Can I Get Workers’ Compensation for a Repetitive Trauma Injury?

David Monteleone
Illinois Accident and Wrongful Death Lawyer

  Posted  |  Category : Workers Compensation Attorney

Workers' Compensation AttorneySudden trauma injuries, mostly falls, account for many of the workers’ compensation claims in Illinois. Repetitive trauma injuries (RTI) account for many claims as well. Much like occupational diseases, such as breathing problems and toxic exposure, RTIs occur slowly over time.

Many people think only modern, blue-collar workers are susceptible to RTIs. But the first reports of injuries date back to the early 1700s. Clerks and musicians made up most of these early RTI victims.

If the work environment caused or contributed to the RTI, a Rockford workers’ compensation lawyer is normally able to obtain compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills and lost wages. Since workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, employer negligence, or the lack thereof, is irrelevant.

Blue-Collar Workers

Everyone bends, kneels, and stoops occasionally. These movements are not painful or damaging. Over time, these movements place additional pressure on shoulders, ankles, knees, and other joints. That’s especially true if, as is usually the case, the victim was lifting boxes or other heavy objects while moving unnaturally.

To prevent such injuries, employers should provide safety equipment and tell workers how to use the equipment. However, one or both things does not happen, or at least does not happen effectively. Many blue-collar workers – particularly construction workers, are Limited English Proficiency (LEP) workers.

LEP individuals do not always understand safety instructions. If the instructions are interpreted, items often get lost in translation. Since the construction industry is so competitive, many employers see safety courses as frivolous.

White Collar Workers

Office workers often suffer more falls than blue-collar workers. Incidents like tripping over open drawers or loose carpet are quite common.

Similarly, office workers often suffer more RTIs than blue-collar workers. However, their injuries are different, from both a medical and legal standpoint.

Computer eyestrain is a good example. Many workers spend most of the day looking at computer screens. The blue light these screens emit is particularly hard on eyesight. Making matters worse, most workers have little control over the light in the room and other environmental conditions.

Most office workers do not see eye doctors the moment their eyes ache or their vision blurs. In fact, by the time a doctor accurately diagnoses the condition as work-related eyestrain, the workers’ compensation claims deadline has usually passed.

A variation of the discovery rule protects these victims. Typically, job injury victims, including RTI victims, need not report their injuries until they know the full extent of damage and they connect that damage with a work-related condition.

Additionally, most people do not just look at computer screens during work hours. The average American spends a lot of time using a cellphone and exploring social media sites. Such viewing can contribute to computer vision syndrome.

Typically, non-work-related conditions do not affect workers’ compensation claims. An attorney must only show the non-work condition made the work-related condition worse, as opposed to the other way around.

Connect with an Aggressive Attorney

RTI victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced Rockford personal injury lawyer, contact Fisk & Monteleone, Ltd. We routinely handle matters in Winnebago County and nearby jurisdictions.