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Repetitive Strain

Workers’ Compensation for
Repetitive Strain Injuries

The demanding and taxing obligations of work over several years can take a physical toll in a number of ways. A repetitive strain injury (RSI) depicts any grievance covering damage to your soft tissue, such as muscles and tendons – prominently found in the neck, back, shoulders and arms occurring over a period of time. Some of the well-known varieties of an RSI include bursitis, herniated disks, tennis elbow (epicondylitis), and carpal tunnel syndrome.

These injuries are caused through continuous comparable movements over several years during the demands of your job, whether that be in the office, or at a worksite.

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Am I at risk?

Common occupations at a more substantial threat of developing an RSI are those involving constant motion daily, such as heavy lifting, gripping tools, or large use of a non-ergonomic mouse and keyboard. Consequently, this largely involves manual labour or industrial positions, such as factory labour, fishing, construction, hospitality, agricultural work, and transport-related jobs. Such a threat can also extend to office jobs, where poor posture and long hours at a desk can lead to an RSI.

What to do first

If you believe you have sustained an RSI – it is essential to first visit a general practitioner so that they can independently assess the extent of your injury and provide a precise diagnosis. It is also vital to keep accurate records of your injury and related expenses through medical bills, receipts for required equipment and documentation for time off work and any loss of wages.

What is available to me under a successful WorkCover claim?

Treatment that is often required for an RSI includes physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and exercise physiology. However, under a successful WorkCover claim, these can be covered, alongside a number of differing entitlement options.

Further reimbursements can extend to loss of income via regular income payments, any endured pain and suffering endured, and paid assistance if required.  If it is shown that from the RSI, your impairment extends to a 10% permanent impairment rating or higher, the possibility can arise to qualify for a one-off lump sum payment.

Potential claim options can widen to a common law claim, depicting a fault-based negligence claim that can be pursued if you believe your injury was caused by the negligence of your employer. For WorkCover, this RSI injury must be classified as ‘serious’, and an at-fault party who has acted recklessly.

Other than for common law entitlement options, a claim for RSI is considered as no-fault, meaning that it does not need to be shown that you were not at fault for the emergence of your injury, the mere notion of the presence of the RSI is adequate to lodge a WorkCover claim.

With the required documents for your WorkCover claim to be successful, you first must demonstrate that you are an employee, in order to do so, you must show that 80% of your income can be derived from the employer that the claim is lodged against. Similarly, it is essential to Obtain a certificate of capacity, which specifies your capacity to perform your pre-injury duties, as well as any restrictions resulting from your injury, as well as modifications that may be required to perform your pre-injury role.

A Certificate of Capacity is obtained from your treater (Doctor or Allied Health Professional). Once the certificate and WorkCover claim form is provided to your employer, they have 10 days to fill it out and provide it to their WorkCover insurer.

If you have developed an RSI as a result of your working environment and you

  • Are unable to perform your pre-injury duties.
  • Have to take time off work.
  • Need Medical treatment.

You can seek compensation to alleviate any financial burden and stress associated with your injury.

At Zaparas Lawyers, we help people dealing with work injuries and have over 40 years of experience to assist you with what can be a daunting process. If you have experienced a Repetitive Strain Injury throughout your employment, feel free to contact us for a no-fee, obligation-free appointment.

It is important to act fast, as often stern time limits may apply, so it is vital that you contact us for legal advice promptly.

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