If you have an injury that gradually got worse over time, you may wonder if it was related to your job duties. To get workers’ compensation for the injury, you will have to prove that the injury arose out of and occurred in the course of your employment.
Types of injuries that can occur over a long time period include:
- Repetitive strain or stress injuries
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Occupational diseases
- PTSD and other mental conditions
Some of these conditions may grow worse if you continue performing aggravating tasks, while others may take a long time to show symptoms.
Insurance Company’s Defense
Insurance companies often deny benefits for injuries that occurred over a long time and are not obviously work-related. They send out surveillance teams to attempt to catch you performing tasks that would cause the injury. They send you to an “independent” doctor for a medical exam during which you are asked questions about your non-work activities. They examine your job requirements and try to argue that you do not perform any tasks that would cause the injury.
When the insurance company starts putting money into your case, trying to show that you do not qualify for benefits, you may start getting nervous. Your chances of a settlement may seem poor, or you may believe that you cannot win at the hearing. Fortunately, there are ways for you to show that the injury was work-related.
Your Evidence that the Injury Is Work-Related
Your strongest allies in showing your injury was work-related are your doctor and your lawyer. Your doctor can review your case and give different written opinions than the independent medical examiner chosen by the insurance company. Your lawyer can send you to additional medical exams if needed, find witnesses, and develop arguments about how your injury occurred. The gathered evidence and arguments can be used at the hearing or to motivate settlement.
Primarily you will need to show that activities outside work could not have caused or were very unlikely to have caused the injury. For example, if you have carpal tunnel your lawyer could gather evidence showing that you do not have a computer at home and do not perform any other repetitive fine motor movements with your hands and wrists. The kind of evidence you need will depend on your case.
Do you have a long-term injury that you think is related to work? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.