Workers’ Compensation for Repetitive Trauma Injuries
Repetitive trauma is not caused by one specific event, but instead occurs gradually over time, as the result of repetitive motion, strain, or pressure on a particular body part. As such, many employees filing for Workers’ Compensation for repetitive trauma injuries worry that it may be difficult to prove their injury was caused by workplace conditions, since they cannot pinpoint any one specific event as its cause.
Despite the confusion over whether or not repetitive trauma qualifies for Workers’ Compensation, it’s an increasingly common workplace injury. It’s often diagnosed in individuals whose workday involves heavy computer use, or who develop repetitive motion injuries caused from working in manufacturing facilities or in other jobs that require employees to perform the same motion over and over throughout their day.
Bluestein Attorneys is ready to help you with your Workers’ Compensation claim.
Repetitive Trauma Injuries Can Be Covered By Workers’ Compensation
Under South Carolina law, a repetitive trauma injury is defined as “an injury that is gradual in onset and caused by the cumulative effects of repetitive traumatic events”, and can be covered under South Carolina Workers’ Compensation (see: S.C. Code Ann. § 42-1-172.)
Under S.C. law, an injury is not considered a compensable repetitive motion injury unless the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner makes a specific finding of fact that medical evidence establishes a causal connection between repetitive activities occurred in the regular duties of a workday and the eventual injury.
What Kinds of Medical Evidence Can Prove Repetitive Trauma Injury?
Finding a causal connection can be complex, and medical evidence must be presented by expert opinion or testimony and state to a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the connection is present.
This can include documentation of visits to medical professionals over time, records of diagnosis and treatment, or other material offered by a licensed, qualified medical physician.
The physician must state that an employee’s repetitive trauma injury was caused by his or her job duties.
How Many Workers’ Compensation Claims Are Filed for Repetitive Trauma?
One in eight American workers has been diagnosed with some variation on a repetitive trauma injury. With increasing reliance on computers in the workplace, repetitive trauma injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome will likely increase and make up an even larger share of Workers’ Compensation claims in South Carolina in the future.
Without proper treatment, even seemingly mild repetitive motion injuries can result in permanent and debilitating pain, affecting your ability to maintain employment and even to engage in regular daily activities.
Any South Carolina worker suffering from repetitive trauma injuries should seek medical treatment, and if your repetitive motion injury has been caused by workplace conditions, filing for Workers’ Compensation can help to recoup the costs of your treatment and recovery.
Is There a Deadline for Filing for Workers’ Compensation for Repetitive Trauma Injury?
Notice of the injury or condition must be given by the employee within 90 days of the date the employee discovered, or could have reasonably discovered, that his or her condition is compensable. There are certain mitigating circumstances that may allow for a longer period of time, but regardless of circumstances, employees should file for Workers’ Compensation and give notice of their injury as quickly as possible.
In order to recover compensation, a claim must be filed within the commission within 2 years after the employee knew (or should have known) that the injury was compensable. It must also be filed no more than seven years also the last date of exposure to injury-causing conditions, regardless of the employee’s awareness that the injury was the result of his or her employment.
These standards are strictly maintained. If you are suffering from a repetitive trauma injury in SC and are considering filing for Workers’ Compensation, it is worth taking the time to meet with a legal representative to learn more about these guidelines.
Find Legal Assistance With Workers’ Compensation for Repetitive Motion Injuries
Repetitive trauma claims can be difficult to prove, as the injury only develops gradually and it may not be immediately apparent that it is connected to workplace conditions or duties.
Bluestein Attorneys has Workers’ Compensation attorneys with experience handling repetitive trauma injury claims, and we’d be happy to sit down with you and look over your unique situation. We’ll get to know you and your family and how your injury has affected your daily life, then work with you to decide the next best step for you.
To request your free Workers’ Compensation consultation, give Bluestein Attorneys a call at (803) 779-7599 or fill out the form.