The DOI for a specific injury is the date the IE sustained the injury. The DOI for an occupational disease, which includes a repetitive trauma injury, is the date the IE knew or should have known the disease may be related to the IE's employment. TLC Section 408.007; APD 972321. This is not necessarily the date on which symptoms first appeared, but is the date on which a reasonable person recognizes the nature, seriousness, and work-related nature of the disease. Commercial Ins. Co. of Newark, New Jersey v. Smith, 596 S.W.2d 661, 665 (Tex. Civ. App.-Ft. Worth 1980, writ ref'd n.r.e.).
The ALJ is required to find a specific DOI. APD 080023. Establishing a DOI is essential in resolving the compensability of a claim. APD 012707; APD 170666; and APD 190874. The IE bears the burden to prove the DOI by a preponderance of the evidence. APD 962650. The ALJ is given wide latitude in deciding a DOI. APD 021632. However, the ALJ may not refuse to resolve the issue by saying the IE has not proven a DOI. APD 080720. It is not necessary that the DOI found by an ALJ be the same as the date alleged by the IE when the evidence indicates otherwise. APD 080023.