Stability in your career is something to aspire to. When you reach a point where you can manage your job responsibilities and optimize your work performance, it can make you feel like a competent professional. Regardless of whether you file taxes, are a clerk for an attorney, manufacture components or drive for a living, doing your job well can be a source of personal pride.
Unfortunately, many years of doing the same work every single day could leave you at risk for debilitating injuries. These injuries, known as repetitive motion or repetitive strain injuries, develop over time as a result of performing the same task repeatedly. In some cases, repetitive motion injuries can be serious enough to end someone's position in a company.
Repetitive motion injuries are a form of cumulative trauma
When most people think about workers' compensation benefits, they imagine people injured in catastrophic accidents. Workers' compensation protects those involved in serious workplace incidents, but it also applies to people who acquired diseases or injuries over time as a result of their jobs.
From asbestos exposure, which can take decades to progress into illnesses, to cumulative trauma due to repetitive work, workers' compensation will also cover employees who acquire injuries or illnesses over a long period of time. Cumulative trauma, which builds up over time, can result from any kind of work, from lifting or manipulating parts to filing and typing at a keyboard.
Just because there is no single event that led to your injury doesn't mean that you don't qualify for workers' compensation benefits. It means that you will need to establish that the nature of your repetitive stress injury is a direct result of the job that you perform at work. Medical professionals familiar with repetitive strain injuries can typically include this kind of information in their diagnostic reports.
Workers' compensation can help while you rest and recover
Many times, the only way to treat cumulative trauma is a combination of rest and physical therapy. Workers' compensation can provide both medical benefits for the treatment of a condition and disability payments while a worker is unable to do their job.
In some cases, including repetitive motion injuries that could end someone's career, workers' compensation can involve job retraining benefits to help the injured worker find a similar level of income in a new line of work.
Filing a workers' compensation claim can be complicated, and sometimes you want help. Other times, you may worry that your employer will attempt to terminate you for seeking benefits or asking for different responsibilities to allow your injury to rest.
If you are concerned about standing up for your rights, you should consult with an attorney who understands workers' compensation law in New Jersey. From helping you avoid employer retaliation, which is illegal, to aiding in the benefit application process, an attorney who understands workers' compensation can help you navigate the complex road to benefits.