Repetitive injuries and workers’ compensation in the state of Colorado

Some on the job injuries may result from repetitive activities, rather than a specific incident, and may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

Not every injury in Colorado, and elsewhere, is the result of an accident or specific trauma. In fact, many people suffer from a ranging group of medical conditions, which are commonly known as repetitive injuries. These types of injuries typically result due to the wear and tear that repetitive activities and motions cause on the body. While they are often associated with musicians and athletes, many people also commonly suffer repetitive injuries on the job.

Even performing seemingly simple tasks and activities may cause people to develop repetitive injuries. These types of muscle, nerve, tendon and ligament injuries, according to The Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library, may be temporary or permanent. Depending on the type and severity of their conditions people who suffer from repetitive injury conditions may need to alter their job duties or take time off of work to recover.

Types of occupational repetitive injuries

Also known as musculoskeletal disorders, there are numerous conditions that may be classified as repetitive injuries. In general, most workplace injuries that develop due to overexertion, too much stress or too much strain fall into this category. Some of the most common types of repetitive injuries include rotator cuff syndrome, epicondylitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, bursitis and tendonitis. Repetitive injuries frequently impact, but are not limited to, the joints in the legs and arms. Those who suffer from these conditions commonly experience a range of symptoms, including pain, numbness, weakness and stiffness.

Who is at risk for occupational repetitive injuries?

In general, all workers may be at risk of developing repetitive injuries. These conditions may affect anyone who continually performs the same motions or activities on the job. This may include those who spend a significant amount of time using keyboards or computers, those who use certain types of scanners, those who regularly use certain tools and others.

For example, data entry clerks who type and key in information for long periods of time often develop carpal tunnel syndrome. Likewise, construction workers who use saws or jackhammers for extended periods may develop tendonitis in their elbows. In addition to work that requires repetitive tasks, duties that require heavy lifting, unusual positions or force also commonly contributes to causing repetitive injuries.

Seeking workers' compensation benefits

As is the case with other workers who are injured on the job, those who suffer repetitive injuries may also be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. According to the Colorado Division of Human Resources, workers may be entitled to medical benefits. This includes complete coverage of the medical expenses resulting from treatment of the injury. Additionally, injured workers may receive a portion of their lost wages resulting from time off of work, or on restricted duty, for recovery.

Since repetitive injuries typically cannot be attributed to a particular incident, it can be difficult for some Colorado workers to prove their conditions are work-related. As such, those who have developed this type of occupational injury may find it of benefit to seek legal counsel. An attorney may advise them of their rights, and help guide them through the workers' compensation claims process.