I Have a Repetitive Strain Injury. Can Workers’ Comp Help Me?
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I Have a Repetitive Strain Injury. Can Workers’ Comp Help Me?

Workers’ compensation benefits cover employees who suffer many different kinds of injuries related to work. If you have been diagnosed with a repetitive strain or repetitive motion injury, you probably have questions about making a workers’ compensation claim.

Can You Receive Workers’ Comp Benefits for Repetitive Strain?

Yes, if your repetitive strain injury occurred in the course of your employment. (Minn. Stat. § 176.011, subd. 16.) For example, using a computer mouse all day can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Workers who perform repetitive movements to perform their jobs often get repetitive strain injuries.

When Should You Report a Repetitive Strain Injury?

In general, you should report your repetitive injury to your employer as soon as possible. In most cases this means as soon as you learn of it, or as soon as you are diagnosed with the injury by a doctor. The workers’ compensation laws in Minnesota do have restrictions on how long you can wait before reporting an injury, to be discussed in a future blog. If you have an injury that has occurred over time, however, usually the first time you can report it is the first time you know about it.

What If a Non-Work Injury Contributed to the Repetitive Strain?

Some workers first hurt themselves on personal time, then suffer further repetitive injuries at work to the same body part. For example, someone could throw out his back doing housework, then after repeatedly bending over to lift boxes at work, throw out his back again years later. Minnesota workers can receive workers’ compensation benefits for aggravations of pre-existing injuries, as long as work duties were a substantial contributing factor to the current injury. (Vanda v. Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Co., 218 N.W.2d 458 (1974); Gillette v. Harold, Inc., 101 N.W. (2d) 200 (1960).)

What If You Cannot Perform Your Job Without Doing the Repetitive Motion?

If you cannot perform your job duties without doing the repetitive motion that led to your injury, the workers’ compensation system can help you. You may be able to receive paid medical care, temporary total or partial disability benefits to replace lost wages, and vocational services while you heal. Workers who cannot return to their former positions may be placed in a different position with the same employer or receive services from a Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant leading to a new job.

Need help getting workers’ compensation for your injury? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.