Gradual Work Related Injuries – Tell Your Doctor What You Do At Work

Repetitive Stress InjuriesThis year, I have represented a number of hard working people that had gradual injuries.  These clients did not have a traumatic event where a heavy box fell on them or they were lifting something heavy and felt an immediate “pop” in their back.  These clients worked long hours in repetitive jobs doing the same task over and over again, day after day.  One thing every one of these clients had in common was the fact that their claims were denied by their employer’s insurance company.

Proving a gradual injury or repetitive stress injury

In Tennessee, injured workers now have to prove a gradual injury by showing that the work activity was the “primary cause” of the injury.  What we see far too often is a doctor who says that an injured worker’s hobbies or outside of work activities “could” have caused the injury.  Worse yet is the go-to line of “degenerative changes”.

What every worker should know is that fully describing your work activity is the key and it starts even before first doctor’s appointment.  What I counsel my clients to do is to make a list of the activities they do at work, be it pulling a lever, lifting a box and moving it across a room, or anything else.  Then I tell them to put down how often they are doing that activity an hour.  Then, how many hours do they do that activity a day?  How many shifts per week?  How many years have they been employed in this position?  When you do the math, sometimes the results are shocking.  By doing this math, one client and I discovered that she had pulled a heavy lever with one arm over 100,000 times in her career!

Give your doctor specific details about your gradual work injury

Once an injured worker sees this information, it is much easier to explain to the treating doctor what it is that the worker does for a living.  If you simply tell your doctor you use your shoulder to pull a lever all day, he doesn’t have as much information at his disposal as when you tell him how frequently you do that activity and you break down the math.

By providing doctors with more complete information about what kind of repetitive work is actually going on, the easier it is for doctors to determine with certainty that the work activity has caused a gradual injury.  With complete communication early on, injured workers can take a big step towards avoiding a wrongful denial of benefits.

If you’ve suffered a gradual injury or repetitive stress injury at work, call Rocky McElhaney Law Firm today

If you’ve suffered an injury at work due to repetitive actions, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Rocky McElhaney Law Firm has extensive experience representing injured workers throughout Tennessee. If you’re hurt, call us today in Nashville, Knoxville or Hendersonville, TN for a free consultation at 615-425-2500.