Jerome, Salmi & Kopis, LLC – Law Firm in Fairview Heights, IL

Repetitive Motion Injuries in Missouri | Do You Qualify for Workers’ Comp? 

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According to the Missouri Workers’ Compensation law, a repetitive motion injury occurs when the body is continuously stressed over an extended period, with symptoms appearing gradually. Although preventable with ergonomics or tailoring a job to an individual, this is still among the most common workplace injuries. In Missouri, such injuries can be work-related if it can be shown that work activities are “the prevailing factor” in bringing about the resulting medical condition.

If you find yourself in this position, it is possible to receive workers’ compensation. You will need to meet the eligibility requirements, and you should also know how to file for workers’ compensation benefits. Contact Jerome, Salmi & Kopis, LLC, today for help filing your compensation claim.

Jobs Most at Risk for Repetitive Motion Injuries

Many think of repetitive motion injury as being related to computer work. Vocations that frequently use a keyboard, or mouse can create repetitive motion injuries to the hands, wrists, and arms are common. Further, non-ergonomic work-stations at work or home can increase the likelihood of repetitive motion injuries due to the awkward positioning of the hands and arms while performing work activities.

Repetitive motion injuries (RMI) is an umbrella term describing injuries caused by repeated usage of any body part. This can include injuries to the hands, elbows, knees, shoulders, or ankles. Injuries of this nature can occur if you engage in work activities that require the repetitive movements of a body part, eventually leading to an over-use and breakdown of that body part.

RMI can also result from various job duties that call for frequent lifting and carrying, repeated micro-movements, vibrating machinery, or awkward postures. Other high-risk vocations for RSIs include:

  • Assembly line workers
  • Distribution personnel
  • Over-the-road truck drivers
  • Nurses and medical assistants
  • Cleaners
  • Store and grocery clerks
  • Delivery personnel
  • Firefighters
  • Musicians
  • Electricians
  • Pipefitters and plumbers
  • Employees in agriculture and the meat industry

Symptoms of Repetitive Motion Injuries

RMI can cause a breakdown in the body leading to symptoms that can be diagnosed as:

  • Lower back discomfort
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome
  • Bursitis
  • Tendonitis
  • Trigger fingers
  • Rotator cuff syndrome
  • Epicondylitis (also known as tennis elbow), and more.

In the injured region of the body, you may have one or more of the following symptoms: pain, ranging from soreness and dull aches to throbbing or severe pains; tingling; numbness; loss of strength or coordination; and restricted range of motion or flexibility.

You may only have mild symptoms early on. Many times the symptoms mainly occur while you are performing a particular work activity making it easy to identify the activity that is causing the symptoms. However, some conditions, such as carpal tunnel, have symptoms that worsen at night when you are resting, making it more difficult to connect your symptoms to your work activities. This is not unusual as the swelling associated with many over-use conditions manifest while your body is resting and trying to heal.

What to Do After Suffering Repetitive Motion Injuries

You must take specific actions to safeguard your claim:

  • Advise your employer: If you have developed symptoms of a possible RMI that you believe is due to your work activities, advise your employer in writing as soon as possible. Under Missouri law, your employer has the right to choose your treating doctor unless they abandon this right.
  • Obtain medical care: If your employer refuses to send you for medical care after you report a possible RMI, you are free to see your doctor to confirm the condition. When you meet with your doctor, have a detailed list of your work activities, including a list of any tools that you regularly use. After a thorough examination, have your doctor address whether you have a RMI as well as whether your work activities were “the prevailing factor” in bringing about the condition. The doctor must note it in your medical report as there must be documentation of these medical conclusions.
  • Keep a record: Repetitive motion injuries might take time to manifest. It can be easier to remember crucial data if you keep a log that includes when you first noticed symptoms as well as the activities that you believe brought about the symptoms.
  • Contact a worker’s compensation attorney: If you believe you have a RMI, you will undoubtedly need an attorney, as almost all such claims are denied initially. As a result, it is always a good idea to engage an experienced workers’ compensation attorney with Jerome, Salmi & Kopis.

Challenges of Workers’ Compensation & RMI Claims

Even though employees have the right to file a claim for compensation after suffering an RMI injury at work, these claims are complex to file because an RSI is often gradual. It is harder to prove an injury if you cannot identify a single incident that caused it. However, a skilled attorney at Jerome, Salmi & Kopis can manage the case and help you receive what you are entitled to.

Furthermore, the workers’ compensation insurance provider will often try to refute your claim by alleging that your work activities are not repetitive enough or that the activities were not “the prevailing factor” in bringing about the condition. That is why it is important to create a list of your job duties and describe them accurately to your doctor.

Another difficulty that can occur while submitting a workers’ compensation claim for RMI is the time constraints involved. Because RMI develops gradually over time, a worker may put off seeing a doctor or reporting the accident for some time if they feel some minor tingling or numbness in a body part. In Missouri, employees have just 30 days to file a report. Fortunately, the timetable for filing a RMI does not traditionally begin until after you see a doctor and have been diagnosed with a medical condition.

Due to the complexity of filing a RMI, it is recommended that you talk with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. At the Law Office of Jerome Salmi & Kopis, LLC, our skilled attorneys can advise you of the law and how it applies to your workers’ compensation case, to help you claim the full benefits you need, and if necessary, appeal your case. Call us today at (618) 726-2222 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation and to learn more.

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