Repetitive stress injuries, or overuse injuries, are caused by frequent use of the same muscle group. Even small, seemingly harmless movements can cause a repetitive stress injury. Repetitive stress injuries are very common in the construction industry. At the Hartley Law Firm, we help construction workers suffering from repetitive stress injuries obtain workers’ compensation benefits. We are familiar with the challenges these cases pose and are prepared to help you overcome them.
Common Types of Repetitive Stress Injuries
Stress injuries often occur slowly over time, making them difficult to identify and diagnose. As a general rule, most repetitive stress injuries are the result of a construction worker making the same movements day in and day out. Below are some of the most common repetitive stress injuries in construction work:
- Rotator cuff injuries,
- Ulnar tunnel syndrome,
- Thoracic outlet syndrome,
- Bursitis, and
- Raynaud’s disease.
Of course, there are many other repetitive stress injuries construction workers often suffer from. If you are experiencing a repetitive stress injury, reach out to the Harley Law Firm to learn more about your options. We can help you submit a compelling claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
What Causes Repetitive Stress Injuries in Construction Work?
The following situations put construction workers at greater risk of developing a repetitive stress injury:
- Lifting awkwardly shaped objects,
- Lifting heavy objects,
- Lifting objects with uneven weight distribution,
- Making the same movements over and over again,
- Performing forceful movements,
- Using poorly designed equipment,
- Using vibrating tools or equipment,
- Working in an awkward posture, and
- Working too long without a break.
If you developed a repetitive stress injury, do not give up hope; you may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
Receiving Workers’ Compensation Benefits After a Repetitive Stress Injury
Texas workers’ compensation law allows injured construction workers to obtain medical and income benefits after suffering a qualifying workplace injury. Repetitive stress injuries can qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. However, claims based on a repetitive stress injury are typically harder to prove than other types of workers’ comp claims. That’s why it helps to have a basic understanding of how Texas workers’ compensation laws operate.
If your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance, you don’t need to prove that someone else was responsible for their injuries. However, construction workers still need to prove that their injuries were related to their job. For example, if you fell from scaffolding while working on a construction site, few would argue that your injuries were related to your job. However, repetitive stress injuries are a little different because they develop over time and not as a result of a single incident.
For example, employers and their workers’ compensation insurance carriers may deny a workers’ compensation claim by arguing that a construction worker’s injuries were unrelated to their employment. Alternatively, the insurance company may deny a claim if it believes the injury was pre-existing. Keep in mind that the burden to prove that a repetitive stress injury was related to a worker’s employment rests with the worker. Thus, if you cannot convince your employer or their insurance company that this is the case, they will likely deny your claim.
Can You Appeal Denied Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Yes, construction workers who were denied benefits after a repetitive stress injury can appeal the insurance company’s decision.
The first step to revisiting a denial is to reach out to the insurance company in hopes of convincing it to approve your claim. If this is unsuccessful, you can then request a benefit review conference. At this conference, you and your attorney meet with a Division of Workers’ Compensation benefit review officer to discuss the dispute. If you don’t reach an agreement, you can request a formal meeting called a contested case hearing.
A contested case hearing is a formal hearing in front of a Division of Workers’ Compensation administrative law judge. If the judge issues an unfavorable decision, you can then request an appeal in front of the Division of Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel. Finally, if the Appeal Panel rules against you, you must file a legal case in court seeking to compel the insurance company to pay benefits.
The workers’ compensation appeals process in Texas is complex. Thus, the assistance of a skilled lawyer is highly recommended.
Learn More About What Are the Most Common Types of Repetitive Stress Injuries Caused by Construction Work
If you or a loved one recently suffered serious injuries in a construction site accident, reach out to the dedicated construction accident lawyers at the Hartley Law Firm. We proudly pursue workers’ compensation benefits on behalf of our clients, helping them get back to work and move on with their lives. Attorney Austin Hartley is a life-long Texas resident who knows what’s important to his fellow Texans and prioritizes the needs of each client he serves. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation. You can also connect with us through our online contact form.