Not every injury occurs in one traumatic event. Some injuries occur over time, months even years. These are what are referred to as Occupational Diseases
What is an Occupational DiseaseIt doesn't take an expert to know that an employee using a saw to cut a piece of wood that accidently slips and that employee looses a finger, that that is a work related injury. But what about an injury that didn't occur in a instant?
Many workers perform repetitive actions countless times a day, week after week, month after month. Those repetitive activities can begin to wear down parts of the body, causing small injuries every day.
Over time those small injuries accumulate to a point where they become symptomatic and disabling and sometimes an employee isn't even aware of what caused their pain or injury.
These are the injuries know as Occupational Diseases.
The classic example is carpel tunnel syndrome but there are others. Tears can develop in shoulders and knees from long term repetitive activities and similar injuries can occur from extended use of vibratory tools such as drills, hammers etc. If an employee's work activities are shown to have caused these occupational injuries, one can seek not only medical treatment but weekly workers compensation checks from their employers workers compensation insurance.
CausationOne of the most important issues with occupational diseases is causation, meaning, what caused my injury? Often employees will seek treatment and simply tell the doctor that their wrist or shoulder or knee hurts. Its common where there is no discussion in the medical reports about what the employee does on a daily basis and how that may be the cause of their current complaints.
If you have a job that requires repetitive activities, its important to let your doctor know.
However if you don't, all is not lost. I routinely will ask a doctor who hasn't considered the possibility that the employee's work activities are the source of their injury and ask for their opinion if they believe the job duties are the cause.
If you believe you are suffering from an occupational disease, don't hesitate to contact a Workers' Compensation lawyer!