Can I Still Get Workers’ Compensation if my Injury is From Repetitive Use and Not a Specific Accident?

The short answer is yes, but each case must be analyzed on their own specific facts and circumstances. The purpose of the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act is to provide injured employees certain benefits to replace a portion of their lost wages (disability benefits) and to cover the medical costs and expenses of their treatment (medical benefits). These benefits are available to workers, who were injured on the job regardless of fault.

The injury an employee suffers does not necessarily need to be from a specific or identifiable incident or accident. In Massachusetts, “personal injury” for a workers’ compensation case includes injury to the body itself. This means that workers’ compensation benefits are still available for employees in Massachusetts whose injury or injuries occur over time from repetitive use (a/k/a wear-and-tear). The injury and symptoms, however, must arise out of the employee’s work activities and a doctor must causally relate the injury to work.

For Example: We had a 55 year old gentleman that was working in a cardboard factory. For years he worked on the floor of the warehouse and was required to lift heavy packs of cardboard over his head and into a special machine. Over time this employee noticed that his shoulder began hurt and continued to get worse with every day at work. One day the pain got so bad he reported it to his supervisor and saw a doctor. He was later diagnosed with a partial tear of his rotator cuff tendon and a shoulder impingement. His doctor provided an opinion that these injuries developed over time at work. We were able to get this injured worker the workers’ compensation benefits he deserved even though his injuries did not occur from a specific accident.

Now keep in mind that the workers’ compensation insurance companies will sometimes deny claims that involve wear-and-tear or repetitive use injuries. They often argue that they are not work related and may have happened somewhere else. If this happens to you, don’t get upset. You still have the right to file a claim for benefits.

Have you Been Hurt on the Job in Massachusetts?

If you, or someone you know, has been injured on the job in Massachusetts and you have questions about what to do or what you are entitled to, feel free to call us at (508) 879-3500 or contact us online. We are happy to explain the workers’ compensation process to you, answer your questions and evaluate your case for free.