Symptoms that appear long after an initial injury at work can seem worse than the original injury. In Minnesota, the state’s definition of work-related injuries includes gradual injuries or injuries that are aggravated or accelerated by work tasks. Proactively pursuing a workers’ compensation claim is always smarter than waiting and hoping you’ll receive benefits. This includes when you have delayed-onset symptoms.
Work injuries and illnesses can emerge gradually
Minnesota law recognizes occupational diseases such as asbestosis and carpel tunnel syndrome as falling under workers’ compensation law. These diseases tend to get worse over time when you’re continually exposed to the hazards that cause them. Other types of injuries may seem mild at first but gradually create more and more pain and limitation.
Don’t play tough when you are hurt at work. Go to the ER if the injury is severe. If you see a physician in a non-emergency setting, be clear you are there to have your symptoms evaluated for a work injury. If symptoms emerge later that you believe are related to your work injury, have them evaluated separately.
Additionally, seek help from an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to ensure that you document your injury symptoms properly, and file your case within the two-year statute of limitations. The attorney also can discuss strategies for including a delayed-onset symptom in an active workers’ comp case.
Get medical attention for all work injury symptoms
Don’t delay your medical appointment for a new symptom – your employer or their insurer may more easily argue that your injury or illness isn’t related to your job. Prompt medical evaluation is always your best defense against having your workers’ compensation claim denied.