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Common Soft Tissue Injuries (MSDs) That Qualify for Workers’ Comp Benefits

Man in hard hat appears to have back pain while working in a factory

A New Jersey Workers' Comp Lawyer Provides the Details

Dramatic single-incident accidents at work — like slip and falls or getting struck by an item — can have a long-lasting and devastating effect on a person's life, but so too can injuries that develop over time.

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are among the most common work injuries suffered by U.S. employees in sectors from health care to manufacturing. MSDs, also known as ergonomic injuries, involve damage to soft tissue, muscle, ligaments, tendons, etc., that develop over time and take on average two days longer to heal than most single-accident injuries.

When an employee is injured on the job, the hurt worker has the right to pursue workers' compensation benefits. Workers' comp benefits can help cover the injured employee's medical expenses and lost wages. From broken bones to aching backs and nerve damage, workplace injuries are serious and require proper time and care to heal.

Last year, the private sector reported about 247,620 MSD injuries or illnesses that resulted in missed workdays, according to the National Safety Council. About 1 out of 3 work MSD injuries take 31 or more days to heal, the NSC says.

What Is a Musculoskeletal Injury (MSD)?

In a state study, New Jersey officials found that nearly 200,000 MSD injuries were reported between 2000 and 2019. Of those, about half were injuries to the back and a quarter were injuries to the shoulder or neck.

Musculoskeletal injuries are usually caused by things like overexertion, repetitive motions involving microtasks, or being jarred by vibrations.

Common injuries include:

  • Pinched nerves
  • Herniated disc
  • Meniscus tear
  • Sprains and strains
  • Hernia
  • Pain and swelling, inflammation
  • Carpal or tarsal tunnel syndrome
  • Raynaud's syndrome or phenomenon

Workers at High Risk for MSDs

On average, an employee who has an MSD will miss 14 days of work, according to the NSC. The most common MSD work injuries that are reported include sprains, strains, and tears—primarily affecting the back and shoulders.

In nearly every case of MSDs reported, overexertion was a factor.

Industries that report the most MSDs include service providers, trade, transportation, utilities, education, and health care.

The jobs that report the most MSD injuries include:

  • Transportation or material mover
  • Service provider
  • Production worker
  • Healthcare practitioner
  • Installation, maintenance, and repair employees
  • Construction and extraction workers
  • Sales and related associates

It often takes a long time for MSDs to heal and injured employees to get back to work. While injured workers are able to apply for workers' comp, the New Jersey Workers' Compensation Board needs significant evidence to support paying out benefits. The problem is MSDs are notoriously difficult to prove, and typically, soft tissue damage cannot be seen with the naked eye or an x-ray.

An Attorney Can Help You Navigate the System

At Shebell & Shebell, LLC, our attorneys have developed a deep understanding of how the New Jersey workers' compensation system works. We know how to craft effective arguments and strategies, and we understand what it takes to secure the benefits our clients need and deserve.

If you were injured on the job, developed an occupational illness, or lost a loved one to a fatal work accident, contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced New Jersey workers' compensation attorney. With offices in Shrewsbury and Newark, our firm proudly serves injured workers throughout New Jersey.

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