It is our opinion that gradual injuries are among the most underreported industrial injuries. Typically, a clear red flag goes up when you have an accident at work or have a traumatic injury requiring treatment. Other work related injuries are not so obvious. What if, over a period of time, your back begins to hurt after a long day of stocking shelves or hanging drywall? The pain starts to happen every day. Eventually, it interferes with your performance at work and maybe even your daily life. Many people chalk the pain up to a hard work and getting older. Sometimes the pain may very well be the natural result of aging but other times, it is the result of repetitive job duties.
When a condition has developed, not instantaneously, but gradually, over a period of time, resulting in a definite injury, which is definitely work-connected, then the injury is the result of an "accident" within the terms of our Workmen's Compensation Act, and you can receive compensation for it. It's worth looking into, don't you think?
How do you go about getting workers' compensation benefits for a gradual claim? We have to show that the injury arose out of and in the course of your employment. Typically, this will require a doctor testifying that your injury was caused by your work activities. For example, a doctor would have to testify that your herniated disc is not the result of natural degeneration but is the result of your repetitive job duties.
Keep in mind that there is a one year statute of limitations for gradual injuries that begins to run when the injury becomes obvious, when you know or should have known that you have a compensable injury, or when you are told about the injury by a doctor – whichever comes first. Basically, the sooner the injury is reported, the better. So, if you think you might have a gradual injury caused by your job, contact our office to review your case as soon as possible.