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."
Identifying the Specific Injury
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 widget caused your back injury based on the history you gave to the doctor.
The Recorded Statement
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.
Any Kind of Twinge, Discomfort or Pain
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.