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When your job requires that you remain in the same position for extended periods or repeat the same motion again and again, you may have suffered a repetitive strain or prolonged use injury. While these injuries occur gradually over time, they can be extremely painful, debilitating, and can lead to missed time from work. Fortunately, prolonged use and repetitive strain injuries (RSI) are compensable under the Wisconsin workers’ compensation system, and Kingree Law can help you recover the benefits you deserve.

Examples of Overuse Injuries

Different types of prolonged use injuries occur in different kinds of occupations. For example, Kingree Law regularly represents medical professionals like dentists, hygienists, endodontists, cardiac sonographers, EKG technicians, and other medical scanners who suffer from significant neck and spine injuries. Construction workers, concrete workers, drywallers, caulkers, delivery drivers, and others who move heavy loads suffer substantial wear and tear on their necks, backs, knees, hips, and shoulders. Painters, plumbers, and dairy workers experience prolonged flexion or extension of the neck or low back, which, over time, can cause disc herniations.

Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation Recognizes Multiple Causes of an Injury

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) recognizes that injuries that develop over time and do not have a specific date of injury are work-related and compensable as occupational injuries. Even if prolonged use is one of multiple contributing factors, you may still be entitled to compensation. If your doctor agrees that your working conditions were a material cause of your injury, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Work activities do not need to be “the” cause of the condition, only “a” cause, which has been defined as little as 5% to 10% contribution toward the condition. Kingree Law can help by preparing and filing a well-documented claim for benefits that includes comprehensive evidence to establish that your job caused your injuries.

Occupational Injuries Can Develop in as Little as a Few Hours

Prolonged use and repetitive strain injuries do not need to develop over years to be compensable. In fact, Wisconsin courts have recognized that certain working environments can cause an overuse injury in as little as a few hours. For example, if a worker is injured while performing a task they do not normally do, like moving a heavy shipment into a building after a delivery, the injury might be compensable.

Repetitive Strain and Prolonged Use Injuries Are Categorized as an Occupational Disease

In the Wisconsin workers’ compensation system, repetitive strain and prolonged use injuries fall under the broad category of occupational disease. They are “occupational” in that the injury occurred over time rather than as a result of a single traumatic event. Nonetheless, the injury is work-related because it developed from something you do as a part of your job, such as lifting heavy objects, bending, or twisting, or keeping your neck or arms in sustained positioning. These repeated movements or static positioning can result in chronic, sometimes debilitating pain. But, because a condition of your employment caused them, they are compensable under the Wisconsin workers’ compensation system.

“Pre-existing Condition” Is Not a Defense

Under Wisconsin workers’ compensation law, your employer takes you “as is.” In a Wisconsin workers’ compensation benefits claim, your employer cannot claim that you had a pre-existing condition as a defense. For example, even if you had a history of back injuries and your working conditions made them worse, you might still be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. If your employer denied your claim because of a “pre-existing condition,” you should contact Kingree Law to discuss how we can help.

Kingree Law Can Help with Your Claim for Workers’ Compensation Benefits

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) has categorized repetitive strain and prolonged use injuries as a type of occupational injury. But successfully establishing your claim for compensation for a repetitive strain injury can be challenging. Documentation from your medical provider, along with other evidence, is key to successfully making such a claim.

Wisconsin workers’ compensation attorney Luke Kingree knows the relevant state laws and legal precedents that apply to occupational injury claims. He will prepare a well-documented claim for workers’ compensation benefits that includes comprehensive evidence to establish that your job caused your injuries. Even if your claim was denied, he will work to prepare an appeal to help you recover your benefits.

To learn more about how Kingree Law can help, visit our FAQ section and Information Center. Then contact us today to schedule a free, confidential consultation to discuss your situation and how we can help.

With offices in Madison and Eau Claire, Kingree Law proudly represents injured workers throughout Wisconsin.