Many jobs require that a worker or employee make the same movement over and over again. A physical therapist may need to assist patients in performing exercises that require bending and stooping by the physical therapist all day long. After years or even decades of performing these same repetitive movements, the physical therapist’s back could eventually become injured or impaired as a result. Similarly, someone who worked in construction his or her whole life may no longer be able to work in construction anymore at some point because of back, shoulder or arm problems that were caused due to the heavy lifting and frequent stooping and bending required in construction jobs. Repetitive motion injuries (sometimes also called cumulative trauma or repetitive stress injuries) can be just as severe as those that an injured worker may suffer in a traumatic workplace incident like having machinery fall on you and crushing a limb.
Unfortunately, Virginia law does not permit injured workers to recover for repetitive motion injuries under the Virginia Worker’s Compensation Act except for (1) hearing loss or (2) carpal tunnel syndrome. However, given that Virginia law does not permit compensation in repetitive motion injuries suffered as a result of performance of workplace duties, there are specific strategies that the experienced attorneys at Kalfus & Nachman have learned over our years of representing the victims of workplace injuries in Virginia that can result in a successful worker’s compensation claim for such claims and claimants.
Virginia Worker’s Compensation Law regarding Repetitive Motion Injuries
Unfortunately, worker’s compensation coverage for repetitive motion injuries is fairly limited in Virginia. Virginia’s Supreme Court has specifically considered this issue and determined repetitive motion injuries are not covered under the Virginia Worker’s Compensation Act as “occupational injuries” that fall within the category of what would be considered as a compensable injury under that Act. The Virginia Legislature nevertheless took action to provide that the Virginia Worker’s Compensation Act could provide compensation for (1) carpal tunnel syndrome and (2) hearing loss which were repetitive injuries in nature. Virginia is the only state in which this is the case.
Therefore, the first thing that you can expect if you suffer a back or other type of injury at work that may be caused by repetitive motions required by your job is that your employer and/or its worker’s compensation carrier may deny your worker’s compensation claim and argue that you suffered the injury not suddenly and severely, which would be covered under the Virginia Worker’s Compensation Act, but gradually and as a result of a repetitive motion. This is particularly true if you report that there was no specific incident that resulted in your back going out or the symptoms you are experiencing, but you instead began to experience it several yeas ago and it has slowly worsened over time. If, in contrast, you report that you were assisting in lifting a heavy steel beam one day on a construction site and heard a “pop” followed by a sharp pain, and then were suddenly unable to move your arm past your shoulder, this may be covered under Virginia worker’s compensation laws and is more likely to be approved.
Protect Your Rights by Retaining an Experienced Virginia Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you have suffered a workplace injury in Virginia, then worker’s compensation coverage exists to compensate you for the damages that you suffer as a result of those injuries. This includes both the medical expenses as well as any permanent loss of wages that you will suffer if you have suffered either partial or total permanent injuries as a result of your workplace incident. At Kalfus & Nachman, we have successfully assisted those who have been injured on the job over a period of years or even decades and suffered repetitive motion injuries as a result in obtaining compensation for their injuries. If you have been injured in a workplace incident in Virginia, please contact Kalfus & Nachman today at (855) 880-8163 or through the form on this page to schedule a free consultation. Our experienced Virginia workers’ comp lawyers are here to help you.