At one time or another, we’ve all felt that the daily grind of work can be repetitive. However, when your job involves performing the same task over and over, it can lead to serious and permanent physical injuries. Many other physical injuries that occur, as a result of the day in, day out, repetitive nature of certain jobs, have been found to be work related entitling you to Workers’ Compensation benefits.
What does this mean to you? It means that you may be entitled to a monetary award for injuries that occur from the constant physical stress on your body from performing your job. The three specific Workers’ Compensation benefits you are entitled to if you develop physical injuries as a result of performing your job are medical treatment provided by your employer, temporary disability benefits and a monetary award based on the degree of permanent injury. Repetitive Stress Injuries do not have to be completely caused by work, the courts require proof that the work caused the aggravation, acceleration or exacerbation of the injuries. The work exposure needs only to be a material cause of the injury.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is one of the most common and well publicized repetitive stress injuries and it affects workers in a variety of fields in New Jersey, but overuse can cause a number of different injuries. Some examples of common repetitive stress injuries are rotator cuff tears in the shoulder as a result of constantly reaching or lifting overhead, back injuries including herniated discs caused by repetitive heavy lifting or a condition called epicondylitis in the elbow due to overuse of the arm. Repetitive lifting, reaching overhead, bending, kneeling, and climbing are all examples of the type of movements workers perform on a daily basis. These types of work, when performed over a period of time, require overuse of individual body parts and can cause a variety of injuries.
Work related activities such as carrying heavy gear, loading and unloading pallets, lifting patients, lifting and pulling fire hoses or spools of electrical wire, assembly line work and climbing stairs and ladders all take a physical toll on the body. Even when you’re not moving, repetitive standing on hard surfaces can cause a painful condition in the feet known as plantar fascitis. Over a long period of time, these types of overuse activities can cause damage to a degree that weekend chores around the house won’t.
If you think you have developed a Repetitive Stress Injury you should report this to your employer immediately and request medical treatment. If your employer will not send you to a doctor for treatment you should consult your primary care physician.
If you develop an injury as the as a result of doing your job on a daily basis, you are entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits. At Stark & Stark, we are experienced in these matters and would be pleased to discuss your particular circumstances. We provide free consultations to inform you of your rights and obligations under the law and strongly recommend that you call us today if you have been hurt at work.