Can I Get Workers Compensation for a Repetitive Injury in Virginia?

Jerry Lutkenhaus

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It is common for a worker to work all day long and then not suffer any problem until the next day when he cannot get out of bed. This type of claim is generally not compensable under Virginia Workers Comp Law for an injured worker.

First, if you lift 50 pound widgets all day long and feel no problem but wake up the next day with a back ache, you will not have a compensable claim under Virginia Law. The rationale is you cannot tie your back injury to a “specific incident. "

Second, on the other hand if you are lifting 50 pound widgets all day long and your back goes out while lifting the 99th widget, you may very well have a compensable claim. In this scenario, you can point to a “specific incident" that has caused your back injury. This is especially true if your doctor will agree the 99th wideget caused your back injury based on the history you gave to the doctor.

Third, this is why insurance companies will take recorded statements as soon as possible after an accident in order to lock in place what the injured worker's version of the accident actually was.

Fourth, the worker may be able to save the day if the worker can point to a twinge, pull, sharp pain, etc. that occurred while lifting one of the objects. Of course, the doctor will have to agree this particular event was the cause of the back injury.

Fourth, Virginia has adopted two exceptions to this repetitive injury rule for carpal tunnel syndrome and hearing loss. If the worker can establish the carpal tunnel syndrome or hearing loss was caused by work and exclude other causes, then the worker may have a compensable claim. However, problems like tendonitis will still be denied.

This may be considered AN ADVERTISEMENT or Advertising Material under the Rules of Professional Conduct governing lawyers in Virginia. This note is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

Gerald G. Lutkenhaus-has been doing workers compensation in Virginia for over 30 years. In the July 1999 issue of Richmond Magazine he was rated one of the Best Attorneys for Workers Compensation in Central Virginia. In 2003 he was giving the rating of AV by Martindale Hubbell.

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