You do not need to have an injury that results from a workplace accident to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
You may also qualify with an impairment or injury that develops over time. Of these, a repetitive stress injury is among the most common.
Repetitive stress explained
Also known as repetitive motion injuries, repetitive stress injuries affect nerves, ligaments, tendons and muscles. They result from certain repeated motions you make on a daily basis. Carpal tunnel syndrome is one such progressive condition that people who work on a computer or on an assembly line, for example, may develop. It occurs when repetitive overuse compresses a nerve in the wrist. Since this passageway called the carpal tunnel controls nerve impulses for the hand, swelling can cause tingling, numbness and pain in the area.
Other progressive conditions
Bursitis, tendinitis, trigger finger and epicondylitis, better known as tennis elbow, are examples of other repetitive stress injuries that occur over time. However, depending on the type of work you do or the type of environment you work in, you could develop a progressive condition such as asthma that would also make you eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
A report from your doctor will be essential when you submit a claim to your workers’ compensation insurer. The doctor must confirm that in his or her professional opinion, your progressive injury or condition is work-related. If the medical report draws a clear connection between the diagnosis and the kind of work you do, and if you have a knowledgeable advocate to help you prepare the submission, your claim for benefits has a good chance to succeed.