There are three basic types of injuries covered by workers compensation. The general classifications outlined below are merely a guide. There are other types of injuries that may be a combination of the classifications. For example, a traumatic injury to one’s knee could produce arthritis, which could be aggravated by continued use over a long period of time. The continued (cumulative) use results in stress being placed on an injured joint, which can cause further deterioration and disability. Also, it should be kept in mind that injuries can result from the aggravation of a pre-existing condition, even if that condition is not work-related. For example, a person could have a non-work-related arthritic condition that could be considered work-related if that condition is aggravated by certain work activities. The rule is that you do not necessarily have to sustain a traumatic injury at work in order for your condition to be considered compensable. The attorneys at Yablonski, Costello & Leckie can help you figure out if you have a case or not, contact us today.
TRAUMATIC: A traumatic injury is generally considered as one that results from some external force or violence. Typically these injuries include broken bones, wounds, bruises, bumps and other abrasions that are incurred by the body as a result of some external force. For example, tripping, slipping, falling or being injured by machinery or moving objects are injuries generally classified as traumatic in nature. These are the easiest injuries to recognize because most of the time they are the result of some accident that produces a readily identifiable result. For example, falling down a flight of stairs at work can result in broken bones and other bodily wounds. Catching an arm or a leg in a piece of moving machinery can produce external results. Again, the chief characteristic of a traumatic injury is that it is readily identifiable.
CUMULATIVE: Cumulative injuries are not as easy to identify as traumatic injuries. These are basically injuries that are the result of day-to-day stress on the body over a long period of time. For example, walking on hard concrete floors on a daily basis can produce certain bodily changes that do not become apparent until after many years. Occupational diseases that result from the inhalation of dust take years to develop. Arthritic problems that are the result of stresses placed on the body for prolonged periods of time are also examples of cumulative injuries.
REPETITIVE: Repetitive injuries differ from cumulative and traumatic injuries in that these types of injuries are the result of a systematic and predictable use of a body part that results in the development of a condition because of the simple repetitive nature of the job being performed. For example, repetitive use of the wrists and elbows (such as would be found in assembly line work or work at a computer terminal) can produce carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis even after a short period of time. It is the use of the body part in a repetitive motion that seems to cause the problems in these types of cases. Although cumulative and repetitive injuries seem to be similar, they are in fact slightly different in that repetitive injuries do not necessarily take a long period of time to develop. Cumulative injuries, on the other hand, normally take longer to cause symptoms as a general rule.
Whatever the nature of your health problem, it would be prudent to always check with your doctor to determine if in fact your condition bears any relationship to your work. Remember, the law is there for your use and protection.
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