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Can workers’ comp help those with repetitive motion injuries?

On Behalf of | Mar 8, 2024 | Workers' Compensation

The average employee in Illinois has protection from on-the-job injuries. Businesses generally need to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage for every direct hire employee that they have on staff. If a worker ends up hurt due to a piece of equipment malfunctioning or a fall while performing their job, they can file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.

Workers’ compensation benefits are useful for injured workers because they provide full medical coverage. Employees without insurance and those with large deductibles on their insurance policies don’t have to worry about paying out of pocket to receive the care they require. If their injuries are bad enough to keep them from working, they could also obtain disability benefits that replace some of their income.

Workers often feel comfortable seeking benefits after a specific precipitating incident leads to an injury. Can Illinois employees qualify for benefits if they slowly develop symptoms because of repetitive motions on the job?

Work-acquired health conditions can qualify too

Contrary to what many people assume, a worker does not need proof that they got hurt during a specific incident to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. They simply need evidence that establishes their work as the underlying cause of their symptoms. For example, repetitive job motions, such as gripping tools for hours, holding onto a steering wheel or typing all day could cause repetitive strain injuries to a worker’s body. These injuries slowly develop over many months or years and may affect someone’s strength and range of motion.

Repetitive strain injuries often cause chronic pain. If the injury progresses too much, it may become too painful or too dangerous for a worker to perform their standard job functions. So long as a medical professional agrees with the assertion that someone’s job caused their condition, they may be eligible for benefits.

Why reporting the issue is necessary

If someone uses their own health insurance to see their doctor and get diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome or another repetitive strain disorder, they might feel compelled to continue using their own health insurance instead of reporting the matter to their employer. There are several issues with this solution, including the costs the worker may have to absorb.

A worker may benefit from communicating with their employer about their condition. They could receive accommodations ranging from a change of job responsibilities to assistive technology that could help them perform their job with reduced pain or stress on their body. Additionally, if a worker requires time away from work for their body to recover from repetitive strain, workers’ compensation can provide them with disability benefits instead of the worker using their paid leave.

Connecting a medical condition to repetitive motions on the job could help someone pursue Illinois workers’ compensation benefits for their treatment and lost wages. Seeking legal guidance can help workers to better ensure that their claim isn’t dismissed as a chronic condition caused by non-work factors.