Some workplace injuries are not very easily diagnosed and clearly connected with the injured worker’s job duties. A Columbus workers’ compensation attorney knows that many people develop serious and painful conditions over time. One example is an occupational disease. Another is the situation of a repetitive stress injury.
According to healthcare professionals, repetitive stress injury is damage to the muscles, tendons, or nerves caused by the constant use of a specific body party and repetitive motions. This type of injury can appear after years of performing the same type of movements – for instance, using a sewing machine or working with tools that generate constant vibrations (such as a drill).
The key problem in this type of workers’ comp claim is that you cannot pinpoint a specific incident that caused your injury. However, an experienced Columbus workers’ compensation attorney will be able to prove that the specific activities you perform at work on a daily basis are the ultimate cause of your repetitive stress injury.
A Repetitive Stress Injury Can Occur Both in Active and Sedentary Jobs
Many people associate repetitive stress injuries with physically demanding jobs. There is no denying that construction workers and employees in the oil and gas industry are more at risk than other workers to develop this type of injury.
But any Columbus workers’ compensation attorney at our law firm knows that employees with sedentary jobs, such as office workers or truck drivers can also develop repetitive stress injuries. The first and most important step is recognizing it for what it is and seeking medical care as soon as possible.
What Are the Most Common Examples of Repetitive Stress Injury?
In general, repetitive stress injury tends to affect the main joints:
However, injured workers can also suffer repetitive stress injuries in the fingers and thumbs, losing their ability to perform fine motions or have a strong grip.
The most common conditions associated with repetitive movements are:
- Tendinitis – an inflammation of the tendons
- Bursitis – an inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs (bursa) that cushion joints
- Carpal tunnel syndrome – an inflammation of the main nerve passing through the wrist and controlling finger motions
- Epicondylitis – an inflammation of the tendon in the elbow, also known as tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow
- Rotator cuff injuries – injury to the group of muscles and tendons surrounding the shoulder.
Steps to Take to Win Workers’ Comp Benefits for Repetitive Strain Injury
As stated before, the main complexity in this situation arises from the fact that you cannot state when you were injured. It is difficult even to fill in the First Report of Injury, Occupational Disease, or Death form because you have to specify the date of injury/disease.
The best course of action recommended by an experienced Columbus workers compensation attorney is the following:
1. Seek Medical Attention From the First Symptoms
A repetitive stress injury will start with mild symptoms, which get worse over time if your do not seek treatment. Thus, both for your own sake and for the success of your workers’ comp claim, you should go to the doctor as soon as you experience symptoms such as:
- Pain after performing specific motions
- The sensation of pins and needles
- Weakness in the muscles
- Swelling and redness
- A tender feeling when you touch the affected area.
During the medical examination, tell the doctor what type of work you perform and any other types of activities that may justify the injury.
2. Notify Your Employer
As soon as you were diagnosed with any of the conditions that can be described as repetitive strain injury, notify your employer. After the initial verbal notification, you should follow it with the formal report submitted to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.
Your employer will likely try to downplay your injury or suggest that you suffered the injury as a result of physical activities not related to your work. Do not give in and do not accept any amount of money from your employer to cover your doctor’s appointment.
3. Seek Legal Advice
Most workers do not know how to navigate the claim process on their own. This is made more difficult by the lack of witnesses and physical evidence showing how the repetitive stress injury occurred.
This is why you need an experienced Columbus workers’ compensation attorney by your side from the very beginning. A lawyer knows that your employer’s insurer will send you to a medical evaluation performed by their approved doctor. This healthcare professional may try to downplay your injuries or suggest that they are the result of off-duty activities, such as gardening or home improvement tasks.
An attorney will explain to you how to stand your ground without being aggressive or unprofessional in your discussions with the insurance-appointed doctor. Also, through discussions with the doctor and comparing the potential causes of your injury with your everyday job duties, the Columbus workers’ compensation attorney will manage to prove that your work is the primary source of your injury.
4. Obey the Doctor’s Recommendations
In most cases, repetitive stress injury involves both medication and resting the affected area. This means that you should also stop any kind of off-duty activities that require the use of the injured area. For example, if you are diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, you should not carry heavy grocery bags or play Frisbee with your kids.
You can be sure that your employer’s insurance company is keeping tabs on you and is ready to note any failure to comply with the doctor’s order to deny your claim or stop your benefits.
Our Law Firm Can Help You File a Workers’ Comp Claim Successfully!
Ohio Workers’ Compensation Lawyers is a law firm that does not shy from more complex cases. On the contrary, we know that injured workers need an experienced Columbus workers’ compensation attorney, especially in complicated situations when it is difficult to prove a work-related injury.
If you suffer from a repetitive stress injury caused by your job duties, follow the usual procedure for getting diagnosed and reporting your injury. At the same time, schedule a free case review with us and let us help you obtain your workers’ comp benefits. Call 833-406-0060 today!