Strain Injuries in the Workplace
Thousands of U.S workers are injured on the job every day. Many of these injuries involve sudden, often serious incidents such as falls and equipment injuries. But, you may be surprised to learn just how widespread sprains and strains in the workplace are, and how much impact they have on the workforce.
Traveler’s Insurance, the largest workers’ compensation insurance carrier in the country, reported that about 30% of workplace injuries resulting in lost work time involves sprains, strains and tears. And, while sprains and strains may sound like minor injuries that require a heating pad and a day or two of light duty, the reality is very different. According to Traveler’s, this type of injury results in an average of 57 lost work days.
Most Strain Injuries Can Be Avoided
While the precautions necessary to avoid strain injuries differ by industry, there are nearly always measures you and your employer can take to minimize the chances of injury. Some examples include:
- Training and implementation of safe lifting practices
- Use of appropriate tools and supports to lift heavy objects
- Tandem lifting large or awkwardly-shaped items
- Use of ergonomic adaptations to relieve repetitive stress or pressure
Not all employers encourage safe practices or make appropriate equipment available, and many workers don’t bother with safety precautions or feel pressured to ignore best practices in order to work more quickly. Never risk an injury by cutting corners.
Repetitive Strain Injuries
Repetitive strain injuries present a special challenge for the injured worker, because they occur gradually over time. Unlike the strain injury a nurse in a hospital may suffer while helping to lift a patient or a warehouse employee may feel as he lifts a heavy box, repetitive strain injuries can’t be traced to a particular moment or event.
While this gradual onset may mean there isn’t one clear moment when you know you’ve been injured and it’s time to make a report, the general rule is the same—report as soon as possible.
Carpal tunnel syndrome, suffered by typists, cashiers, and others who engage in repetitive hand motions or work with bent wrists is the best-known type of repetitive strain injury (also called “repetitive stress injury”). However, there are a variety of other repetitive strain injuries common to certain types of workers. Some examples include:
- Ganglion cysts, caused in a similar way to carpal tunnel syndrome
- Tendinitis, caused by repetitive motion or working in an awkward position
- Epicondylitis, caused by rotation of the forearm
What to Do if You Suffer a Strain Injury at Work
Too often, workers ignore strain injuries, continuing to work through pain, stiffness, and other symptoms. And, many don’t consider this type of injury worth reporting. This can be a serious mistake.
First, continuing to work with a strain, sprain or tear injury can aggravate the injury, increasing the likelihood of serious damage and adding to recovery time. Second, failure to report the injury in a timely manner can make it difficult to pursue workers’ compensation benefits if you discover that you need medical care or require time away from work or need accommodation for work restrictions.
Any time you suffer an injury at work, even if it seems minor and likely to be short-lived, you’ll want to report the injury to your supervisor, human resources, or whomever your company has designated for reporting. Unlike some states, Massachusetts and New Hampshire are quite generous in the time allowed for an injured worker to provide notice to the employer and to file a workers’ compensation claim.
But, there are other risks associated with delay. If you don’t report the injury to your employer right away and you don’t seek medical attention promptly, it can be very difficult to prove that your injury was work-related. And, if your employer or the workers’ compensation carrier successfully argues that you made the injury worse by delaying treatment, you may not receive the full compensation you need to treat and recover from your injury.
Talk to a Work Injury Attorney
Workers’ compensation is supposed to provide a conflict-free path to benefits and necessary medical care for those injured on the job. Unfortunately, that path isn’t always smooth. Insurance carriers, even workers’ compensation carriers, are in business to make money. The less they pay out in claims, the greater their profits. That means their interests and yours won’t always line up.
If you are having trouble securing the medical care and you need to support yourself while you recover from a work injury or to supplement lower earnings while on restricted duty, help is available.
Attorney Kevin J. Broderick has devoted his career to helping people who have been injured through someone else’s fault. He understands how difficult and stressful the aftermath of a serious injury can be, and wants to make it as easy as possible for you to get the help you need.
You can schedule a free consultation right now to:
- Learn more about your rights and what to expect if you pursue a personal injury claim
- Get advice on how to protect your claim and avoid common missteps
- Get a general assessment of the type of damages that might be available in your case
The sooner you schedule your free consultation with an experienced strain injury lawyer you will be to protect yourself and your claim and pursue the compensation you deserve. You can start right now by calling 978-459-3085 or fill out the contact form on this site to get a free consultation. Even if you aren’t sure if you have a case, it is always better to call and ask.
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