Many injured workers receive multiple injuries in a work accident. The insurance carrier covers one or more injuries, but fails to cover some of the additional injuries. For example, an injured worker may slip and fall on ice and hurt his shoulder and a week later may start complaining of back problems. The insurance company takes the position that only the shoulder is part of the claim, even though the back was injured too.
In this type of case, it is typically important that the back symptoms be reported to the doctor as soon as possible after the accident date. The more time that elapses after a fall and the commencement of symptoms, especially if the injured worker had a pre-existing history of similar back problems, the less likely a judge will believe that the client’s back was injured in the fall.
Moreover, if an incident report is completed by your employer right after the fall, and the incident reports only mentions the shoulder injury, this will further convince the judge that only the shoulder was injured in the fall. Be sure to fully describe the accident by including all body parts that were involved, even if there is currently no pain. Many times an injured body part does not become painful immediately after the incident.
If you have a work related injury and only report one or two injuries right after the fall, the more injuries crop up days or weeks later, it is very important that you try to get the doctor to say that the other injuries are related to the fall and have the doctor explain why the initial incident report and/or initial medical records only mention part of the injuries you suffered in the fall.
If you are required to go before a hearing member (a judge), to prove your case that the other injuries were caused by the fall, it is our firm’s experience that the closer to the accident date that the other injuries are documented the more likely it is you will prevail. Also, if you had similar symptoms before the fall, such as a history of back problems leading up to the fall, the judge may not believe that the fall caused by the back problems.