Being injured at work does not necessarily require a single traumatic incident. Many injuries can be created over time due to the repetitive nature of the work performed. These types of injuries are known as repetitive stress injuries (RSI).
Repetitive stress injuries in the workplace are covered by WorkCover, also known as workers’ compensation. An employee who is experiencing pain or an ongoing inability to perform their job duties, due to repetitive movements, can file an RSI workers compensation claim, with the help of a workers compensation lawyer. So, if you’re wondering how to get work injury damages that you may be entitled to, when it comes to repetitive strain injuries, keep reading.
What can cause repetitive stress injuries?
Before you make a personal injury claim, you need to understand what types of symptom or diagnosis qualifies as repetitive stress injuries.
RSIs in the workplace are derived from doing a particular motion on a regular basis every day, for example:
- Pulling industrial levers
- Heavy lifting
- Bending from the knees or back
- Gripping tools
- A host of other types of activities that are often done in a repetitive manner for several hours per day
What qualifies as a repetitive stress injury?
A repetitive stress injury can include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Degenerative knee conditions
- Tennis elbow
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Thoracic outlet syndrome
- Neck pain
Symptoms of a repetitive stress injury
While pain can be different for all people, there are some definite characteristics with repetitive stress injuries. These can include:
- Area or site tenderness
- Continual pain and discomfort while performing the activity
How do you prove RSI is work related?
Initially, you must take two important steps:
- You must give notice to your employer that you believe you have been injured on the job;
- You must be able to present medical evidence of the same
In addition, you will need to see a physician and give them an accurate history of:
- The type of work you do
- The repetitive nature of your work
- The physical performance required of you in your work
- The frequency of the repetitive motions
- The type of pain you are experiencing
The physician must then make a medical determination as to whether there is a relationship between the work related activities you have described and the symptoms and injury you are presenting with. The medical evidence then must be supplied to your employer as a means of verifying your injury and in turn your workers injury compensation claim.
How do you file an RSI compensation claim?
There are three steps that must take place in the process of filing for an RSI compensation claim under WorkCover. These include:
- Notifying your employer that you are injured
- Obtaining medical evidence from your physician
- Providing the medical evidence to your employer
There are also steps the employer must take. These include:
- Notifying their WorkCover insurance carrier of the injury
- Providing the insurance carrier with the details of how the injury occurred
- Providing the carrier with any additional information they need, such as contact information to investigate the claim
Are all claims automatically covered under WorkCover?
Not all claims for RSI will automatically be accepted as work-related injuries and covered by your employer’s insurance carrier.
If the employer or the insurance carrier believes that there could be other causes for your injury, or even other outside contributing factors, they can deny your claim and begin an investigative process.
So, if you are unable to work, this could cause a delay in receiving any work related benefits including salary replacement monies. However, if you have substantiated your claim via medical evidence, it is more likely than not that the employer and the insurance company will accept your claim.
How is the loss of working capacity measured for repetitive stress injuries in the workplace?
In measuring lost earning capacity, your worker’s compensation attorney will look at your earning capacity and physical capabilities prior to the injury.
The next calculation will be a determination of the difference between what you were able to do prior to the injury, and what you are currently capable of performing. If you can only perform your job duties for half of your usual day, then you will receive benefits that are commensurate with what you would have earned, if you were able to complete a full day. Your ongoing benefits will be calculated in accordance with the changes in your physical abilities and your increasing, or decreasing, ability to perform your job duties.
Seek Help from a Worker’s Compensation Lawyer
While no one wants to be injured on the job, it does happen. And, as such, the faster you act by giving your employer notice of the injury and medical evidence to support your ongoing disability, the quicker you will receive benefits and medical attention that can start you on the road to a full recovery.
If you find yourself in need of assistance with a common law claim for repetitive stress injuries in the workplace,, please contact At Owen Hodge, we are always happy to assist clients with all types of workers compensation, from eye injury compensation and head injury compensation to stress-related compensation. . Please feel free to call our personal injury lawyers at your earliest convenience to schedule a consultation at 1800 770 780.
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Frequently asked questions
It will depend on the severity of your repetitive strain injury and the specific working conditions for your situation.
Under the RSI Health and Safety at Work Act, all employers must address the risks related to specific activities that can result in repetitive strain injuries.
Yes, repetitive strain injury is considered a disability. Therefore, it’s important to formally report this type of injury to your employer as soon as possible.