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Industrial Injury v. Occupational Disease: We Explain the Difference

Getting a massage

Say you’re having back pain. Would that be considered an industrial injury or occupational disease?

Industrial Injury Explained

Let’s start with injury – RCW 51.08.100 says “injury” means a sudden and tangible happening, of a traumatic nature, producing an immediate or prompt result, and occurring from without, and such physical conditions as result therefrom. Confused yet? In sum, an injury is what results when something sudden happens and you have symptoms immediately or shortly thereafter, i.e. a fall from a ladder, broken bone, etc.

Occupational Disease Explained

How is injury different than occupational disease? RCW 51.08.140 says “occupational disease” means such disease or infection as arises naturally and proximately out of employment under the mandatory or elective adoption provisions of this title. This one is a little easier to read, but still not abundantly clear. In basic terms, an occupational disease happens over time from continuous exposure in the workplace, i.e. repetitive motion leading to joint damage, asbestosis, carpal tunnel, etc.

Legal Help from Experienced Workers’ Comp Lawyers

So, whether you’ve been injured or are suffering from symptoms related to exposure at work, go see your doctor, then call our experienced Eastern Washington workers’ comp lawyers at Carlisle + Byers for a free consultation. (509) 228-7011

Photo by Toa Heftiba from Unsplash