Can I get workers’ compensation for repetitive stress injuries?


Worker’s compensation is not just for sudden accidents such as falls. Sometimes work-related injuries happen over time, even when you are doing your job correctly. A repetitive stress injury (RSI) may sneak up on you and cause a lot of pain.

You should know about the causes RSIs, how to recognize them and what you should do about them.

What activities cause RSIs?

Many parts of your work might become routine after you do them for a while. But if you don’t think about what you’re doing, it could end up hurting you. Some of the things that you do every day at your job may lead to an RSI, such as:

  • Performing the same action over and over again
  • Having bad posture
  • Using equipment that vibrates
  • Staying in the same position for too long
  • Using non-ergonomic equipment–such as keyboards and chairs
  • Lifting heavy loads

From construction laborers to office workers to professional athletes, almost everyone has the chance of suffering repetitive stress to their body in their work.

What symptoms should you look for?

One of the common signs of an RSI is muscle or joint pain. It might be constant throbbing–or it could happen just when you move that muscle or joint. Many RSIs occur in the shoulders, elbows and wrists because of the overuse of these joints while working.

An RSI doesn’t always cause pain, however. If you feel tingling in a part of your body or even lose feeling entirely, it could be due to the repeated use of that part as well. Your doctor can help you figure out whether your issue is an RSI and what may have caused it.

What should you do after you discover your injury?

If you have an RSI due to your work, California law allows you to seek compensation from your employer. You can get help for your medical bills, lost wages from missed work and even payment for retraining if you need to change jobs.

Filling out all the forms correctly and on time may be challenging, especially when you are also dealing with your RSI. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you get through the process–so you can focus on your recovery.

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