Many workers’ compensation claims involve repetitive stress injuries (RSIs): those that develop slowly over time as a result of work duties, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. We asked our readers about their experiences filing a workers’ compensation claim for these types of injuries, including how much they received in benefits, how long their cases took to resolve, and more.
How Much Compensation Did Workers Get for Repetitive Stress Injuries?
The majority of workers with repetitive stress injuries received some compensation for their injuries. In fact, 75% of workers received a settlement or award while only 25% were not compensated. On average, these workers received settlements or awards between $13,600 and $22,100. Compensation ranged quite a bit from worker to worker: 57% of workers received $10,000 or less, 29% of workers received between $10,000 and $40,000, and only 14% of workers received over $40,000.
How Long Did It Take for Repetitive Stress Claims to Get Resolved?
On average, it took 16.1 months for workers with repetitive stress injuries to resolve their workers’ compensation claims. Compared to all workers’ compensation claims, which took an average of 15.7 months to resolve, this was only slightly longer.
Several factors affect how long a case takes, including whether the insurance company initially denies your claim, whether you need to request a hearing or file an appeal to resolve your claim, and whether you hire a lawyer.
Denied Workers' Comp Claims for Repetitive Stress Injuries
Of workers with repetitive stress injuries who received a settlement or award, nearly half (48%) received an initial denial of their claims. In other words, denials of these types of claims were relatively common. This is not too surprising considering the nature of repetitive stress injuries. Because they typically develop slowly over time, without a single traumatic event, it can be more difficult to prove that the injury was caused by work. However, receiving a claim denial did not mean the end of the road for a large portion of these workers.
A denial did, however, mean that a large number of workers had to take extra steps to secure their benefits. After receiving a denial, 40% of workers with repetitive stress injuries had to file an appeal or request a workers’ compensation hearing before they received a settlement or award. (For more on denied claims, see Denied Workers’ Comp Claims: How Can I Win Benefits After a Denial?)
Hiring a Workers' Comp Lawyer for a Repetitive Stress Injury
Most workers with repetitive stress injuries hired a lawyer to represent them in their workers’ comp cases: 57% hired a lawyer, while 43% did not hire a lawyer. This makes sense, given that many workers with repetitive stress injuries ended up appealing their cases through the state workers’ compensation agency. The appeals process can be quite complex, as it requires the parties to file certain forms, attend hearings, and follow procedural rules for gathering and presenting evidence.
According to our survey, workers with repetitive stress claims who hired lawyers received significantly larger settlements and awards than those who did not hire a lawyer. Of those who received a settlement or award, workers without lawyers received between $8,700 and $14,700 on average, while workers with lawyers received between $17,300 and $27,800. That’s almost double the compensation. (To learn more about how a lawyer could improve your odds, see our article Does a Workers' Comp Lawyer Give You a Better Outcome? Is it Worth the Cost?).
Of workers who hired lawyers, 44% were either satisfied or very satisfied with their lawyers. Several workers reported that the key was finding a good lawyer, which meant doing some background research and meeting with at least a couple of attorneys before choosing one. (For help finding a lawyer, see Selecting a Workers’ Comp Lawyer.)