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Can I Get Workers’ Comp For A Repetitive Stress Injury?

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Some types of jobs require the worker to repeat the same motion or range of motion over and over again in order to get their work done – for example, secretaries and other white collar office professionals may spend all day on the computer, or postal workers may open and close mailboxes or lift heavy parcels all day. Sometimes, this repeated motion can wear down tendons or ligaments, causing what is referred to as a repetitive stress injury (RSI). Because it is not the usual accident or fall that many suffer on the job, there is sometimes question about whether or not RSIs are covered under workers’ compensation.

Difficult To Isolate RSIs’ Damage

In order to be eligible to receive workers’ compensation, your RSI must, like any injury, have been incurred on the job. As one might imagine, because it is cumulative in nature rather than one isolated incident causing trauma, it can be difficult to tell whether an RSI has been contracted on the job or merely exacerbated – for example, someone who plays video games at home and then works as a white-collar professional may have developed carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis in their off time.

Because of this difficulty in pinpointing the actual cause of an injury, it is generally a good idea to at least consult a medical professional as soon as your symptoms manifest themselves on a consistent basis, if not to go ahead and file for workers’ compensation. Florida law holds that a worker must report their injury within 30 days of the “initial manifestation” of the injury, and while it can be difficult to tell when the injury actually manifested, in many cases the next best thing is to file within 30 days of symptoms manifesting consistently.

Employers Must Hear Your Claim

Some workers with RSIs are reluctant to pursue workers’ compensation because they fear reprisal, or they fear that they will not be heard because their condition does not conform to a narrow definition of a repetitive stress injury. There is, as of this writing, no single specific definition of an RSI, at least not in the legal field – Florida law defines an “injury” for the purposes of workers’ compensation, and there is no language in the relevant statute that would exclude any RSI.

As for reprisal, the same rules apply to an employee with an RSI as would apply to any employee injured in a single specific accident; no employer may take retaliatory measures against anyone for filing a good-faith workers’ compensation claim. Any employer that tries to do so may find themselves subject to consequences from the relevant authorities, as well as possibly on the receiving end of an employment discrimination suit from the employee who was retaliated against. If you believe that you have been retaliated against because you filed for workers’ compensation, that may be a matter for an employment law attorney.

Call An Orlando Workers’ Compensation Attorney

When you are injured, all you want is to receive the benefits you are due so that you can focus on recovery. If you have an RSI, recovery is critical so that you can continue to do your job, but the process of workers’ compensation can seem scary and overwhelming. The dedicated Orlando workers’ compensation lawyers at the Hornsby Law Group will sit down with you and try to help answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to set up an appointment.

Resources:

leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0400-0499/0440/Sections/0440.185.html

leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0400-0499/0440/Sections/0440.02.html

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