Welcome Back to Workers’ Comp Wednesdays (or WCW)
Believe it or not one of the biggest issues in a worker’s compensation claim, can be determining the date on which you were injured – seems simple right? Well not always, if you were hurt from a specific incident – like you picked up a box and injured your back or you fell down some stairs and hurt yourself, the date of injury is going to be pretty easy to determine.
However, there are some instances, like in repetitive trauma cases – carpal tunnel syndrome or overuse injuries, the date of injury might not be so obvious. In repetitive trauma injuries, the Labor Code and the Rules of the Texas Department of Insurance – Division of Workers’ Compensation state that the date of injury is when you knew or should have known that you were injured and that it was work related. This is somewhat a subjective standard and usually relies on what a “reasonable person” would have done.
For example, if you work in a warehouse and are lifting boxes all day, you may sustain a repetitive trauma injury. That is to say, your injury didn’t happen from picking up a specific box, but it was a result of the repetitive motion of lifting boxes all day. Many times when workers are injured in this way, they may not even realize that they are injured for some time. It is common for workers’ in this type of job to be sore by the end of the day or to have minor aches and pains. So more often than not an injured worker in this situation, may minimize his or her condition and believe that they are not actually injured, but just “sore.”
This situation may lead to the insurance carrier or the employer trying to argue that there was a delay in reporting and the claim should be denied or further investigated. Either scenario leads to a delay in your benefits. It is important to remember, that the law allows an injured worker 30 days to report the injury to their employer. This reporting issue is one of the big reasons why the date of injury is so important – the law states you have 30 days from the date of injury to report the injury to your employer. So depending on what the evidence shows your date of injury there may or may not be a timely reporting issue.
One of the big things to look for when trying to determine your date of injury from a repetitive trauma injury is the initial medical treatment. The initial medical records are important with any injury; however they are particularly important when determining a date of injury. Initial medical records contain important information regarding how and when the injury happened as well as what the nature of the injury is. If you have questions about your date of injury or any other aspect of your workers’ compensation claim,contact The Recalde Law Firm at 1-855-687-9903.