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Can I get workers’ compensation for repetitive stress injuries?

On Behalf of Christian Ayers
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When most people think of workers’ compensation, they probably consider catastrophic accidents like a construction worker falling from scaffolding or a machinist losing a limb. While workers’ compensation does cover these, they are not the only type of claim that it was designed to address.

Repetitive stress injuries can be just as difficult to overcome. In North Carolina, an employee is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for any injury or disability caused by a condition or risk of employment. However, this injury or disability must have been a result from work.

Who is at risk of a RSI?

A repetitive stress injury occurs when performing the same action repeatedly causes an injury from stress and strain. Small movements like typing on a keyboard or standing for long periods can eventually take a toll on your body. Carpel tunnel syndrome is one of the most common cases. A variety of workers can develop this, ranging from a factory laborer to an office worker.

In addition to many occupations that involve computer use, other jobs that are subject to RSIs include:

  • Medical professionals
  • Custodians
  • Grocery or stock clerks
  • Bus drivers
  • Plumbers
  • Labor workers
  • Firefighters
  • Musicians and professional athletes

You may be entitled to several types of workers’ compensation benefits if you develop a RSI. This includes diagnostic tests and treatments, medical aides, surgeries, rehabilitation and other medical attention you may need.

If your treatment is more than 15 miles away, you’ll also likely qualify for travel reimbursement. You may also qualify for income replacement if you must miss work because of your injury. This will not replace your full income, though – typically amounts for 60 or 75 percent. If you need a vocational counselor, they can help plan work accommodations with you and your employer.

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 a Charlotte work injury attorney navigate you through the claim process.