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Workers Compensation Benefits: Repetitive Stress Injuries

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Most people think of workers compensation as a program that compensates workers for an accident, such as a fall, that occurs on the job, but it can also cover other situations. For example, if you suffer from a repetitive stress injury, or RSI, caused by your job, you might be eligible for benefits from workers compensation. This article takes a look at some of the key considerations surrounding this issue. 


At one point, workers compensation laws only applied to those who suffered an injury from a single unfortunate event that left them unable to perform their job. This changed over time as state laws began to reflect the fact that disabling conditions caused by the workplace environment or the nature of the job itself could cause harmful conditions, such as lung disease and repetitive stress injuries. Current state laws allow for you to seek redress for these RSIs, with only a few exceptions.  

What They Are 

Repetitive stress injuries occur because when you are constantly repeating the same motion and putting too much pressure on a certain part of your body. If your job involves lifting heavy objects over your head, then you might develop an RSI in your elbow as a result. A common RSI is carpal tunnel syndrome, which can cause your fingers and hands to feel sore and painful. This condition is sometimes found among those whose jobs force them to flex their wrists excessively. 

What To Do 

As soon as you suspect that you have an RSI that is related to your workplace, you need to inform your employer of your condition and also tell them that you need to file a workers compensation claim. In some instances, your employer might send you to a doctor associated with the company. If this does not happen or the company doctor does not seem to take your complaint seriously, seek out treatment from your own physician. You will almost certainly need a physician to give you a diagnosis of an RSI for your claim to succeed.

A crucial point to keep in mind is that all states have statutes of limitations regarding when you must tell your employer about your condition and when you must file. If you wait too long to do either, you may lose your right to receive workers compensation benefits. The laws vary from state to state and may be different for repetitive stress injuries than for accidents, so make sure to research your state's relevant rules carefully. 

For information about this important legal topic, consult an attorney who focuses on workers compensation issues, like Margaret Dufrechou, Attorney at Law, P.C.