Repetitive stress injuries may seem less concerning than catastrophic, traumatic injuries like a broken bone. After all, a repetitive stress injury only flares up when you use a certain body part for a long time and may not constantly affect your work performance. A broken bone, on the other hand, will prevent you from doing any work at all until it heals in some cases.
Unfortunately, the long-term effects of these two injuries are effectively an inversion of the short-term impacts. While a broken bone will likely have minimal impact on your long-term earning potential, a repetitive stress injury could permanently reduce how much money you make.
You may find that you need workers’ compensation benefits to help you because you can’t earn as much as you once did.
Repetitive stress injuries often persist for life
Overusing your body parts will cause damage that eventually flares up and forces you to seek treatment. Workers’ compensation will cover the medical costs associated with a repetitive stress injury and can offer short-term disability benefits if a worker needs time away from their job.
A break from work combined with physical therapy and ergonomic support can help some people return to their jobs. However, the likelihood is there that their condition will continue to flare up if the worker does the same tasks.
Sometimes, employers can help them continue using their skills in a position that doesn’t aggravate their injury. Other times, a repetitive stress injury will force a worker to completely change the kind of work they do. Moving from a factory job to a service industry job, for example, could cut someone’s earning potential in half.
Workers’ compensation protects those with permanent consequences
If you can go back to work in general but you can’t do the same high-paying job, then your work-acquired injury has affected your earning potential. You can count on workers’ compensation benefits to personally reimburse you for the earning potential you have lost.
Permanent partial disability benefits can augment your wages when you have to change careers. The body part affected and the overall impact on your earning potential and function will determine how much a worker receives for a permanent partial disability.
Learning about the benefits available when you develop a workplace injury can help you connect with the workers’ compensation benefits you need.