One of the most common causes of injuries on the job while working in Illinois doesn’t involve an accident at all. Many jobs involve doing the same task over and over. It could be a lot of lifting, typing, using your arm/hands on an assembly line, excessive walking, climbing or many other activities.
When your body breaks down from this type of work it’s called a repetitive trauma injury.
The workers’ compensation cases for repetitive trauma are handled just like accidents from slipping on a wet floor, popping your back while lifting a box or getting in to a car accident. For all of those claims, in order to win your case, you have to prove that your job activities caused your injury.
The difference with a repetitive trauma case is that it’s not as obvious. If you are carrying 200 pounds of steel and your back goes out on you, it’s clear to anyone reasonable (not that an insurance company won’t try to fight it anyway) that you injured yourself from that activity. But if you are claiming that doing the same thing over and over is the cause of your problem then you are almost certainly going to need a credible doctor in your corner to state that your job duties contributed to your condition.
In some cases such as when you do perform heavy lifting for months or years, it’s not that hard to get a doctor on your side if you’ve sustained a back or shoulder injury. For stuff like carpal tunnel, if you are pregnant, heavy or have diabetes – all three which can also cause carpal tunnel – you can expect to have some push back.
Often in these cases a hired gun IME will be ready to shoot down your claim because there wasn’t a specific accident. That’s not the end of the case, just more work for us to do which of course is our job so we are happy to do it.
The best thing a lawyer can offer you in a case like this is making sure that you are asking your doctor the right questions. Your doc needs a detailed description of your job duties as well as when you started noticing the pain.
Don’t forget that even though there isn’t a specific injury, there still is an accident date and you need to report your problems to your employer when you notice them and can reasonably suspect they are from your job duties. If you don’t report it you could lose your rights forever.
If any of this is confusing don’t worry. It’s not your job to figure it out on your own. We are happy to help. If you would like a confidential, no cost consultation, click our contact us button at the top of the page.