Most workers understand that they should consider filing a workers' compensation claim any time that they receive an injury on the job, to cover medical expenses and lost income during recovery. However, if a work-related injury occurs over time, the injured worker may be reluctant to file a claim out of fear that their employer may deny the claim. They may also hold out because they are used to living with the injury, or for a number of other reasons.
Many workers may incorrectly believe that repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome do not justify a workers' compensation claim. In reality, these make up roughly one-fifth of all workplace injuries. If you believe that your own repetitive stress injury is work-related, then you should certainly look at all the legal options you have to help you obtain full compensation for your expenses and losses during treatment and recovery.
Filing a repetitive stress injury claim
Because repetitive stress injuries build up over time, it is not always easy to identify what exactly causes them. Many workers may find that their current work environment or the tasks they perform aggravates an injury from a previous job. They may believe this means they cannot file a claim for workers' compensation.
It is true that insurers typically refuse to cover pre-existing injuries, including those caused by a previous job. However, the insurer still has an obligation to address the harm that a worker suffers in their current job, if that job makes the injury worse.
If, for instance, an employee of a factory developed bursitis or carpal tunnel syndrome while working another job many years ago, workers' compensation should still cover treatment for the injury if working on the line in the factory exacerbates the old injury. It is very important for injured workers to understand how to approach such a claim, so that the insurer does not have grounds to dismiss it and deny them coverage.
Protecting your rights during recovery
Unfortunately, insurers often look for any grounds at all to deny a claim, so it is important to use all the tools one has to navigate the claims process effectively. Before you file, make sure that you have a firm grasp on building your claim and filing it properly. This way, the insurer cannot disqualify it on technical grounds and it will ensure you receive all the compensation that you truly deserve.
A strong claim may take some time to build. Use high-quality legal resources to assist you in keeping your rights secure while you seek the treatment you need to recover fully from your repetitive stress injury.