Work injuries don’t always happen in a matter of moments. Sometimes work injuries are the result of years and decades of minute trauma and stress. These types of cumulative trauma injuries have a name – they are called Gillette injuries. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at Gillette injuries and how to earn benefits for this type of injury.
Understanding Gillette Injuries
The term Gillette injury gets its name from the case that originally defined it; Gillette v. Harold Inc. During that case the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that a workers’ compensation injury is not limited to one distinct event, and can extend over a continuous period of time. The court specifically stated that “in the course of one’s ordinary duties, injuries may occur daily which may cause minimal damage, the cumulative effect of which in the course of time may be as injurious as a single traumatic occurrence which is completely disabling.”
Here’s a look at a few examples of potential activities that could bring about a Gillette injury.
- Assembly line work
- Repetitive activities (bending, stooping, twisting, etc.)
- Carpal tunnel from excessive hand activities
Determining and Proving Gillette Injuries in Minnesota
Few people who have been in the workforce for decades can say their bodies are as spry as they were in their twenties, so how do you go about proving that your work duties have contributed to direct physical damage and that you are entitled to benefits? Minnesota law states that a number of “ascertainable events” can help build your Gillette injury case. If you’ve experienced any of these factors, you may be able to make a valid claim. Also, keep in mind that the following examples aren’t the only evidential factors that can support your claim:
- Modification of job duties due to a doctor recommendation
- Dates of medical examinations pertaining to your soreness or injury
- MRI results showing structural damage
- A medical determination that pain is related to a worker’s employment or job duties
- Symptom intensity upon performing certain work actions
- Seeking medical care for the injury despite not missing significant work time
These factors can help build your case, but they won’t outright prove a Gillette injury. In order to prove a Gillette injury, the Minnesota Supreme Court decided that a person needs to prove a causal connection between their ordinary work and their resulting disability. Your testimony alone will not be enough. In order to really make a case for your Gillette injury claim, you will need medical evidence, which is why it’s important to track all your medical appointments associated with your pain. This is where having an attorney on your side is beneficial. Your attorney will get a list of your daily activities from both you and your employer, and can work with your physician or an independent medical examiner to prove that your cumulative trauma is a result of your work requirements.
One last note – some Gillette claims have been granted for employees who have worked at jobs for as little as a month, while other claims are only proved with years of physical stress. It’s uncertain how your claim may be viewed until you sit down with a workers’ compensation attorney and lay out all the facts. Contact us today for more information.
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