Can I Pursue Workers’ Comp for a Repetitive Stress Injury in Tennessee?

female office worker with wrist painRepetitive Stress Injuries are very common, and they can happen anywhere, especially at work.

Read below what types of jobs often cause a Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI) and when Tennessee workers’ comp insurance may provide benefits. Additionally, learn what steps you need to take to make sure you do not put your benefits at risk.

Scheduled a free case review to learn more. (865) 247-0080

How Does an RSI Happen?

An RSI is not like most injuries covered by workers’ compensation. Though these injuries may still be the direct result of work-related duties, the damages occur over time. An RSI can happen even when workers take proper precautions, such as typing on ergonomic computer keyboards or using proper lifting techniques

An RSI is caused by repetitive motions or tasks that stress certain areas of your body. Gradually this stress wears down the cartilage, discs, joints, bones or causes painful strains in a worker’s muscles or tendons.

Proving these types of injuries happened at work can be difficult and may often be challenged by an employer, your workers’ compensation carrier, or both. Having a licensed attorney who is well-versed in workers' compensation law can be an advantage in this situation. 

What Types of Workers Are Most Likely to Suffer an RSI?

Many jobs have tasks that can lead to an RSI. However, there are some industries where employees may have a higher-than-average risk for sustaining an RSI, including:

  • Stocking or moving companies
  • Construction work
  • Carpentry
  • Plumbing
  • Firefighters
  • Butchers
  • Office work
  • Musicians who play an instrument
  • Painters
  • Massage or physical therapists

Regardless of the industry or job where repetitive tasks are a necessary part of the work, the resulting injuries can be painful and make your day-to-day life more challenging. In some cases, the injuries can become so debilitating that an employee may be unable to work at all.

What are Signs That You May Have an RSI?

Initially, there may not be any signs, and a twinge in your back or wrist may not necessarily mean you have an RSI. However, if you develop symptoms that worsen or become chronic, then it is time to see a doctor.

Some of the symptoms you can look for include:

  • Numbness or tingling in the affected area – hands, feet, fingers
  • Tenderness in a focused area, accompanied by pain that may be dull to acute
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Weakness in the hands, you may be unable to grip objects or make a fist
  • Loss of flexibility

Pursuing a Workers’ Comp Claim for an RSI

Although repetitive stress injuries may be covered by your employer’s workers’ comp insurance, you must still be able to prove it was due to, and arose out of, doing your job. Since an RSI is not the result of a one-time incident, establishing this evidence is challenging. This is why hiring an attorney can be a valuable resource.

Employees Must Report the Injury

Once you become aware that you have regular pain and that it may be related to work, you will need to follow the proper procedure for pursuing a Tennessee workers’ comp claim. If you try to endure the pain and keep working, you may be damaging your prospects of getting the benefits and medical care that you need.

Your responsibility is to:

  • Report the injury to your employer within 30 days of when you sustained it – or, as with an RSI, within 30 days of discovery (typically the result of a doctor’s diagnosis).
  • Complete a First Report of Injury Form (along with your employer) – this form gives details about the nature of your injury and how it occurred.
  • Select a physician from your employer’s panel of doctors (there are three).

If you do not take these steps, and more than 30 days pass after discovery/diagnosis of your injury, you will likely be unable to obtain the workers’ comp benefits that you need.

Get Help for Your RSI From a Licensed Attorney

At Greg Coleman Law, we are familiar with workers’ compensation claims involving repetitive stress injuries. Often, employers may argue that there is no way to prove that your RSI was caused at work, but our workers’ comp lawyers in Knoxville have extensive knowledge of state laws, and we know how to build a strong claim on your behalf.

Contact our firm today to get started: (865) 247-0080