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Repetitive Trauma

Fresno Repetitive Trauma Injury Lawyers

Many workplace injuries are caused by accidents that occur during the course of someone's work. However, there are other workplace injuries that are not the result of one incident. They are caused by repetitive activities and take time to develop.

Repetitive trauma injuries can make it very difficult or even impossible to continue working while you try to recover from your illness. The Fresno repetitive trauma injury lawyers at Berry, Smith & Bartell understand how difficult it is to deal with the physical and financial effects of a repetitive trauma illness. We can review your situation in a free, no obligation consultation to determine if you may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits while you recover. If you hire our firm, we will not charge for our services unless you are compensated. Senior partner and founder Wm. Todd Berry was named one of America's Most Honored Professionals in 2016, 2017 and 2018. This recognition is certified by The American Registry. Our office in Fresno is about 10 minutes from San Joaquin Valley College and Kaiser Permanente Fresno Medical Center.  

Fill out a Free Case Evaluation form or call our Fresno workers' compensation lawyers at 1-800-848-6288

What is a Repetitive Trauma Injury?

A repetitive trauma injury or illness is a medical issue caused by repetitive activities at your job. For example, you could make repetitive motions that cause sprains, strains or nerve damage. This could include doing a lot of lifting, climbing up ladders, kneeling down, running or even repetitive use of your hands. You could also be routinely exposed to loud noises or toxic substances that cause lung problems.

Workers in many industries are at risk for suffering repetitive trauma injuries, including construction and industrial work. Some of the occupations with a high-risk of repetitive trauma injuries include:

  • Welders
  • Hand packers
  • Carpenters
  • Electronic machine operators
  • Stock handlers
  • Machine operators
  • Assemblers
  • Freight handlers

Other high-risk occupations could include law enforcement and corrections officers. 

Some common examples of repetitive trauma injuries and their possible causes include:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome – This could be caused by typing on a computer every day or even welding or cutting. Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause pain, numbness and tingling in the hand and arm, making it very difficult to move your hand, fingers and wrist.
  • Back injuries – Workers who constantly bend down or stoop could end up with back pain or even damage to the spinal cord, such as a torn or ruptured disc. Muscles and ligaments in the back can also get pulled or torn, causing mobility impairments.
  • Tendinitis – This is inflammation of a tendon, which attaches muscle to bone. Some examples of tendinitis injuries include tennis elbow and golfer's elbow. Plumbers, painters and carpenters are at risk for tennis elbow because of the repetitive motions they do with their arms.
  • Bursitis – Bursae are fluid-filled sacs which cushion areas where friction may develop between tendon and bone. Bursitis occurs when a bursa sac become inflamed. Workers who have to kneel often could get bursitis in the knees. Those who work with their arms a lot could also get bursitis in the shoulders.
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome – This condition can result from carrying heavy objects above the shoulders or reaching above the head. It occurs when the nerves and blood vessels in the neck and collarbone become compressed.
  • Hearing impairment – Construction workers who are exposed to loud noises on a regular basis could suffer hearing impairment.

A Fresno repetitive trauma injury lawyer from our firm can review your situation to determine if you may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. We can guide you through the entire process, advocating for your best interests. We are well-versed in California laws on workers' compensation and your rights.

Call us today at 1-800-848-6288 to schedule a free legal consultation.

Reporting Your Injury

You should report a workplace injury to your employer as soon as it occurs. However, repetitive trauma injuries take time to develop and it is difficult to determine when they began to happen. The best thing to do with these injuries is report them as soon as you have reason to believe they were caused by your job.

You are required to notify your employer within 30 days of the injury occurring or you becoming aware it was caused by your job. However, you should not wait until day 29 to report the injury. Reporting the injury quickly helps to show it is a serious situation. The sooner you report, the faster you will receive benefits if your claim is approved. Reporting quickly also helps to prevent your employer or workers' compensation administrator from saying your injury is unrelated to your job.

