A back injury from lifting at work job duties can form the basis of a legitimate workers compensation claim. A work injury can be caused by a single traumatic lifting incident, or it can occur slowly from job duties over time. An injury or medical condition caused by job duties over time is called an occupational disease resulting in back surgery, back fusion or laminectomy.
Generally, an occupational disease is mental or physical harm that results from work but is not so sudden or traumatic as to fit within the definition of an accident. The work exposure can be short, but for most conditions it has to be persuasively long enough. Unlike some states, Wisconsin has not statutorily included or excluded any occupational disease from its worker’s compensation benefit provisions. Nor has any appellate court excluded any potential occupational disease from consideration.
In Shelby Mutual Insurance Co. v. DILHR, 109 Wis. 2d 655 (Ct. App. 1982), the workers’ compensation claim of occupational disease was broadened to include a series of work-related traumatic back injuries that had occurred over many years. The employee’s disability had not been apportioned by a doctor among the injuries, and the insurer that was on the risk on the injured employee’s last day of work was found responsible for the entire disability. A compensable occupational disease injury may be found to exist even if there is no identifiable traumatic injury. Wisconsin Ins. Sec. Fund v. LIRC, 2005 WI App 242, ¶¶ 9-12, 288 Wis. 2d 206 , 707 N.W.2d 293.
The date of injury for occupational diseases is the date of disability. If all employment that contributed to the disability stopped before the date of disability, the last day of work for the last employer whose employment caused the disability is then the date of injury employer. Wis. Stat. § 102.01(2)(g) 2. The date of disability is important because it determines the maximum limitations on wages and benefits, which govern the claim and determines which employer or insurer is liable. See Wis. Stat. § 102.03(4). Wisconsin courts and LIRC have consistently determined the date of disability to be “the first date of wage loss through lost work time attributable to the effects of the occupational disease.” Adams v. Cub Foods, WC Claim No. 91-074342 (LIRC Mar. 31, 1993); see also Royal-Globe Ins. Co. v. DILHR, 82 Wis. 2d 90 (1978).
At McCormick Law Office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin our attorneys assemble the necessary documentation for a lifting at work job duties or occupational back injury claim. The best results come with a detailed, accurate and trustworthy job description outlining the physical demands of an employee such as a construction worker or factory worker.