rejecting valid claims. Sprains, strains, and overexertion injuries are more difficult to diagnose than broken bones and other injuries. There aren’t x-rays or lab tests that can reliably prove the injury, which encourages companies and insurers to deny benefits. Your injuries could become severe, and be much more limiting than you initially suspect. Our law firm wants to make sure you get the coverage you’re entitled to.
Contact Our Lancaster Workers’ Compensation Attorney For Sprains, Strains, And Overexertion Injuries
The team at Nikolaus & Hohenadel is ready to serve you today. We have experience handling all types of workers’ compensation claims, including those involving sprains, strains, and overexertions. We understand what it takes to fight for injured workers. Call us today to schedule your consultation.