Can ordinary activities support a workers' compensation claim?

Even ordinary, everyday activities like walking might result in a workplace accident if an employer fails to make work environments safe. Yet a recent claim questions whether it may be getting harder to prove causation in workplace accidents.

According to the allegations, a zone merchandising supervisor for Walmart suffered a lower back injury after doing some lifting. The worker could even pinpoint the timing of the injury, as she claims she felt a popping sensation which then turned into severe, radiating pain. 

Although this incident happened while the worker was still on duty, there is a catch: The popping did not happen at the time of the lifting, but a short while later, while the worker was doing nothing more than walking.

In this case, the Walmart worker did report the injury to her manager, but an accident report was not filled out, perhaps because the worker thought the pain would subside. Unfortunately, the opposite occurred, with the pain increasing to the point where the worker had to take leave from work. A diagnosis revealed protruding lumbar spinal discs and mild displacement of the corresponding nerve roots.

Our law firm focuses on workers’ compensation claims, and we understand the importance of following procedures after an on-the-job injury. Typically, an employee should promptly report any workplace accidents and related injuries to his or her supervisor. An accident report is also typically prepared at that time, while the details are still fresh. Finally, it’s also never too early to contact an attorney to assist in the claims process and ensure that a worker receives a benefits package that will adequately restore him or her to pre-accident health, to the extent possible. 

Source: workerscompensation.com, “Court Finds Popping Incident In Low Back While Walking Not Work Related,” Dec. 29, 2015

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