When someone thinks of a work injury, they usually think of a single, one-time incident, like a slip and fall, a motor vehicle accident or a factory accident.
However, a number of work injuries develop over the course of time due to the effect of repetitive movements on the job, such as lifting heavy materials.
Under these circumstances, injured employees may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits for occupational injuries, as long as it can be proven that the injuries were caused by the repetitive work duties.
What Are Repetitive Motion Injuries and What Are the Symptoms?
Repetitive motion injuries are cumulative injuries that occur over the course of time from repeated body movements. They can involve a variety of body movements, and result in a number of medical conditions, such as tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger finger, back pain, rotator cuff syndrome, and more. Some typical symptoms are as follows:
- Tenderness, pain, throbbing aches
- Loss of coordination and strength
- Reduced flexibility and range of motion
These injuries can develop from a variety of tasks that call for repeated movements, such as frequent carrying and lifting, use of vibrating equipment, or using awkward postures. In the initial stages, the symptoms may not be as pronounced, or you might only experience them when carrying out a certain task or holding a specific posture. Some high-risk jobs for repetitive motion injuries include:
- Factory workers
- Housekeeping cleaners and janitors
- Health care aides and nurses
- Delivery workers
- Pipefitters and plumbers
- Construction workers
- Professional sports players and athletes
Dealing With a Repetitive Motion Injury
It is crucial to pay close attention to the symptoms of a repetitive motion injury so that it can be treated in its early stages, and not get out of hand. If you suspect that your symptoms are job-related, inform your employer immediately. Notify them in writing and ensure you have sufficient documented proof that your employer was made aware of the injury as soon as possible. Your notice can be rather straightforward, but be sure to add the date, a brief description of the injury, and how it occurred. Keep a copy of the notice for your records.
Next, you should request that your employer's workers' compensation insurance carrier arrange an examination with a doctor. Be sure to tell the doctor your symptoms, and detail the onset and causes of the symptoms. You might be instructed by the doctor to halt work for a while to allow your symptoms to heal. You may also be prescribed work limitations, like restrictions on the performance of certain tasks.
A delay in receiving workers' compensation benefits, including medical treatment benefits, can significantly add to the pain, stress, and annoyance you are already going through. If that is the case, you may benefit from a free consultation with a workers' compensation lawyer. An experienced NJ workers' comp lawyer can assist in getting you medical treatment and other benefits you are owed as an injured NJ worker.