Unusual Exertions and Totality of Circumstances

Imagine that your job requires you to lift objects that are 15-20 pounds each. You need to lift them overhead while twisting your body around to hand them to someone standing on a platform. One day at work, you feel a burning sensation while lifting and twisting in a shoulder you've had issues with before. This injury causes permanent damage to your shoulder, so you file for worker's comp. The insurance adjusters deny your claim and say that lifting a box of that weight isn't an "unusual or extraordinary" exertion. They claim that you likely lift objects of that weight in the course of your day-to-day routine and could have hurt your shoulder the same way outside of work. Do you have a case against them?
The answer is yes!
According to the case Peterson v Fresh Market and Phoenix (2016), the "totality of circumstances" must be considered in determining whether or not your accident at work involved unusual or extraordinary exertion. In the scenario above, it could be shown that even though lifting 15-20 pounds isn't "unusual or extraordinary" by itself, the way you had to lift it was. You might lift 15-20 pound objects outside of work, but to lift them overhead and turn at the same time puts a strain on your shoulder that can be shown to be unusual or extraordinary. With consideration to this case law, you could receive full workers' comp benefits or a nice settlement at the very least.
We've won cases similar to this for our clients in the past and have the knowledge to do it again. If you or someone you know has experienced a scenario similar to the one we've described, call us at 435-592-1235 for a free review of your case!