If you have engaged in similar work for a number of years and develop a repetitive motion injury or repetitive strain injury that prevents you from working, can you be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits? While some states do not permit employees to seek workers’ compensation benefits for repetitive motion injuries, Ohio employees in general can be eligible to seek workers’ comp benefits for these types of injuries by filing an occupational disease (OD) claim under Ohio law (ORC 4123.01(F)).
While you might not immediately think of a repetitive strain injury as an occupational disease, an injury that results from “physical movement in constant repetition” may qualify. We want to tell you more about repetitive motion injuries and workers’ comp claims in Ohio.
What are Repetitive Motion and Repetitive Strain Injuries?
According to WebMD, repetitive motion injuries are some of the most common injuries that occur both inside and outside of the workplace. Indeed, these injuries “result in huge losses in terms of cost to the workforce.” Repetitive motion injuries are frequently described as repetitive strain injuries or repetitive stress injuries—both abbreviated as RSIs—and sometimes are known as occupational overuse syndrome (OOS).
The two most common types of repetitive motion injuries are bursitis (inflammation of the bursa sac, such as your shoulder, elbow, or knee) and tendonitis (inflammation of a tendon). Often bursitis and tendonitis occur at the same time. While there are other causes of repetitive motion injuries, repetitive activity and overuse are the most common cause of a repetitive motion injury.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, RSIs frequently affect the nerves, muscles, and tendons in a person’s hand. For people who are required to use their hands in the same motions over and over again at work, carpal tunnel syndrome may develop. While this RSI certainly can occur in people who regularly use computers, it can also occur in people who perform other types of repetitive work. Repetitive stress injuries can also occur when a person’s hands are exposed to cold or vibration for prolonged periods of time.
Seeking Workers’ Compensation Benefits for a Repetitive Stress Injury
Ohio law expressly identifies “tenosynovitis and prepatellar bursitis” as occupational diseases that can qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. The statute explains that tenosynovitis is “characterized by a passive effusion or crepitus into the tendon sheath of the flexor or extensor muscles of the hand, due to frequently repetitive motions or vibrations, or prepatellar bursitis due to continued pressure.”
To get benefits for an occupational disease, you must be able to provide the following three dates:
- When the condition was first diagnosed as an occupational disease;
- When you first received medical treatment for the condition; and
- When you first stopped working as a result of the condition.
Employees have two years after the start of the disability to file a workers’ compensation claim, or within six months after the date of diagnosis by a physician.
Contact an Ohio Workers’ Compensation Attorney
These particular types of claims can be difficult to prove. Indeed, an employee with a repetitive motion injury is only eligible to obtain workers’ comp benefits if that injury arose out of the employee’s job. In some cases this can be difficult to prove, and it is important to have an experienced Ohio workers’ compensation attorney on your side. Contact Nager, Romaine & Schneiberg, Co., LPA for more information.