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Workers’ compensation for repetitive stress injuries

Over time, you may begin noticing that performing your job is not as easy as it used to be. You can’t complete tasks as quickly and may need to continually stop because the pain is too much. Some may write these off as symptoms of getting older but age may not be the only culprit. You could be suffering from a repetitive stress injury, and if your RSI is work-related, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

A repetitive stress injury occurs when continually performing a task that damages one or more parts of the body. Many occupations require repetitive movements that can eventually take a toll on a worker’s body. If you work in an office and type on a computer all day, you can develop carpal tunnel syndrome from constant use of the keyboard. A grocery clerk could strain their wrists by repeatedly using a scanner.

What causes a repetitive stress injury?

Doing the same task throughout the day puts strain on the tendons, joints, and muscles or causes muscle fatigue. This muscle fatigue makes the muscles susceptible to injury. Repetitive stress injuries can also occur from frequent over-exertion as it puts stress on the body. When leaning against a hard or sharp surface, blood flow to the muscles, tendons and nerves is reduced and can cause numbness and others changes in sensation. Continued blood flow restriction can damage the tissue.

What am I entitled to?

Employers and their workers’ compensation insurance companies are usually reluctant to accept repetitive stress injury claims, so you must prove the connection between the injury and work-related activity. It is vital to tell your employer and doctor about your complaints from the beginning if your pain and ability to function worsen to the point you can no longer perform your job.

Pennsylvania law limits the amount of time you must notify your employer of an injury if pursuing workers’ compensation benefits. This can be difficult to determine in the case of a repetitive stress injury. You could run into problems when filing for workers’ compensation. Some repetitive stress injuries are difficult to medically validate. With the right amount of medical evidence, legal guidance and persistence, it can be done. If you have developed a repetitive stress injury at work and want to receive compensation, you’ll want to have an attorney navigate you through the claim process.