Notice of a work- related injury should be given to a supervisor, human resources director, or someone else in a position of authority with the employer. This person should give you a DWC-1 to fill out. The DWC-1 outlines the nature of your work injury and how it relates to your work. You or your employer should then recommend you to a Redding Worker's Compensation doctor to document the injury and seek treatment.
However, some injuries are difficult to determine if they are work related. The legal test is whether the injury arose out of employment through the course of the employment.
Job Duties Cause an Injury or Disabling Condition Through Repetitive Use During Your Employment.
Not all work comp injuries are the result of one specific incident. If you fall down a flight of stairs and break your leg while at work, anyone could determine the specific time and date the work injury occurred. This is considered a "specific injury." It is fairly easy to determine if this injury is work-related.
However, some injuries are more difficult to determine if they were directly caused by your employment. For example, what about work activities which over a period of time result in a painful or disabling medical condition? An example of this kind of injury would be someone who does manual labor and spends all day, everyday, bent over shoveling or lifting. Due to the lifting and shoveling, this person develops lumbar back pain which requires medical treatment. If the work activities of lifting and shoveling contributed to his/ her back injury, this would be a repetitive injury work comp claim. Other examples would include: if you use your hands repetitively at work and you develop hand/wrist pain; or if you do a lot of walking and climbing and develop knee pain; or if you are exposed to toxins and/or chemicals over a period of time and develop respiratory problems; or if you are exposed to loud noises at work and gradually develop hearing problems. These types of injuries are labeled repetitive, or "cumulative trauma" injuries.
Cumulative trauma injuries happen gradually at work, over a period of time or during a course of repetitive action. These injuries are generally considered to arise out of your employment through the course of doing your work activities. Therefore, they would be a work-related injury and fall under work comp.
One of the trickiest parts of cumulative injuries is determining the date injury occurred. The date of injury for a repetitive use injury, can be the first date you see a physician, the first day you become disabled or limited from the injury, or the last day you work, among other possible dates.
If you suspect that you have such a claim from your work activities, you should give notice to your employer immediately, explaining you have a medical condition which you believe is related to your work activities. Again, follow-up with your physician right away and describe in detail what your job duties were and how they seemed to cause or increase your symptoms.Our Recommendation:If you are unsure whether you have been injured on the job, or if you have a medical condition or disability which you believe was caused or aggravated by your work activities, immediately file a report of injury with your employer and contact our office for a FREE consultation. We will advise you of the rights and benefits available to you.