Anytime a worker develops a medical condition caused by their job, they may be able to apply for workers’ compensation benefits. Employers typically provide coverage for everyone, including part-time workers and new hires, that will cover their medical costs if they get hurt at work or diagnosed with a medical condition directly related to their employment.
Repetitive stress injuries are among the more common reasons that workers need medical support and disability coverage. Despite theoretically qualifying for workers’ compensation benefits, repetitive stress injuries often result in complicated claims. Why do repetitive stress injuries sometimes lead to more challenging benefits claims than usual?
There is no immediately perceivable direct cause for the condition
If someone breaks a bone, they will typically be a single precipitating incident that they can blame for their injury. When someone slowly develops a medical condition because of performing the same job function for years, there can be more of a question about whether outside factors may have caused or contributed to their condition. Workers may need to talk at length with a doctor so that they understand how the symptoms relate to their job responsibilities.
Workers may not make a full recovery
The unfortunate truth about repetitive stress injuries is that they often cause permanent functional limitations for the affected worker. They may never be able to continue doing the same work at the same that their employer expected them to maintain, as such work would undoubtedly exacerbate their symptoms. Instead, workers may only be able to achieve maximum medical improvement, not a full recovery, which will mean they will always have some functional limitations and lingering symptoms. There may be disagreements about continuing treatment and when a worker is ready to return to work.
Workers may require permanent benefits
Given that an employee may not be able to return to the same job with the same performance, they may eventually need to accept lower-paid employment at another company or a lower-compensated position with the same employer. In either scenario, they may need to pursue benefits based on their long-term reduced earning potential caused by their physical limitations.
More complicated and expensive claims can be more of a challenge for workers to manage. Discussing a work-related medical condition with an attorney may be a smart move for those who need to maximize their benefits when pursuing a workers’ compensation claim.