A job-related repetitive stress injury can be caused by performing a single task over and over in the workplace, without variation or break in the task. Also called “repetitive stress disorders” (RSD), these type of workplace injuries are becoming more common with the increased use of computers in the workplace.
Employees who have developed a repetitive stress-type injury on the job may be able to file for compensation through workers compensation programs or disability laws. However, the injury must have occurred while on the job and must be related to the tasks assigned to the worker.
Do Repetitive Stress Injuries Fall Under Worker’s Comp?
Repetitive stress injuries can fall under workers compensation if the injury is work-related and the worker was legally employed by the employer. Thus, injury needs to be connected somehow to the person’s line of work and the job description they signed up for.
For example, a paralegal probably wouldn’t qualify for workers compensation if they went jogging during every lunch break and suffered a repetitive stress injury to their knee. This is because such exercise probably isn’t a required duty for their job position. On the other hand, if they injured their arm due to repetitive filing of folders, they might be eligible for workers compensation.
What Are Some Causes of Job-Related Repetitive Stress Injuries?
There are probably as many possibilities for repetitive stress injuries as there are job positions. However, some of the more common tasks that cause job-relate repetitive stress injuries include:
- Computer and typing-related activities: More and more job positions involve the use of a computer or typing device. Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most frequently claimed repetitive stress injuries
- Bar-code Scanning: Grocers and other retail workers are prone to repetitive stress injuries from the continual process of scanning merchandise at the register
- Static Posturing: This is where the worker must assume a fixed posture (such as prolonged standing) while performing their work. Another example is an electrician repeatedly fitting their body into a cramped attic spaces when working on wiring
Some other repetitive stress injuries involve: reaching overhead (as in stacking boxes onto overhead shelves); overuse of the hands and fingers (massage therapists); and assembly-line work (especially where there is no variation in the assigned task).
How Can I Recover for Losses Caused by a Repetitive Stress Injury?
If you have suffered losses due to a repetitive stress injury, you can usually file a workers compensation claim through your employer. This may require extensive documentation of your injury and the circumstances leading to your injury. Be sure to collect important documents like medical bills, hospital documents, work logs, and pay stubs.
Alternatively, you can file a civil lawsuit against your employer if they refuse to assist you with workers compensation or other benefits. In some cases you may need to file a complaint with a government agency before you can file a private lawsuit.
Do I Need an Employment Lawyer?
Getting injured while on the job can present many complex challenges. If you have suffered a job-related repetitive stress injury, you may wish to hire a competent employment lawyer. An experienced attorney in your area will be able to help you file a legal claim, so that you can recover any losses you may have experienced in connection with your injury.