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What is a repetitive stress injury?

Are you one of the many workers in New Jersey who suffer from the effects of a work-related repetitive stress injury? According to Medical News Today, this common condition goes by many different names: regional musculoskeletal disorder, occupational overuse syndrome, cumulative trauma disorder and repetitive motion injuries, to name a few. 

Regardless of what you call it, however, the causes are the same: repetitive tasks, vibrations, sustained or awkward positions and forceful exertions. As long as there has been manual labor, there have been repetitive stress injuries, although the first description of a repetitive stress injury in a medical text came from an 18th-century Italian physician who described 20 categories of injury among industrial workers. 

A repetitive stress injury may be specific or nonspecific. Nonspecific RSI usually relates to work-related nerve damage. Physicians refer to nonspecific RSI as Type 2. Type 1 RSI affects the musculoskeletal system, causing specific tendons or muscles to become inflamed or swollen. 

Symptoms of RSI vary depending on what type it is and what is causing it. You may experience a loss of strength or sensation. You may feel pain, tenderness or a pulsating/throbbing sensation in the affected area. Tingling and numbness are common, particularly in the hand and arm. 

There are steps that you can take to prevent yourself from developing an RSI or, if you already have one, to prevent it from becoming any worse. 

  • Standing up frequently to stretch the arms, fingers and back
  • Taking regular breaks from the repetitive task
  • Looking up and staring momentarily at distant objects to rest eye muscles
  • Refraining from smoking
  • Maintaining general good health with diet and exercise.

Conservative (nonsurgical) treatment options for RSI include physical therapy, application of ice packs or heat packs and steroid injections if you experience inflammation. Medications such as muscle relaxants or anti-inflammatories are sometimes effective. Surgery can sometimes correct problems with specific nerves or tendons as a last resort. 

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

When can I sue for car accident injuries in a no-fault state?

New Jersey is one of only 12 states with no-fault insurance laws, allowing residents who are injured in a car accident to cover associated treatment or lost wage costs up to policy limits of their insurance — no matter who is at fault for the accident.

But under what circumstances does this no-fault policy fail to cover expenses? Here are a few examples of when a victim of an accident should pursue a personal injury claim in court.

The insurance’s settlement offer isn’t adequate

After receiving an injury report, your insurance company will offer an amount you can use to cover expenses associated with your injuries, such as medical treatment and lost wages.

If you don’t believe that the settlement offer from your insurance carrier is appropriate, you may appeal it or consult with an attorney about filing for a personal injuries lawsuit.

Your injuries are serious or permanent

Your decision to purchase standard or basic insurance coverage may influence whether you need to file a personal injury lawsuit. Standard policies cost more, but it may make a suit unnecessary because the policy covers bodily injuries.

Basic policies, on the other hand, provide fewer benefits. With basic insurance, you may need to sue if you suffer a serious injury, such as an injury that is permanent or the loss of a pregnancy.

You are within the statute of limitations

In New Jersey, the statute of limitations allows you up to two years from the date of your injury to file a personal injury claim against a party you believe to be at fault for the accident. Especially for those who develop delayed injuries that are not covered by the insurance settlement offer, a lawsuit may be necessary.

If you have been injured and aren’t sure whether you should take the case to court, ask the advice of a personal injury attorney. A lawyer can help set expectations for whether you may be entitled to damages.

New Jersey’s workers’ compensation benefits

If you are employed in New Jersey, you should educate yourself about the type of assistance that you may seek should you be hurt while at work. As explained by the State of New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation, the program provides benefits to cover medical costs and some wage replacement if you are unable to work either temporarily or permanently due to your injuries.

If you need urgent medical care, you are free to get that from the nearest emergency department. Beyond that, however, you must visit a provider approved by either your employer or their workers’ compensation insurer. 

If you cannot work for a period of time, you may be able to receive temporary total disability benefits. These pay a percentage of your normal wage for a set period of time. If you are deemed unable to ever return to work, you may be able to receive permanent disability benefits. The amount of money you might receive may vary in part depending on the nature of your disability. If you are completely disabled, you may receive more than if you are only partially disabled. The state has designated minimum and maximum payouts for these benefits to injured workers. 

If you would like to learn more about the state’s workers’ compensation program and the types of benefits that may be available to you if you are injured on the job, please feel free to visit the workplace accident assistance page of our New Jersey workers’ compensation and personal injury website.

What should I know about job-related hearing damage?

Many industries can contribute to hearing loss for people of all ages. Whether you work in construction where jackhammers and work trucks assault your ears or in an office with the constant drone of machinery and radios in the background, your hearing can suffer. You and other New Jersey residents should understand the impact of job-related hearing loss.

Hearing loss is not limited to the physical inconvenience of being hard of hearing. Your ability to perform your job and your quality of life can suffer when you can’t hear as well as you used to. Hearing loss can cause depression as you feel left out of things that people with good hearing still enjoy, such as conversation and music. You might also be put in danger if you can’t hear an approaching vehicle or a safety alarm, and you could suffer anxiety and irritation by working in a place with constant or sudden bursts of loud noise.

October is National Protect Your Hearing Month, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. You might start taking the steps to protect your hearing by recognizing the ways your hearing could be damaged at work and finding solutions. For example, you might wear earplugs or protective headphones designed for loud noises in industrial places. You could also request your employer provide training and offer regular screenings for hearing loss, so you and other employees can prevent hearing loss early, before it becomes severe.

As with other job-related injuries and illnesses, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation if you suffer from hearing loss that originated at work. This information should not replace the advice of a lawyer.

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