Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Work Injuries Can Develop Slowly Over Weeks or Even Years

Injuries are generally thought to be the result of a specific occurrence; i.e. you lift a heavy object at work and hurt your back.  However, Minnesota workers’ compensation law recognizes that not all injuries occur as the result of a single incident. Some injuries are the result of a degenerative process caused by the physical stresses of particular jobs over a period of time. These injuries are referred to in workers’ compensation parlance as “repetitive minute trauma,” or “Gillette” injuries.  Gillette injuries can develop over a few weeks or many years of trauma.  Injuries can occur to just about any part of your body and both the employee and his/her treating doctor generally overlook the cause.

Gillette injuries are as compensable as injuries that occur as a result of a specific occurrence.  Because of the nature of these injuries, however, the question arises as to the exact date of injury. This question is significant because generally it is the insurer covering you as of the “date of the injury” which is responsible for providing workers’ compensation benefits. The general rule holds that a Gillette injury has not occurred, or “culminated,” until the employee has either lost time from work or required a change of duties because of his or her physical condition. It should be noted, however, that there are frequent exceptions to this rule depending upon the facts of each individual case.

If you feel you may have sustained an injury over time as described above, please contact attorney Thomas Atkinson at MN Disability and we can examine your work history along with you doctor to investigate the possibility of an overlooked work injury.  Mr. Atkinson sees clients throughout Minnesota and the Twin Cities seven days a week and you can generally reach him in person by calling his office at 651-324-9514. You can also visit his web site www.mndisability.com