What Is a Cumulative Trauma Injury, and Will Workers’ Comp Cover It?

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San Jose cumulative work injury lawyerOn-the-job injuries are often sustained in a workplace accident such as a slip and fall or a mishap with a tool or piece of equipment. The law refers to this as a “specific” injury. However, California workers’ compensation law recognizes another type of injury: a cumulative trauma injury.

Cumulative trauma injuries are caused by repetitive mentally or physically traumatic activities that happen over days, weeks, months, or years. These activities can cause disability or the need for medical care.

The number of cumulative trauma claims is rising. This year, California’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau disclosed that cumulative trauma injury claims as a percentage of workers’ comp lost time cases had more than doubled over the past 10 years, increasing to about 18 percent of cases in 2015.

Types of Cumulative Trauma Injuries

Examples of cumulative trauma injuries include:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Back injuries
  • Tendonitis
  • Tennis and golfer’s elbow
  • Raynaud’s syndrome
  • Rotator cuff tendonitis

Carpal tunnel syndrome and back injuries are the most common cumulative trauma injuries. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the nerves in the wrist are compressed. These injuries can result in pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome is most likely to affect office workers who use computers in the course of their job. Cortisone shots and wrist braces are often used in the treatment of this condition.

Back injuries can occur in almost any job setting. Jobs that require repetitive lifting or standing frequently lead to back injuries. Examples of these jobs include airline workers required to lift baggage and grocery store employees.

Contact a California Cumulative Trauma Injury Attorney

If you believe that you have sustained a cumulative trauma injury while on the job, you will likely benefit from speaking with an attorney. These injuries should be fully covered by workers’ comp; however, employers sometimes try to avoid paying compensation for these injuries, believing that they are faked so that the worker can receive benefits.

As a worker with such an injury, you know that you have a real need for medical treatment, and you should receive compensation for that treatment as the law provides. In these cases, representation by an experienced attorney is essential, since cumulative trauma injuries can be difficult to prove because they can be incurred over a period of time. 

Employees must bring an injury claim by a certain date, so you should reach out to a trusted Santa Clara County workplace injury attorney as soon as possible. Contact the law firm of Corsiglia McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. at 408-289-1417 to schedule a free case evaluation today.


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