After you notify your employer, fill out the employee portion of the Workers' Compensation Claim Form and submit it to your employer. Your employer must complete the form and send to the claims administrator. A Fresno repetitive trauma injury attorney can help you complete this form.

Medical Treatment

A frequently asked question about medical treatment is whether you can receive treatment from your regular doctor. Unfortunately, you are only allowed to do this if you predesignated your doctor before the injury. This means notifying your employer in writing or by completing Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC) Form 9783. The doctor must be one of the following:

  • General practitioner
  • Internist
  • Obstetrician-gynecologist
  • Family practitioner

If you did not predesignate your physician, you must go to the doctor selected by your employer for the first 30 days after reporting your injury.

Your employer will authorize up to $10,000 for reasonable and necessary medical treatment while the claims administrator makes a decision on your claim. If your claim is approved, your medical bills will continue to be covered by your employer.

Under state law, the claims administrator must make a decision in a reasonable amount of time. A good rule of thumb is, if you do not hear anything within 90 days, you should consider your claim to be accepted.

Contact a Fresno repetitive trauma injury lawyer today to learn more about how we can help you.

Working While You Recover

You may still be able to work while you are recovering from your illness. Your primary treating physician will explain the kind of work you can do while you are recovering. This includes any changes that are necessary for your work schedule or assignments.

During this period, you will receive temporary disability benefits, equal to two-thirds of the pre-tax wages you earned before you developed a repetitive trauma injury. If you are still working, you will receive two-thirds of the difference between your pre-injury wages and your current wages. For example, if you earned $300 per week before your injury, and you are earning $200 per week because of your physical limitations, you would receive $66 per week.

However, you may reach the point where your condition stops improving but you still have physical limitations from your illness. When this happens, your doctor will send a report to the claims administrator explaining that you have a permanent disability. The report will detail the specific problems you are having, work restrictions, medical care you will need and an estimate of the percentage of your disability caused by your job.

This report will be one of the factors in determining the amount of permanent disability benefits you receive. If you are awarded permanent disability benefits, they will begin within 14 days of your temporary disability benefits ending. The amount you receive depends on your disability percentage and your average weekly wages at the time of the injury. The payments will end when you reach the maximum amount allowed by law.

A Fresno repetitive trauma injury lawyer from Berry, Smith & Bartell can review your situation in a free consultation. We understand how benefits are calculated and we will advocate for the fair compensation you deserve.

Complete a Free Case Evaluation form today.

Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits

It is possible you will not be able to continue working in the same capacity as you did before the injury. You may have recurring physical issues because of your repetitive trauma injury.

If this happens, you may be able to pursue supplemental job displacement benefits. The benefit is a voucher to cover the cost of job training and skill enhancement. You can use the voucher for things like tuition, books, tools and other expenses.

Your benefit amount is dependent on your disability rating. For example, you can get up to $4,000 if your rating is below 15 percent. If the rating is between 50 and 99 percent, you can get up to $10,000.

Our Fresno repetitive trauma injury lawyers understand how important this form of compensation can be. We know you want to get work to support yourself and your family but you will need financial help to acquire the skills to continue working in a new field or in a different capacity than before.

Schedule a free, no obligation legal consultation today.

Contact a Fresno Repetitive Trauma Injury Lawyer Now

Repetitive trauma can lead to severe injuries that cause significant pain and make it hard to keep working. When this happens, you should seriously consider meeting with an attorney to go over the workers' compensation process.

Our Fresno repetitive trauma injury attorneys can guide you through the process, explaining your rights, the compensation you may be owed, and how to appeal if your claim is denied or you are awarded less compensation than you deserve.

We work on a contingency fee basis, so your initial consultation is free and you will not owe legal fees unless you are compensation.

For a free case evaluation with Berry, Smith & Bartell, a Professional Law Corporation call 1-800-848-6288 today!

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