Repetitive Motion Injuries
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When most people think about workplace injuries, they imagine a single serious accident, like a pulled muscle or head trauma resulting from a slip and fall. The reality is that many workplace injuries are developed over time as a result of repetitive movements performed over months or years. These injuries are known as repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) or repetitive motion injuries and can be both painful and debilitating. Fortunately, Georgia’s workers’ compensation program covers these types of injuries and allows those suffering from repetitive motion injuries to collect benefits. The filing process can be difficult and it is not uncommon for legitimate claims to be denied because the claimant failed to file by the deadline or did not submit necessary documentation, so if you were recently diagnosed with an RSI, it is critical to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can ensure that your claim is filed correctly and on time.
An action does not need to be complex or physically challenging for it to cause a repetitive motion injury over time. All that is required is that a simple motion be repeated several times a day over an extended period. Over time, the combined effect of these repeated movements can lead to an injury that makes it extremely painful, if not impossible to complete daily tasks. There isn’t a single type of RSI. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that there are over 100 recognized types of work-induced repetitive motion injuries.
Although any number of activities can cause repetitive motion injuries, computer use has proven to be one of the leading sources of RSIs. Whether used for creating spreadsheets, keeping track of shipments, or organizing inventory, almost all businesses utilize computers in some way. It is not surprising then that the most common kinds of repetitive motion injuries involve the wrists, hands, and arms. Clicking on a mouse, using a touchpad, or typing on a keyboard can all wear on the tendons and joints in the hands and wrists and often result in the following types of injuries:
Although office workers are perhaps the most likely group to suffer from these types of injuries, there are actually many more kinds of employees who suffer from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Bursitis, and Tendonitis. For instance, construction workers and those who are involved in manufacturing are often required to lift objects and use heavy tools, which also puts them at risk of sustaining a repetitive motion injury. Cashiers, who are required to scan hundreds of items every day are another at-risk group. Other types of workers who are likely to develop RSIs include:
All of these workers are required to perform small and repeated movements of the wrists, hands, and fingers on a daily basis and so are more likely to sustain debilitating repetitive motion injuries.
Repetitive motion injuries are not restricted to the upper half of the body. In fact, many workers who are required to bend, squat, and lift as part of their job duties can develop problems in their knees, ankles, and feet. For instance, torn ligaments, herniated discs, Bursitis, and Tendinitis are relatively common afflictions amongst those who work in the shipping and construction industries.
Repetitive motion injuries are usually difficult to detect in their early stages, as minor pains are easily chalked up to overwork or fatigue. However, catching these types of injuries early on can make all the difference in preventing more serious problems down the road, so at-risk employees should remain vigilant for evidence of the following problems:
Once an employee begins to recognize these symptoms, he or she should record specific injury-related information, including:
This information could later prove crucial to obtaining a diagnosis and receiving benefits, as the filing process requires the claimant to provide an estimate of the date of onset. This can be extremely difficult in situations involving repetitive motion injuries that were sustained over a period of years. Documenting symptoms can make all the difference in proving the existence of a condition at a later date. It is also critical for injured employees to immediately notify their employer of the problem. Failing to do so can significantly delay a claim and in some cases, can lead to an outright denial of compensation. Employees struggling with repetitive motion injuries must also seek the aid of a doctor who can officially diagnose the problem. In many cases, doctors are able to create a treatment plan to keep the injury from worsening. Physical therapy and the use of braces often prove helpful, although in many cases, the injured employee must take a leave of absence from work, at least for a short period of time.
Injured workers who obtain a diagnosis of a repetitive motion injury are eligible to receive workers’ compensation as long as they can demonstrate that the injury arose out of the course of employment. The opinion of a doctor is often crucial in proving these claims.
The Georgia Workers’ Compensation Expert
At Spillers Law Firm, we never lose sight of our number one goal — to obtain maximum compensation for you. Whether your case requires litigation, negotiation or simply waiting for the best settlement offer, we know how to achieve the best possible results for you and your family.
These settlement amounts are more than just money. They are a means of regaining the peace of mind, safety and security that was taken from you when you were injured.
Our clients often express just how much they truly appreciate the genuine concern and compassion shown by our staff. They also appreciate our attorneys’ willingness to wait for a better settlement or for an opportunity to litigate. This means that he does not settle for the first offer that comes along. The goal is maximum compensation for our clients.
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