Information on types of repetitive strain injuries, treatment and how Michigan work comp can protect you
A repetitive strain injury at work can occur from the overuse of the hands and arms to perform a repetitive task. These workers’ comp claims are covered under Michigan law. Read the information below to learn more about these common, on-the-job injuries.
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Q. What are some examples of repetitive strain injuries?
A. Activities such as typing, writing, and other repetitive movements are common causes of repetitive strain injuries. Repetitive strain injuries come in different forms and affect different parts of the body. You may be diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, De Quervain, trigger finger, tendonitis or tenosynovitis.
Common symptoms include pain, numbness, weakness, tingling and burning. You may find yourself with a problem in your hands, fingers, arms, elbows or wrists that prevents you from doing your job.
Repetitive strain injuries are becoming more common because of the changing work environment. More people find themselves sitting in front of a computer or performing other repetitive activities on a daily basis. They are overusing their hands, fingers, arms, and elbows to perform these tasks.
Repetitive strain injuries are really nothing new and anyone who has spent any time in a factory can tell you about them. Pushing and pulling parts out of a machine or operating vibrating tools can cause significant injury.
Q. Can a repetitive strain injury at work be disputed under workers’ comp?
A. Employers and insurance companies frequently claims for these injuries because they will not acknowledge the seriousness of these medical conditions.
Many times a person is sent to a second-opinion independent medical examination and told that his or her condition is not severe. Some people are even told that they do not have a problem based upon questionable diagnostic testing.
Q. What kind of medical treatment is typically sought?
A. You should always find your own doctor for evaluation and treatment. You have this right under workers compensation.
Your doctor will most likely want to perform a test called an EMG to determine if you have nerve damage. It is important to have your own doctor perform this test, because the results can be read in different ways.
Q. Is a repetitive strain injury at work covered by workers’ comp?
A. In Michigan, a repetitive strain injury at work is covered by workers’ comp which is a no-fault system meaning you do not have to show that your employer is at fault for your injuries.
These injuries frequently require surgery and time off to recover. You should receive appropriate medical treatment and wage loss benefits if you cannot work. You may also need vocational rehabilitation to help you get into another career that does not require repetitive movements.
We recently helped an individual from Romulus, Michigan, who developed severe injuries to his arms and elbows from operating a high pressure water sprayer. He was in his twenties and only worked for a couple of years. The employer disputed workers compensation benefits because they could not accept the fact that he suffered an injury in such a short time. He required multiple surgeries and was never able to return to physical work with his arms. We scheduled the deposition of his doctor and showed that even minimal exposure to repetitive actions can cause serious injury. We were able to settle his case for a significant sum of money.
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Do not let your employer or the insurance company play games with your claims and benefits. An experienced lawyer can protect your legal rights and make sure that you get appropriate medical care.
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