Workplace accidents can happen in a variety of professions, especially to those in the dental hygienist profession. Dental hygienists, in particular, are susceptible to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), according to the Department of Public Health.
In this article, we will include the case law of importance, as well as why a dental hygienist is susceptible to musculoskeletal problems.
For those injured in such a way in this profession, we urge you to reach out to our team at Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law. Brandon, as well as the work injury lawyers on staff have experience in dealing with work injury-related cases.
What Is A Dental Hygienist?
A dental hygienist is a licensed state occupation, which consists of duties such as patient screening and oral health assessments, as well as the review of a patient's health history, and more. They usually work in a dental office, but sometimes work for hospitals, community health clinics, public health organizations, or in an educational capacity in public school systems and dental colleges.
Most of the time, a dental hygienist examines patients who are seated in the dental chair. Being in such a position for extended hours can lead to injuries, such as musculoskeletal disorders.
What Are Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD)?
Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are injuries or disorders of the muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, cartilage, and spinal discs.
Common types of musculoskeletal disorders include:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Muscle or tendon strains
- Tension neck syndrome
- Rotator cuff tendonitis
- Ligament sprain
- Degenerative disc disease
- Herniated disc
Musculoskeletal Injuries Impacting Dental Hygienists
A wide variety of musculoskeletal conditions can affect dental hygienists. Upper extremity issues are the most notable. Included among these diseases or ailments affecting the upper extremities are tendinitis, tennis elbow, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
To Qualify For Workers' Comp, Injuries Must Be "Work-Related"
You most likely qualify for workers' compensation benefits if your injury or condition is a direct result of your work duties. In the case of a dental hygienist who is suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, for example, likely developed the condition during the course of their employment. Or, if they experience tendinitis in their back from being hunched over in a chair examining patients for years. In both cases, it's likely, workers' compensation benefits will be granted.
Any injuries sustained while carrying out actions associated with your job duties are referred to as "work-related injuries." The workplace is defined by OSHA as "the establishment and other locations where one or more employees are working or are present as a condition of their employment".
What Benefits Do You Receive From Workers' Compensation?
In New Jersey, workers' compensation covers lost wages and medical expenses for treating your work-related injuries.
If you have a work-related injury or condition, your employer is responsible for paying for any necessary and appropriate medical care, often through their workers' compensation insurance carrier. This includes all varieties of medical care, including operations, hospital stays, prescription medications, physical therapy, and physician visits. Be aware that in New Jersey, subject to certain restrictions, your employer has the right to choose the medical doctor who will evaluate and treat your work injury.
You may be entitled to wage loss benefits if an injury keeps you from working for more than seven days. The amount of these benefits is typically 70% of your average weekly pay, subject to a minimum and maximum rate set by law. This is offered for 400 weeks, or until you can resume work or reach the point of maximal medical recovery.
Have a Workers' Compensation Claim and Need Assistance?
If you're a dental hygienist who has suffered an injury or developed a condition at work, you should file a workers' comp claim as soon as possible. Our team of New Jersey workers' compensation attorneys can help guide you through the process, or assist you if you need assistance. Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, has years of experience with NJ workers' compensation cases and benefits.
Many clients in your position have received our assistance and are better off because of it. Give us a call as soon as possible to go over the specifics of your injury, and together, we can determine potential solutions.