Pennsylvania workers know that they have the right to workers' compensation benefits if they suffer injuries in a work-related accident. However, you may be unaware of your rights if you are suffering from a physical ailment that developed over time as a result of the duties required by your job.
Cumulative trauma injuries are painful injuries that result from damage done to nerves, tendons and ligaments over time. While unseen, they can be quite painful and debilitating, ultimately impacting a person's ability to perform everyday activities. If you received a diagnosis of one of these injuries, it could be because of your job, and therefore, you could have a rightful claim to certain benefits.
Types of cumulative trauma injuries
These types of injuries commonly happen in the upper extremities, typically caused by repeating the same motion over the course of months or years. Workers who lift, assemble, sit, stand, type or do other similar motions regularly are more susceptible to these types of injuries, which can include any of the following:
- Trigger finger
- Golfer's elbow
- Ganglion cyst
- Tennis elbow
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
Repetitive overuse is a serious risk for virtually any type of worker, but it is typical for workers, employers and even workers' compensation insurance providers to overlook and dismiss these injuries because they are unseen.
How does cumulative trauma occur?
You may be wondering how your injury developed without you knowing what was happening, or you may be unsure about what part of your job could have been the reason behind the injury. These injuries can happen for many reasons, but yours may relate to the following:
- Inexperience with a new task
- Lack of training for a new job, role or duty
- Improper supervision leading to improper posture or improper motions
- Broken equipment
- Doing the same tasks for months or years
You may still have a valid claim to benefits, even if you are unsure what factors led to your current physical condition. A complete case evaluation with an experienced attorney can determine if you should move forward with a workers' compensation claim or how to fight back if your claim came back denied.
If your injury is the result of your job, you have the right to medical care and other benefits. Protecting your rights after a diagnosis of a cumulative trauma injury can begin with a phone call to an experienced workers' compensation attorney. The claims process can be complicated, but you do not have to navigate it alone.