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DATE OF INJURY (DOI)

"The date of injury, except in cases of occupational disease or cumulative injury, is that date during the employment on which
occurred the alleged incident or exposure, for the consequences of which compensation is claimed." Labor Code §5411
 
"The date of injury in cases of occupational diseases or cumulative injuries is that date upon which the employee first suffered disability therefrom and either knew, or in the exercise of reasonable diligence should have known, that such disability was
caused by his present or prior employment." Labor Code §5412

The last day worked or date of last injurious exposure is not necessarily the date of injury in a cumulative trauma case. There may also be a series of minor accidents that are "micro-traumas" that coalesce into a cumulative trauma. 

There is a distinction, however, between date of injury for purposes of the statute of limitations and date of injury for purposes of determining earnings for temporary or permanent disability. While generally the law and benefits in effect on the date of injury control the benefits (Labor Code §4453.5), this may not always be the case:

"the statute of limitations does not necessarily commence to run upon an employee's claim for injury, despite the fact that the claim itself may have come into existence. This is so because the proviso of [LC  §3208.1] defines the date of a cumulative injury as the date of disability caused thereby. Thus it may be that an employee's activities have given rise to the occurrence of a separate injury and thus the accrual of a right of action, in that the activities or their cumulative effect have caused a need for medical treatment. However, if the employment activities have not yet caused any disability, there has been no "date of injury" as defined by the proviso of  [LC  §3208.1], so that under [LC  §5405] the statute of limitations has not yet commenced to run."
Ferguson v. City of Oxnard (1970) 35 CCC 452 

See, too, Disability and Time Limits & Statutes of Limitations

Label Item Links Comments
Labor Code Specific: "The date of injury, except in cases of occupational disease or cumulative injury, is that date during the employment on which occurred the alleged incident or exposure, for the consequences ofwhich compensation is claimed." Labor Code §5411  
  Cumulative: The date of injury in cases of occupational diseases or cumulative injuries is that date upon which the employee first suffered disability therefrom and either knew, or in the exercise of reasonable diligence should have known, that such disability wascaused by his present or prior employment."
Labor Code §5412
Regulations/Rules
Cases
SCIF v. WCAB (Rodarte) (2004) 119 CA4th 998:
“[W]e conclude that either compensable temporary disability or permanent disability is required to satisfy section 5412. Medical treatment alone is not disability, but it may be evidence of compensable permanent disability, as may a need for splints and modified work. These are questions for the trier of fact to determine and may require expert medical opinion.
SCIF v. WCAB (Rodarte)  
Forms    
Websites  
Practice Tips This can be a booby trap for the unwary. The DOI may be obvious if a boom fell on a worker on a certain day, but the DOI for occupational disease or cumulative trauma has created much litigation. It is essential to determine when and how the worker suffered disability and when he or she knew or should have known it was work-related. Because of all the changes from the reforms of SB 899 and SB 863, the choice of dates, if there is a choice, is crucial.  
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