If your job requires you to perform the same tasks throughout the day, you may be at risk of developing a repetitive motion or repetitive strain injury (RSI). Frequently moving in the same way can cause wear and tear on joints and tendons over time, even if the motion is not awkward or strenuous. Of course, the likelihood of injury increases if the motion is unnatural or involves lifting or exertion.
Workers’ compensation covers these injuries, but securing the benefits you earned is sometimes challenging. Teaming up with an experienced workers’ comp attorney can be helpful. A Las Vegas repetitive motion injury lawyer at Shook & Stone could manage your claim and ensure you collect the benefits you are entitled to receive.
Types of Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSIs)
Most people have heard of carpal tunnel syndrome, an RSI that develops from overuse of the fingers and wrists. People who spend their working time typing on a keyboard are especially susceptible, but the condition also afflicts kitchen workers, musicians, sewists, some assembly line workers, laborers who use vibrating equipment like power tools, and others.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is not the only work-related RSI. According to the National Institutes of Health, other medical conditions that could develop because of repetitive motions at work include:
- Ganglion cyst
- Shoulder tendonitis
- Epicondylitis (tennis elbow)
- Osgood Schlatter disease, a knee condition
- Inflammation of the tendons (tenosynovitis)
Repetitive motion also could cause back strains and herniated disks.
Healing from repetitive motion injuries usually involves rest, sometimes for an extended period. A workers’ compensation program insurer might object to someone taking extended time off and deny them their benefits. A seasoned Las Vegas repetitive motion injury attorney could ensure that a worker has the time they need to recover and receives their workers’ comp benefits.
Treatment for Repetitive Motion Injuries
As noted above, treating an RSI involves resting the affected body part. Sometimes, an employer can make accommodations that allow the worker to continue doing their job. For example, an ergonomic workstation might help an assembly line worker do their job without aggravating their injury. Frequent breaks and mixing up tasks so the worker does not perform the same movements over an extended period could also be helpful.
Repetitive motion injuries often require physical therapy to help a worker strengthen the affected body part without worsening the condition. Occupational therapy can help a worker learn new ways of completing tasks. Severe or long-term RSIs sometimes require surgery. The workers’ compensation program should pay for these services.
RSIs do not always show up on X-rays and other diagnostic tests, and diagnosis relies heavily on a worker’s report of discomfort or weakness in the affected area. Employers and their insurers sometimes assert that a worker is exaggerating their symptoms to avoid returning to work. A skilled repetitive motion injury lawyer in Las Vegas could argue on behalf of the worker and ensure the employer takes the worker’s symptoms seriously.
Claiming Workers’ Compensation Benefits for RSI
Reporting an accidental injury at work is relatively simple—the accident happens, a supervisor usually fills out an incident report, the worker gets medical treatment, and workers’ compensation pays the worker’s claim. However, the process is slightly more complicated when the injury happens gradually over time.
A worker who experiences pain, reduced range of motion, numbness, tingling, or swelling should not ignore the symptoms but get a medical evaluation as soon as possible. If a doctor diagnoses a repetitive stress injury, reporting it to the employer immediately is critical. Nevada Revised Statutes § 616C.020 says an injured employee must file a workers’ compensation claim within 90 days of a work-related repetitive motion injury diagnosis.
Workers are sometimes entitled to bring a negligence claim against the employer if its failure to adhere to OSHA regulations or other safety rules led to an injury. A proactive RSI lawyer could review medical records and investigate workplace conditions to determine whether a lawsuit against an employer or third party is feasible in a specific case.
Speak With a Las Vegas Repetitive Motion Injury Attorney Today
Repetitive motion injuries are painful, debilitating, and often slow to heal. Recovery can be even more challenging if you face financial hardship due to an inability to perform your job.
A Las Vegas repetitive motion injury lawyer can help you file your claim to ensure it contains all the information the workers’ compensation insurer requires and respond if they question your claim. Call now to schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable legal professional at our firm.