Yes. If you’ve developed tendonitis in the course and scope of performing your job duties, you have an occupational illness that’s covered by workers’ compensation. You don’t have to prove your employer did anything wrong to cause your condition, and your employer may not retaliate against you for filing a claim for benefits.
Most South Carolina companies with four or more employees are required to carry workers’ compensation, which is no-fault insurance for employees who suffer work-related injuries or occupational illnesses. Workers’ comp pays all medical expenses and two-thirds of wages lost during time off work.
What Is Tendonitis?
Tendons are tissues connecting your bones to your muscles and enabling you to move your limbs as necessary when performing physical tasks. If your job requires you to perform the same physical activities many times each day, you could develop tendonitis, a condition in which the tendons involved in your repetitive motions become inflamed or irritated. Tendonitis can be extremely painful and make it difficult or impossible for you to continue working. Trying to do so will simply aggravate your condition, increase your pain, and lengthen your recovery time. You are most likely to develop tendonitis in your arms, legs, fingers, or wrists. Some specific examples include:
Climbing stairs, going up and down ladders, or pushing heavy objects puts stress on the Achilles tendon above your heel. It can become inflamed and even tear as the condition gets worse, resulting in extreme pain and incapacity.
The rotator cuff is a cluster of tendons and muscles controlling the shoulder joint. It can become inflamed or irritated if you repeatedly raise your hands and arms above your head in the course of your daily work. The result is pain that extends from your shoulder into your upper arm. A tear in the rotator cuff can require surgery.
Bursitis is another type of tendonitis that affects the tissues of the shoulder. It can cause pain all the way down to your forearm.
Repeatedly gripping and turning a tool or control lever can result in “tennis elbow,” a type of tendonitis that causes pain from the outer elbow to the upper arm.
Thumb and wrist.
De Quervain’s tenosynovitis also results from gripping and twisting objects with the hand and wrist. Its symptoms are pain and swelling at the base of the thumb, difficulty grasping or pinching, and a tendency of the thumb to lock in one position.
Workers most susceptible to tendonitis are those who repeatedly lift, bend, use vibrating tools, or operate computer keyboards in healthcare, office, factory, athletic, or construction settings. Treatments for this occupational illness include rest, physical therapy, splinting, and pain medication. In extreme cases, a tendon might tear and require surgery.
Reporting an Injury and Filing a Claim
As soon as you become aware that you’ve developed tendonitis on the job, you should report your condition to your supervisor and file a claim for benefits with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission (SCWCC). See the doctor recommended by your employer’s workers’ comp insurer, not your own doctor, and follow all treatment guidelines meticulously. Retain all receipts and other documentation of your treatments. Keep a daily journal of your injury, treatment, recovery, level of pain, and ability or inability to use the parts of your body affected by tendonitis.
When You Need a Lawyer
While it’s often relatively easy to prove that an accidental injury occurred on the job, it can be much harder to prove that an occupational illness like tendonitis has developed from performing your work duties over time. Your employer’s insurer might try to deny your claim and blame your tendonitis on a pre-existing condition or non-work-related activities. If this happens, you should contact a workers’ comp attorney immediately. Your lawyer can consult with your doctors, organize your medical evidence, and bring in expert witnesses, if necessary to help you prove your condition is work-related and compensable. If your claim is denied, your attorney may set up an informal conference with the employer and insurer, request a SCWCC hearing, ask for a commission review, or appeal to the South Carolina Court of Appeals or Supreme Court.
Have You Been Injured On The Job In Florence?
If you've been hurt at your job in or around Florence, South Carolina, you can speak with a workers' compensation lawyer. Please contact us online or call our Florence personal injury office directly at 843.488.7540 to schedule your consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Charleston, Conway, Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.