Worker’s compensation laws can be confusing. Sometimes, it’s not even about what is or what is not mentioned in the text, but how you interpret these laws and put them into practice.
This can leave a lot of injured workers confused, as they try to figure out if their injuries are eligible or not. What’s worse, they may not even feel comfortable enough to ask their employer for clarification. While some injuries may be clearly eligible, like a slip and fall, others can fall in the grey category.
Case in point: wear and tear injuries. Are you covered?
What Are Wear and Tear Injuries?
Wear and tear injuries are also referred to as ‘repetitive stress’ injuries. They usually before because of long-term, repeated actions that place a strain on certain muscles or areas of your body.
For instance, people who work in an office environment where they use a mouse for a computer can develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which is a condition that leads to numbness or tingling in the hand and arm. Using your hands the same way for hours on end places pressure on the same nerves, muscles, and bones. Over time, these parts of your body can wear down.
Other types of wear and tear injuries can include:
- Knee and joint injuries
- Shoulder and rotator cuff injuries
- Spine, neck, and back injuries
- Pinched nerves
Are They Covered?
Missouri’s worker’s compensation laws do not exclude wear and tear injuries from eligibility. However, it may be difficult to prove your injury is work-related.
Repetitive stress injuries take a long time to show symptoms, and can sometimes be caused by multiple reasons. For instance, if you have a pinched nerve in your back, and at your work, you have to hold a specific position for a long time (like working at a desk), that could be the cause of your injury. But, if at home you also hold the same position, then the matters aren’t as clear, as both of these things can contribute to your injury.
Additionally, it’s all a matter of how you build your case. The insurance company cannot dismiss your worker’s comp case just because of the type of injury you have. They can do it, however, if they can prove the injury is not work-related.
Why You Should Speak With an Experienced Attorney
Though you are not required to hire a lawyer for your worker’s comp case, it is generally in your best interests to at least speak with one. Especially when it comes to injuries that may not as clearly be linked to your work activity, a workers’ compensation attorney can help you build a strong case and defend your rights.