Some injuries in the workplace occur in an instant because of an observable accident or mistake. Others occur over time due to overuse of a certain body part, prolonged exposure to a hazardous chemical, lack of proper technical training and similar other causes. Both types of injury (acute and cumulative) are typically covered by workers’ compensation insurance if the victim can provide proper evidence and documentation. Unfortunately, that is not always easy to do for things like repetitive motion injuries.
Defining Repetitive Motion Injuries
In an office setting, someone might develop carpal tunnel syndrome after years of typing at a keyboard. In a warehouse, a worker might suffer back injuries and chronic pain after lifting heavy boxes each day for months on end. A carpenter might suffer tendon and nerve damage after a career of swinging a hammer all day.
Repetitive motion injuries (RMIs) are a form of cumulative trauma caused by performing the same motions regularly for a protracted period of time (often years). Sometimes, the damage occurs because the worker was never taught to do the activity in a healthy or ergonomically efficient way. In other cases, however, it is due to just plain overuse of a body part with limited resilience.
Common ailments associated with RMIs include:
· Carpal tunnel syndrome
· Chronic pain, particularly in the limbs or back
· Numbness in hands, arms, legs and feet
· Reduced mobility or disability
How Common are RMIs?
Statistics show that repetitive motions account for about 20 percent of all injuries discovered in the workplace. It is possible that this number is too low, given that RMIs manifest slowly over time. Some workers may assume that their pain and limited mobility are simply the results of aging or normal “wear and tear” on the body.
Are RMI Claims Difficult to Get Approved?
In most cases, it is more difficult to get approval for a repetitive motion injury claim than for a claim related to a single accident with acute injuries. Unfortunately, workers’ compensation insurers attempt to limit or deny claims if they have any recourse to do so, because it results in higher profits for the company. Because it is somewhat hard to link cumulative trauma to daily workplace actions, it is easy for insurers to deny initial claims.
How A Good Attorney Can Help You
RMIs are more difficult to prove than acute injuries, but that doesn’t mean they are impossible. A skilled workers’ compensation attorney can help you trace your injuries back to their most likely source and calculate how long you have been performing these repetitive motions. Retaining an attorney may also get your employer and the workers’ compensation insurer to take your claim more seriously.
Contact Us to Learn More
Pursuing workers’ compensation shouldn’t require the help of an attorney, and it is not legally necessary. Unfortunately, however, the odds are often stacked against workers who pursue claims on their own.Skilled and compassionate attorneys, like a Newark work accident lawyer from Rispoli & Borneo, P.C., are ready to discuss all of your legal options with you and help you pursue the compensation you are entitled to. Contact a law office to learn more.