If you're a firefighter, you know that the risks associated with your job can go far beyond burns and smoke inhalation. The work itself can be repetitive and physically demanding, often resulting in injury over time. Last fall, the National Fire Protection Association reported that there were over 62,000 reports of firefighter injuries in 2016. Nearly half of the reports were due to repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) sustained in fireground operations.
What are stress injuries? What's covered under workers' compensation?
Understanding and diagnosing stress injuries
There are many types of stress injuries that firefighters can sustain and are caused by a variety of factors. Such injuries can include tendon inflammation due to a strain or sprain or even nerve damage. Factors that can put firefighters at higher risk include overusing certain muscles, carrying substantial weight, suffering from exhaustion and enduring emotional stress.
Some firefighters will experience numbness, throbbing, muscle and joint pain or tingling in certain body parts. However, you may have a stress injury that presents symptoms unique to your situation that may not be listed above.
Workers' compensation may be able to provide relief
Recognizing the symptoms of a stress injury as soon as possible can help you to get the relief you need to heal and manage the pain. Firefighters who sustain an RSI on the job are entitled to compensation. Workers' compensation may be able to assist you with your medical bills and arrange accommodations at work while you heal. If you choose not to file a claim or seek treatment, your injury may worsen and have lifelong repercussions.
If you believe that you have sustained a stress injury on the job, you may need help with filing a claim with the insurer. Contacting an attorney who specializes in workers' compensation may be able to ease the process of your recovery and help you to return to work.