Repetitive Stress Injuries and Claims for Workers’ Compensation
Repetitive stress injuries are a common type of work injury, and such an injury can qualify as an occupational illness. Skilled workers’ compensation lawyers from Silverman, McDonald & Friedman will work with you, physicians and vocational professionals to help workers with this injury qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Contact one of our offices in Wilmington, Newark or Seaford today to learn more.
Repetitive stress injuries are also called overuse injuries and cumulative trauma. Common RSI conditions include carpal tunnel syndrome, rotator cuff difficulties, tennis elbow (called epicondylitis), bursitis, and other difficulties moving fingers, hands, and joints. RSIs also include cubital tunnel syndrome, DeQuervain’s syndrome, Dupuytren’s contracture, Dystonia (writer’s cramp), a Ganglion cyst, and Raynaud’s Disease.
Symptoms include tingling, numbness, reduced motion range, pain, loss of flexibility, and loss of strength. An RSI usually takes time to develop and worsens as the work continues until the employee reaches the stage where he/she simply can’t perform the required job tasks.
Contributing factors that employers should address are poor posture, not giving the employee enough rest breaks, and tasks that place extra pressure on the joints.
Making a claim for benefits for an RSI
Unfortunately, repetitive stress injuries don’t fall neatly into the standard workers’ compensation claim categories. They are generally not associated with a single workplace accident. There are two general categories of RSI according to a this repetitive strain injury organization:
- Type 1 injuries include carpal tunnel syndrome (which affects the wrist nerves) and inflammation of tendons or tendon sheaths. This type also includes the broad range of musculoskeletal disorders.
- Type 2 RSIs are generally less defined than a type 1 RSI. Generally, there often aren’t signs of swelling or inflammation. This type of RSI is also called diffuse RSI.
What types of workers develop repetitive stress injury?
Anyone who regularly works with a computer is likely to develop repetitive stress injury. RSIs that affect arms, writs, and fingers are common. Jobs that involve lifting and carrying regularly or using vibrating equipment like jackhammers often cause repetitive stress injury.
Some of the jobs that often cause an RSI are:
- Health care workers such as nurses who regularly lift and move patients
- Supermarket clerks
- Delivery workers
- Workers who do landscape work or work with agricultural development
- Bus drivers
- Construction workers
Workers should seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Common treatments include:
- Stopping work for an indefinite period
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Physical therapy
- Ultrasound therapy
- Use of a TENS (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) treatment
In some cases, a steroid injection is recommended.
Any worker who has a repetitive stress injury should also review their rights with an experienced Wilmington workers’ compensation lawyer. The lawyer will explain your options. If a workers’ compensation claim is warranted, the lawyer will seek compensation for all your medical treatments, therapies, and medications. The attorney also will demand your workers’ compensation share of your lost wages.
The law firm of Silverman, McDonald & Friedman fights for all Delaware workers no matter their type of injury or the job they performed. We proudly serve employees across the state, including workers in Seaford, Wilmington, and Newark. We offer free consultations at our office locations. For help now, please call 302-888-2900 or complete our contact form.
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Attorney Jeffrey S. Friedman joined Silverman, McDonald & Friedman in 2001. He graduated from Widener University School of Law, and is admitted to practice law in Delaware and Pennsylvania, and in several Federal Circuit courts. He areas of concentration include auto accident and workers’ compensation cases. Read more about Attorney Friedman here.