Injuries Due to Repetitive Motion or Cumulative Trauma
Millions of workers each year will suffer from injuries that are not sudden or traumatic but rather develop gradually over time at work, during a course of repetitive action. Repetitive motion injuries, repetitive stress injuries, and cumulative trauma injuries are all terms used to describe injuries that occur over time from actions or exposures on the job. These injuries can have just as debilitating an affect as sudden, specific injuries, sometimes leaving the employee unable to perform his or her work tasks or even daily living activities.
Under Maine law, repetitive stress or cumulative trauma injuries are recognized in the state’s workers’ compensation system to the same extent as specific injury caused by a particular event. However, it can be more difficult for an employee to prove the repetitive motion injury arose out of and in the course of employment and that the employer was timely notified. As such, employees with cumulative trauma injuries often require the assistance of an experienced Maine workers’ compensation attorney to receive the benefits they deserve.Repetitive Jobs
Repetitive motion injuries can occur in any workplace, but those who are required to repeat the same motions over and over while at work are most likely to develop these injuries. Employees in the occupations listed below are more likely to develop a repetitive stress injury:
- Packing and shipping workers
- Secretaries or administrative assistances
- Bus drivers
- School teachers
- Janitors or custodians
- Fish processing workers
- Factory workers, including clothing and shoe factory employees
- Employees who are required to type on a daily basis
- Insulators, machinists, and others with injuries to their skin, lungs, or airways resulting from gradual exposure to harmful airborne substances
- Police officers and firemen who may experience psychological injury from cumulative emotional stress and trauma
There are several injuries commonly associated with repetitive motion and cumulative trauma in the workplace. These include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Hearing loss
- Back injuries
- Neck injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Degenerative disc disease
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Occupational asthma or lung disease
- Emotional injury
- Hand or wrist pain
- Knee injuries
All of the above injuries can have a debilitating impact on the employee, often resulting in substantial medical bills, the need for physical therapy, and missed work time.Receiving Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Repetitive Motion and Cumulative Trauma Injuries
Maine’s workers’ compensation system provides benefits for repetitive motion and cumulative trauma injuries arising in the workplace. Maine law requires that employees notify their supervisor within 30 days of the injury. For employees suffering from a repetitive stress injury, this notice requirement becomes more complex. Often, the employee will not experience pain or injury for several months or years. When the pain first develops, it is often gradual and worsens overtime.
An employee should report any repetitive motion or cumulative trauma injury as soon as they begin to experience pain that stems from performance of a work duty. The earlier you report this form of injury, the better for your case. Failure to report a repetitive motion injury within 30 days from when you knew or should have known about it will bar you from receiving workers’ compensation benefits.
Employees with repetitive motion injuries must also prove that the injury arose out of and in the course of employment. Unlike a sudden injury arising from a singular accident, repetitive stress injuries are harder to trace the origin of. An experienced Maine workers’ compensation attorney can help you overcome this hurdle.Maine Employee Rights Group: Zealous Representation of Employees with Repetitive Motion Injuries
The dedicated legal team at Maine Employee Rights Group zealously fights for maximum benefits for all employees injured on the job, including those who have experienced a repetitive motion or cumulative trauma injury. These workers’ compensation cases are among the toughest to win, but with our experienced team on your side you can rest assured that your best interests are being served. Call us today at 1 207.874.0905 to schedule an initial consultation.