Mistake In Date Alleged May Not Defeat The Claim

In this case the applicant filed a specific injury. The applicant failed to prove a specific injury, but showed there was a cumulative trauma. The appellate court indicated that was sufficient even though no claim form was ever filed for a cumulative trauma.

The applicant filled out a claim form for a specific injury on August 8,1994 for injury to the left wrist. A doctor told the applicant he had carpal tunnel syndrome and should not work. The claim was not denied and temporary disability was paid.

Thereafter, the applicant obtained an attorney and filed an application for adjudication alleging a back and left upper extremity injury. An amended application indicated the date of injury as August 8, 1994, but indicated that the injury was due to constant writing on a daily basis.

The Worker’s Compensation Judge (WCJ) found there was no injury once all of the medical evidence indicated that there was a cumulative trauma and not a specific.

The appeals court reversed this finding indicating that the defendant in this situation was never mislead.  Approximately one week after the reporting of the specific injury the defendant was aware that the applicant was suffering a cumulative trauma from repetitive activities. Since the defendant had knowledge they could not be prejudiced by the misstatement as to the date of injury.

This court also addressed the issue of the 90-day presumption under Labor Code section 5402. The court found that the presumption did apply under these facts since the defendant had notice of the cumulative nature of the applicant’s injury 8 days after he reported the specific injury.

The Court then went on to differentiate the Crawford v. WCAB (54 CCC 411) (1989) case. In that case the applicant was not allowed to amend his claim on the date of trial from a cumulative trauma to a specific injury. This appeals court really does not differentiate the two cases but implies that it has to do with the applicant’s ability to amend the claim years earlier. This court merely indicates that for these facts the defendant had sufficient knowledge of the details.

When analyzing this type of fact pattern you should look at the facts of both of these cases and compare them to your own facts. The most prudent course of action is to prepare and defend any potential claim as a defendant. This is a good example of better to be safe than sorry from a defendant’s perspective.

Case: Beckstead V. W.C.A.B.

Harvey Brown
3501 Jamboree Rd. Suite 602
Newport Beach, CA 92660

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