When it comes to work-related injuries, there are two types. The first is a specific injury, and typically what we think of when it comes to work-related injuries. This includes injuries that were the specific result of an accident, like lifting a box and hurting your back or falling off a ladder. The second type is what is known as repetitive trauma injuries. These injuries don’t happen all at once. They are the result of repetitive actions over a period of time like those who type all day, every day may develop carpal tunnel or those who lift heavy boxes over many years may develop back pain.
These repetitive injuries are not often what people think of when they think of worker’s that need worker’s compensation, but they can be even more debilitating than a specific injury. Those types of injuries can heal relatively quickly. However, those with repetitive trauma will have to live with that pain likely for the rest of their lives. While they may not be entitled to the same worker’s compensation benefits, they are still entitled to them.
Worker’s Compensation Benefits for Repetitive Trauma Injuries
Worker’s compensation is designed to pay workers for their lost wages and medical bills after an injury. If necessary, it will continue to pay for medical expenses even after the worker returns to their job. As the insurance covers such a wide array of injuries, they must have documentations that says the injury happened at work. While this is relatively simple with specific injuries, because repetitive trauma happens over time, it is more difficult to prove that it is wholly work related.
In order to get benefits, you need to have a doctor attest that the injury was the result of their job, This means if you don’t type a thing at work, but develop carpal tunnel, it is more likely that it was because of that epic novel you write in your off time. However, if you have been lifting 200 fifty pound bags a day at your job for years and your back is giving out, that is a claim that will pay.
Once a repetitive trauma injury has been proved, though, it can take you away from your job for days, weeks, or even permanently. If you cannot work your data entry jobs because it is physically painful to type, this may entitle you to long-term disability benefits. If you cannot do your job and your company has no other position for you, you will also be paid for your lost wages and your insurance may pay for any vocational training that you would need for another position.
A good settlement should also pay for your medical expenses. If the injury is not yet so severe that you have to stop working, the insurance might cover your treatment until you return to work, but may not continue after.
How to File a Repetitive Trauma Claim?
When you are in an accident at work that results in a specific injury, filing for worker’s compensation is pretty clear cut. You get hurt, you go to the doctor, you file for worker’s comp. However, because repetitive trauma happens over time, it can be a tough call to decide when to file. The best option is to get checked out by a doctor when you first begin to develop pain that may begin to interfere with your work. If your doctor tells you that it is a result of your job, you may be able to get worker’s compensation to cover you while you seek treatment. This way, the injury doesn’t become permanently debilitating and you still get medical coverage. It may also be worthwhile to consult with your supervisor to see if you can get moved to a less strenuous position so you can keep working.
If you are beginning the filing process for a repetitive trauma injury, contact us today. Even with specific injuries, worker’s compensation can be a major headache, more so when your injury is called into question. At the Meshbesher Law Firm, we specialize in personal injury and worker’s compensation cases to assure that if you are injured, you get the compensation you deserve.