Are RSIs Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?

Work-Related Injury Lawyers

Yes, repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) can be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in many jurisdictions. Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that provides medical treatment, wage replacement, and other benefits to employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. RSIs are injuries that result from the repetition of specific movements or overuse of certain body parts over an extended period. These injuries are common in various occupations, including those that involve constant typing, lifting, or performing repetitive tasks.

Proving Eligibility for RSIs:

To be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits due to a repetitive stress injury, certain criteria typically need to be met:

  1. Causal Relationship to Work: The injured worker must demonstrate that their RSI is directly related to their work activities. This can be challenging for some RSIs, as the connection between the injury and the job may not always be immediately apparent. Medical documentation and expert opinions may be required to establish this link.
  2. Notice and Reporting: In many jurisdictions, employees are required to report work-related injuries or illnesses to their employers within a specified timeframe. For RSIs, where symptoms may develop gradually, the worker should notify their employer as soon as they become aware of the injury or its connection to their work.
  3. Medical Evidence: Proper medical documentation is crucial in RSI cases. A qualified medical professional should diagnose and provide evidence of the repetitive stress injury, including details about the nature of the injury, its cause, and how it is related to the individual’s work duties.
  4. No Preexisting Condition: Workers’ compensation benefits may be denied if the RSI existed before the individual started working for the employer or if it was caused by non-work-related activities.
  5. Employer Knowledge: Some jurisdictions require that the employer be aware of the repetitive stress injury or the unsafe working conditions that contributed to it. In such cases, if the employer knew about the issue and failed to take appropriate action, the injured worker may be eligible for compensation.

Common Repetitive Stress Injuries Covered by Workers’ Comp

Workers’ compensation typically covers a wide range of repetitive stress injuries, including:

  1. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: A common RSI that affects the wrist and hand, often resulting from activities involving constant typing, grasping, or use of vibrating tools.
  2. Tendinitis: Inflammation or irritation of tendons, which can occur in various parts of the body, such as the shoulder, elbow, or knee, due to repetitive motions.
  3. Tenosynovitis: Inflammation of the protective sheath surrounding tendons, often affecting the hands and wrists.
  4. Bursitis: Inflammation of the bursae (small, fluid-filled sacs) that cushion joints, often seen in the shoulder or knee due to repetitive stress.
  5. Epicondylitis (Tennis/Golfer’s Elbow): Inflammation of the tendons that attach to the outer or inner part of the elbow, respectively, caused by repetitive gripping or wrist movements.
  6. Trigger Finger: A condition in which the finger’s tendon becomes inflamed, leading to difficulty in bending or straightening the finger, often associated with repetitive finger movements.
  7. De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis: Inflammation of the tendons in the thumb, leading to pain and limited thumb movement, typically caused by repetitive thumb motions.

As experienced work-related injury lawyers – including those who practice at Polsky, Shouldice & Rosen, P.C. – can confirm, it’s essential for employees who suspect they have developed an RSI to seek medical attention promptly and report the condition to their employer as soon as possible. Failure to report the injury in a timely manner may jeopardize the worker’s chances of receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Additionally, consulting with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can be beneficial to navigate the claims process, gather the necessary evidence, and ensure that the injured worker’s rights are protected.