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Common job injuries that workers overlook: Do you have one?

North Carolina employees can often receive workers' compensation benefits for their job-related health conditions. For example, if you trip at the office and break your ankle, your employer's workers' compensation insurance should pay for your medical care. Or, if you develop a repetitive use injury from typing too much, you might also be able to receive benefits.

But what if you get hurt by your job but you fail to realize the health problem is connected to your employment? You'll fail to report the injury to your employer, and you'll fail to pursue a workers' compensation claim. You'll never receive the valuable benefits to which you're entitled.

Here's a short list of health conditions that workers commonly overlook:

Hearing loss: If you work around loud noises and get exposed to constant noise pollution, your ears and hearing could be getting damaged. For example, construction workers who are exposed to loud machinery and service industry workers who are exposed to loud music could be at risk of such injuries.

Breathing problems: Workers might find themselves being exposed to poor air quality, dangerous chemicals, dust or asbestos, which results in a serious breathing problem.

Heart conditions: You might experience a heart problem away from work, but was it work-related stress that caused the heart condition to develop?

Hand and wrist conditions: Repetitive keyboard and computer use -- and other repetitive tasks -- can result in carpal tunnel syndrome and nerve damage.

Back pain: Heavy lifting or prolonged sitting can cause painful neck and back conditions.

Hernias: A hernia might be discovered while you're at home, but it could have been the heavy lifting you were doing at work that caused the health problem.

Eye strain: Your eyes are essential to navigating the world and doing your job, but sometimes your job can endanger your vision. Eye strain is one type of eye problem that workers might not realize their job is causing.

Any time you develop a serious health problem -- and especially if the health condition prevents you from working -- consider whether your job may be to blame. If you can make a case to prove your health problem is job-related, you might be able to get workers' compensation insurance to pay for your medical care and time spent away from work.

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