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Can I Get Workers' Compensation for Repetitive Stress Injuries?


Although most workplace accidents are associated with a single defining incident, there are others that accumulate over a long period of time. Called “repetitive stress injuries” or RSIs, these overuse injuries result from constant repetitive motion, and they typically occur in the fingers, hands, or neck. Whether you’re a grocery store clerk, a barista, or a construction worker, you may be at risk of developing a painful repetitive stress injury on the job.

If you believe that you have the symptoms of an RSI, it’s possible that you can seek workers’ compensation benefits to cover the costs of your medical expenses and time off work. Our team at the Law Offices of Larry S. Buckley is dedicated to helping you navigate that process, as RSI claims are often denied at first.

Symptoms of RSIs

“Repetitive stress injury” refers to an entire category of physical ailments and conditions, from the more common culprits like carpal tunnel syndrome to “tennis elbow.” Whatever the nature of your RSI, however, these injuries are characterized by intense pain, feelings of numbness, and a host of other unpleasant symptoms that will make it difficult for you to work.

Here are some of the most common symptoms:

  • Cramps and twitching
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Loss of dexterity
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Pain, from sharp stab to a dull ache
  • Tenderness and soreness
  • Reduced strength

At first, an RSI only flares up when you’re performing the exact repetitive motion that caused the injury. Because this form of ailment can take a while to develop, it may be several weeks or months before you notice that it has become a constant pain. If left untreated for too long, RSIs can become nearly constant, and limit your ability to participate in daily activities – let alone work in the same role as before.

Does Workers’ Comp Cover RSIs?

Typically, when filing a workers’ compensation claim, you will need to have exact incident dates to share with your employer. Because of the long-term nature of an RSI, however, you will need to rely on your medical record with your doctor. That’s why it’s imperative that you contact your physician as soon as you start showing symptoms of an RSI: Aside from helping you heal faster, the doctor can help you legally establish when your symptoms started.

In the state of California, you can seek a workers’ compensation claim for “cumulative trauma,” another term for an RSI. Under state law, this is defined as a series of movements and events that, when combined, can lead to an injury. The statute of limitations for bringing a cumulative trauma claim is only 1 year. But because it takes some people several years to discover the injury – and to discover that it was caused by their job – you will not be considered responsible for notifying your employer until the injury has actually been discovered.

Seasoned Assistance for Your Workers’ Comp Claim

Whether your RSI has only just started to manifest or has been bothering you after your job ends, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits from your employer. At the Law Offices of Larry S. Buckley, we can walk you through all the legal options and seek out maximum benefits on your behalf. It’s our primary goal to ensure that you have the time, means, and resources to rest and recover. Let our experienced attorneys advocate for you during the workers’ compensation process.

Call (530) 413-0245 for more information about our legal services in Northern California!

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