Are you tasked frequently with running a jackhammer for your construction company and are experiencing a lot of pain in your elbows and shoulders? Or maybe you work in an office and have to sit for hours at a time relentlessly typing away, and your doctor or healthcare professional just diagnosed you with CPS (carpal tunnel syndrome). It may be that you often work on an assembly line, and now you start to feel pain with every one of the movements you repeat on a daily basis.
It is worth noting that medical professionals now have a much better understanding of cumulative injuries as well as occupational diseases than in the past. However, that does not mean it is easy or simple to recover your workers’ comp benefits in California if you sustain cumulative work-related injuries.
What is a Cumulative Trauma Injury?
Do you have a work-related injury that resulted from repetitive motions and/or strains like the ones described above? If yes, then you may be eligible for compensation for your cumulative injuries. Experts and the law define a cumulative injury as one that often results from repeated actions or motions rather than one specific event. Therefore, it is an injury that usually takes place over time instead of a single moment.
Keep in mind that these repeated actions may include:
- Repeated exposure (such as inhalation of silica dust)
- Repetitive motions (that cause carpal tunnel syndrome)
- Or repeated lifting, walking, bending, stooping, pushing and pulling
Therefore, cumulative trauma or CT injuries are not because of one specific action or event. Rather, it happens gradually over a period at work. It can also happen during a course of repetitive and constant movements that, by themselves, would not cause an injury, but together, can cause considerable pain or even a disabling medical condition. Keep in mind that these injuries might relate directly to the performance or execution of your job, like typing or lifting. On the other hand, they may be a result of frequent exposure to something, such as airborne chemicals, in the atmosphere of your job.
Some examples of cumulative injuries are:
- Back injuries
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Tennis and golfer’s elbow
- Rotator cuff tendonitis
- Raynaud’s syndrome
Cumulative injuries typically fall into one of these three main categories:
Cumulative Trauma Injuries
Note that repetitive body movements over time often cause these injuries. A worker, for example, could be required to use his or her hands and wrists on a continuous basis while working at their computer or cash register and, as a result, develop CPS. Similarly, heavy lifting on a daily basis can cause an employee to suffer from back pain and many other back injuries that can get worse by continual lifting.
Cumulative Exposure Injuries
Note that these injuries are often caused by exposure to various toxic substances in the work environment. These substances can be asbestos or hazardous chemicals or conditions such as loud noises. Also, these are likely to lead to occupational illnesses, like cancer, usually life-threatening, or even loss of hearing.
As often the diseases will not develop until many years after the exposure, it makes it more challenging and trickier to establish that the worker’s job triggered it. This is why you need a West Coast workers’ compensation attorney by your side.
Cumulative Psychological Trauma
You may also develop some cumulative psychological injuries when you are exposed to workplace stress on a repeated basis. While you may truly enjoy your job, you may still experience some psychological stress at work. It is worth noting that this may cause you to suffer serious mental or psychological health conditions, like depression, anxiety, insomnia, and stomach problems, etc.
Difficulties with Cumulative Injury Claims in California
It is important to note that when you file worker’s comp claims for cumulative injuries in California, you are likely to be denied than when you file claims for injuries sustained in a single accident. Wondering why? It is because of the greater difficulty that people may need to establish that their cumulative injuries were caused due to their job activity rather than an event outside of work or an unrelated factor.
For example, if you are hit with a forklift at your workplace, the injuries sustained are clearly work-related. On the other hand, if you suffer shoulder or neck pain and numbness due to constant lifting, there is a greater opportunity for your employer to claim that your injury was caused by various other things you were engaged in outside of work.
And this makes it essential to secure substantive and credible medical documentation to clearly show the link between the job and the development or progression of your injury or condition over time. This is where West Coast Workers Comp can make a difference.
Get in Touch with a West Coast Cumulative Injury Lawyer
You will likely benefit a lot from speaking with West Coast Workers Comp if you think that you have suffered a cumulative injury while on your job. West Coast Workers Comp is experienced, proficient, and patient and knows how to work effectively with medical professionals. While these injuries should ideally be fully covered by workers’ compensation in California, employers often try their best to avoid paying compensation benefits for these injuries.