Whether you call it a repetitive use injury or a repetitive motion industry, it means the same thing – you have used a part of the body in a way that has caused it to suffer damage to tissues that will just continue to worsen as you continue to use the tissue. Medical experts do say that repetitive use injuries are “among the most common injuries in the United States” (eMedicineHealth.com, 2015). Regardless of this fact, you don’t have to just accept a repetitive use injury without questioning whether or not it was avoidable.
Certainly, if you choose to workout in a way that puts strain on the same muscles each day, and you develop tendonitis because of it, that is most definitely your fault. However, if you are someone in the maritime industry and you are constantly required to use the exact same muscles and movements, and strain the body to get the work done, your employer may be viewed as being negligent or liable for your injuries.
Obviously, this is not a clear-cut issue, and it will require legal expertise to pursue compensation, but the laws are on your side if there was indeed negligent behavior at work on the part of an employer.
Though you may be lifting heavy weights or pushing gear in the same ways each and every day of your professional life, it is never an absolute that you have to do this in a way that leads to a repetitive use injury. For example, some maritime workers are forced to perform tasks on vessels that are not deemed seaworthy, and the strain of their work (which may be an example of repetitive use) can lead to injury. This would be the fault of the employer or owner who allowed the vessel to degrade.
Additionally, if an employer creates an unsafe environment through inadequate safety training or demands that workers continue to work long hours without breaks, this too may be seen as negligence and liability for the injuries their workers sustain.
Clearly, it is best to consult with a maritime lawyer before pursuing legal recourse. You will want to do so only after your condition has been officially diagnosed. If you have discovered that you sustained a repetitive use injury, and you know it was due to your employer’s negligence, you will want to get in touch with a legal expert.
How can you know if you have sustained a repetitive use injury? Your doctor is going to be your best resource for good answers to that question, but many people in the maritime industry experience:
Of course, this is not the limit to repetitive use injuries, but they are some of the most common results. Unfortunately, the only way to prevent them from worsening is to stop using the muscles and tissues in the way that led to injury. This means loss of income, and it can mean a lot of hardship and suffering.
If you know that repetitive use injuries are due to your maritime employer’s negligence or because a vessel owner is refusing to keep things in seaworthy conditions, you may have a strong case. Get in touch with a maritime law expert to discuss your circumstances. You don’t have to destroy your body just to keep your job and earn a living.