Overexertion and Workplace Injuries
As a workplace injury, overexertion tries harder. Hard enough, in fact, to make it No. 1 in rankings of nonfatal disabling workplace injuries – and that’s year in, year out.
Overexertion is a nonimpact injury caused by too strenuously lifting, pulling, pushing, turning, wielding, holding, carrying, or throwing. That’s pretty much any physical activity that takes muscle and motion.
Almost 80 percent of job-related overexertion injuries are sprains or strains, and more than half of them afflict the back.
If you have suffered a workplace injury due to overexertion, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits to help pay your medical bills, replace lost wages, and cover other related expenses.
The knowledgeable legal team at the Kenton Koszdin Law Office is ready to help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Our firm concentrates on helping injured and disabled workers fight for benefits. Call or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your legal rights and options.
Common Types of Overexertion Injuries on the Job
Nursing aides and orderlies, emergency medical technicians and paramedics, and laborers and materials handlers are most likely to suffer overexertion injuries. The reason? Lifting is a big part of their jobs.
Lifting tops the list of activities that cause overexertion injuries:
- Lifting – 53 percent
- Holding, carrying, turning, wielding – 18 percent
- Pulling, pushing – 17 percent
- Unspecified – 7 percent
- Other – 4 percent
- Throwing – 1 percent
The overexertion workplace injury diagnosis typically is sprain or strain.
Sprains are damage to ligaments, which bind bone to bone. The three degrees of sprains are:
- First-degree sprain: Mild stretching, usually with mild pain, some dysfunction, zero to minimal swelling.
- Second-degree sprain: Stretching with partial tearing; pain, swelling, bruising, moderate dysfunction likely.
- Third-degree sprain: Full tear/rupture of ligament; joint instability; severe pain, bruising, dysfunction; surgery possible.
Strains are damage from stretching and/or tearing tendons, muscle, or other soft tissue. The three degrees of strains are:
- First-degree strain: Mild stress on fiber, slight tearing; modest pain, tenderness, near normal mobility.
- Second-degree strain: Increased tearing, pain, swelling, bruising, with mobility limited.
- Third-degree strain: Muscle torn away from tendon; severe pain, full loss of function; surgery possible.
Sprains and strains can strike throughout the body, can occur in unison, and often aren’t limited to a single site when they occur.
Here is a breakdown of what parts of the body the injuries affect, by percentage:
- Back – 52 percent
- Shoulder – 14 percent
- Other, trunk – 12 percent
- Upper extremity – 10 percent
- Multiple and other – 7 percent
- Lower extremity – 5 percent
Overexertion injuries lead the pack in workdays lost. The cost to employers in one recent year for disabling overexertion injuries was more than $15 billion. The cost for workers is a mountain of medical bills, lost wages, and pain.
What to Do If You Suffer an Overexertion Injury
When an overexertion injury occurs at work, statistics show you are likely going to spend some time at home on the mend. That typically means medical expenses will accrue and definitely means you will lose wages. The primary remedy in California, financially, is workers’ compensation.
In California, there are five basic workers’ comp benefits:
- Medical care paid for by the employer – if work caused your injury or illness.
- Temporary disability benefits – if your condition prevents you from doing your usual job.
- Permanent disability benefits – if you don’t fully recover.
- Vouchers to help fund training for another job – if you don’t recover fully and don’t return to your old job.
- Death benefits for survivors – if the workplace injury kills you.
The California Division of Workers’ Compensation says you should report any workplace injury to your employer as soon as possible. Here are the bullet points that accompany the advice:
- If your injury or illness developed gradually, report it as soon as the condition is diagnosed. Failure to do so can cause delays in the benefits process and even medical care.
- If you don’t report your injury within 30 days, you could lose your right to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
It goes without saying that the first and most important thing to do after being injured is to get appropriate medical care, particularly if emergency attention is needed. When the dust settles, your focus, according to the state, should be on filling out the workers’ comp claim form and giving it to your employer, following through on medical treatment, and keeping track of your workers’ comp claim.
The claim process has a lot of moving parts. Here are some of the important things to know about filing a claim:
- Your employer must give or mail you a claim form within one working day of the accident.
- If your employer does not give you the claim form, you should contact the workers’ comp division to get one or download one from the division’s website.
- Complete only the “employee” section, sign and date it, and get it to your employer right away. If you mail it, use certified mail and keep a copy.
- Your employer must fill out and forward the completed form to the insurer, which then has 14 days to mail you a status report on your claim.
- Within one day of receiving the claim form, your employer must authorize up to $10,000 in medical treatment
- If you have filed a claim form and if your claim isn’t denied within 90 days, your injury is presumed to be covered.
- If you have filed a claim form with your employer, you will be entitled to an increase in your payments if your employer fails to pay your indemnity payments in timely fashion.
Keeping track of paperwork and sweating the details of a complex compensation process is difficult, and doing it while trying to recuperate from an overexertion injury is even harder. If you need help getting the job done – and to ensure you get everything you deserve – you should turn to a skilled workers’ compensation lawyer.
The Kenton Koszdin Law Office Can Help
The founder of the Kenton Koszdin Law Office knows the toll a workplace injury can take on a person. In fact, helping injury victims was part of Kenton Koszdin’s inspiration for founding his law firm.
Contact us today for an evaluation of your case. It’s free, and you can walk away under no obligation if you decide to go it alone. If leaving home is a problem, we can do the case evaluation at your home for free.