When people think of a workplace injury, they often imagine a single accident, such as a fall where an employee suffered a head injury. While these types of accidents do occur, many injuries that occur in the workplace are developed over time and result from minor and repetitive movements. These injuries are referred to as repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) and can cause employees a significant amount of pain and expense. Fortunately, RSIs are compensable under Illinois workers’ compensation laws, so if you recently suffered an injury while on the job, it is critical to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can protect your interests.
What is a Repetitive Injury?
Repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) are the result of simple motions that are repeated several times a day over a long period of time. Even when the movement is not complex or physically demanding, the combined effects of repeated action can take a serious toll on an employee’s health and ability to fulfill his or her duties. In fact, RSIs can leave workers in so much pain and with such limited mobility that they cannot perform simple functions or complete daily tasks, such as raising their arm or bending over. RSIs occur at an alarming rate and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) even estimates that there are as many as 100 types of work-related conditions caused by sustained wear and tear.
How are Repetitive Injuries Compensated?
RSIs are compensable under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act as long as the injured employee can clearly demonstrate that an RSI was caused by the specific demands of his or her job. Once these conditions have been met, the injured party may be able to receive:
- Disability benefits;
- Coverage for medical expenses; and
- A settlement for permanent injuries.
Qualifying employees receive 2/3 of their average weekly wage in benefit checks. If an employee is eventually able to complete lighter duty work without exacerbating the injury, he or she will still be able to receive 2/3 of the difference between what he or she makes in a new position and what he or she would be making if the injury had not occurred.
Steps to Compensate RSIs
In order to collect compensation for an RSI, employees must notify their employers within 45 days of discovering the injury. The employee should also immediately make an appointment with a doctor to whom he or she should provide specific information about:
- His or her employment;
- The length of time that he or she has filled that position; and
- The physical duties required of the job.
This information can help a medical professional provide an accurate diagnosis and also suggest a treatment plan. A doctor’s opinion also makes it much more difficult for an employer to argue that an injury was not caused by work-related activities. If an insurer denies a claim, the injured worker has the right to file an appeal with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Contact an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
RSIs can be just as painful and debilitating as injuries suffered in one-time accidents, so if you have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome or another type of repetitive motion injury, please contact Tuite Law today at (815) 965-5777 to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a dedicated workers’ compensation attorney who can evaluate your case.