As office computer use increased in the 1990s, so did workers’ compensation claims for repetitive motion injuries often related to extensive keyboard usage. However, the use of smartphones and other personal devices mean that some people engage in repetitive motion behavior outside the workplace. In today’s environment, how does the law determine what exactly is work related?
In evaluating a repetitive stress injury (RSI) claim, several factors can come into play, including:
- Work duties and time on the job — West Virginia recognizes several occupations where workers are at a high risk due to tasks that require an extraordinary amount of typing, strong grips or awkward positioning. Diagnoses of RSI are grounded in physical motion that occurs over a period of years. Someone who has not been working at the specific job for very long likely does not have a job-related RSI.
- Medical testimony — Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome and other RSIs are associated with various types of conditions that have nothing to do with work activities. A thorough medical review can detect the true case of the claimant’s nerve pain.
- Factual background — Examining a person’s conduct inside and outside of work might lead to important information concerning the person’s limitations and possible alternative explanations for their physical problems.
Unlike some other injuries or illnesses, RSIs can be difficult to discern and might take a long time to report. By taking a comprehensive approach both before and after the incident is reported, workers’ compensation insurers can obtain the information necessary to defeat unwarranted claims.
Pullin, Fowler, Flanagan, Brown & Poe, PLLC provides diligent workers’ compensation defense representation in West Virginia and Ohio. To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys, call 304-344-0100 or contact us online.