Repetitive Stress Injuries
Repetitive stress injuries (RSI) are also called “repetitive strain injuries,” “repetitive motion injuries,” and “cumulative trauma injuries.” Regardless of which term is used, the outcome is the same: intense pain, limited mobility, and reduced ability to perform basic physical tasks. An RSI can make even light desk work impossible, putting you into a tough financial position. However, if you suffered a repetitive stress injury at work, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. The Charlotte workplace RSI lawyers of the Ramsay Law Firm can help determine whether you qualify, help you file a claim, appeal a claim that was denied, or work toward restoration of benefits that were cut off, decreased, or suspended.
To learn more about your eligibility for benefits and how to seek compensation for a job-related repetition injury, call the Ramsay Law Firm at(704) 376-1616 for a free legal consultation.
What is a Repetitive Strain Injury and How Does it Happen?
A repetitive strain injury or repetitive stress injury is precisely what it sounds like: an injury that develops over time due to frequent repetition of a physical motion, such as lifting, bending, carrying, stretching, turning, or twisting. While these motions are normally not harmful when performed on occasion, constant repetition can seriously weaken the joints, tendons, or ligaments responsible for performing the motion.
To use an analogy, imagine bending or flexing a paper clip. At first, no damage will occur; but as the motion is repeated again and again, the overused “joint” grows progressively weaker and less stable until finally snapping in half.
Because repetitive stress injuries develop gradually, victims are often unaware that they have been hurt until it is too late, and the damage has already grown severe. While repetitive motion injuries are not life-threatening, they are often intensely painful, and moreover, can drastically limit the victim’s physical abilities, preventing the person from working and earning income.
Repetitive stress injuries can affect almost any area of the body. However, some body parts are more prone to RSI than others, notably the upper body and joints of the upper extremities. Common examples of repetitive strain injuries at work include:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
- Focal Dystonia
- Lateral Epicondylitis (“Tennis Elbow”)
- Medial Epicondylitis (“Golfer’s Elbow”)
- Radial Tunnel Syndrome
- Tendonitis (Tendinitis)
- Ulnar Tunnel Syndrome
Repetitive motions do not need to involve heavy objects or hazardous substances to cause injury, nor does being otherwise healthy offer any protection. A daily job duty as simple as typing, sorting objects, shelving goods, or flipping through papers can lead to RSI, even in a person with no other medical conditions.
Repetitive Strain Injury Compensation Claims for Workers in NC
The Charlotte workers’ compensation process is governed by the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act, which establishes rights for employees and requirements for employers throughout the state. Most employers are subject to the Act, and most employees are covered. However, an injury will not be covered if it was deliberately self-inflicted, or if it occurred due to the injury victim’s intoxication by alcohol or controlled substances. Certain types of workers are excluded from the Act, but may have recourse under other pieces of legislation protecting employees’ rights.
To receive workers’ compensation benefits for a repetitive stress injury in Charlotte, you must report the injury to your employer in writing, including the date when the injury occurred, and the location where the injury took place. Once you notify your employer, he or she is responsible for completing the rest of the initial process.
If your claim is approved, you may begin receiving benefits almost immediately. However, if your claim is denied by your employer or your employer’s insurance carrier, it will be necessary to “appeal” (challenge) the initial determination. This process begins when you file a formal Request that Claim Be Assigned for Hearing (Form 33) with the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC), which is the organization responsible for overseeing workers’ compensation claims in North Carolina.
Benefits are capped at $978 per week as of 2017, and are calculated to be approximately 66.66% of your average weekly wage before the repetitive motion injury occurred. For instance, if you were earning $675 per week before your injury, you could receive up to approximately $450 per week in workers’ compensation benefits.
For a free legal consultation about a workers’ compensation claim for a repetitive strain injury, contact the Ramsay Law Firm at (704) 376-1616 to speak with Martha Ramsay, Charlotte work injury attorney and Board Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist.
Hire a board certified Workers' Compensation attorney today to start fighting on your behalf!