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B.R., Queens

Off The Record – Workers’ Comp – Occupational Disease

Video Transcript

So, today I wanted to talk about an important topic that came up recently about a particular type of claim, an occupational disease claim we call it. And what this is, is, you know, many people do either a labor-intensive job, or they are chronically typing on the computer. So, they develop an injury based on repetitive activities at work. Now, for example, we had a maintenance person recently who, for years, did labor-intensive maintenance in an apartment building, a lot of lifting, a lot of very repetitive going up and down floors, cleaning, emptying garbage, things like that. He developed problems with his neck. For an occupational disease claim, you have two years from the date you knew or should have known it was related to work to file, okay? Now, typically, what happens is sometimes people feel the wear and tear while they’re in the workplace, and they ignore it. They say, “Yeah, it’s just…you know, I’ll deal with it”.

In this particular situation, the person did develop a problem with their neck. They had some other issues they were seeing a doctor for, so they saw the doctor for their neck injury, but they didn’t really discuss the source or the problems that he was having, doing the lifting at work. Now what happens is you need to talk to your doctor, you need to get into specific detail about the kind of work that you do. And the doctor has to list your history, a diagnosis, and an opinion on causal relationship as to whether your repetitive activities at work caused an injury to your neck or back, or typing, carpal tunnel kind of thing.

What happened was the person was doing repetitive work prior to the pandemic, does not really talk with the doctor about the activities he did at work, mentioned that he had a problem with his neck. Fast forward after the pandemic, he hadn’t been working in the workplace for about two years. Talks with the doctor, tells him again about his neck problem. The doctor does document it, put it in writing. Ultimately, the law judge found that there was insufficient evidence that it was linked to work because he had been out of that intense working environment for about two years prior to filing the claim.

We will be appealing that decision but I just wanna tell people the importance of, when you have an injury like that, and you know that it’s caused by the chronic work activities, make sure you document it, make sure you tell your doctor straight away what’s happening, and have them put it into writing and file a timely claim as soon as the doctor puts that into writing. You have to file a C-3 claim form and a medical report linking the injury with the activities to work. That way things can go a little bit smoother. The insurance carriers typically do argue against these claims initially, but generally, after testimony about work activities and testimony from the doctor, we do get these claims successfully established.

But I just wanna point out to people that it’s very important that you prioritize getting that claim filed and documented. Because many of us, you know, we kind of deal with aches and pains, and push things to the wayside. And then ultimately, when things get to a point where we really need assistance, we may be out of luck. So, I wanna tell people, make sure you get that claim timely filed, talk with your doctor, and see us if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you.

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