Cumulative Trauma Injuries at Work

Cumulative Trauma Injuries at Work

The injuries most commonly associated with California workers’ compensation claims are specific and sustained in one-off events or accidents, like an equipment malfunction or an injury from a slip or a fall. However, California law allows workers to file workers’ compensation claims related to cumulative trauma injuries.

A cumulative trauma injury results from repetitive, traumatic physical or mental activities that occur over a period of time, from days to weeks, even months, to years. Cumulative trauma injuries can cause injuries that range from mild to severe and can even result in disability and a need for long-term medical care.

According to the California Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau (WCIRB), claims of cumulative trauma injuries have increased in recent years. That is likely because more and more workers are educating themselves on how their work environment can cause injuries to develop slowly over time.

Different Cumulative Trauma Injury Types


Some of the most common examples of workplace cumulative trauma injury include:

  • Back injuries
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Tendonitis
  • Raynaud’s syndrome
  • Tennis or golf elbow

Back injury and carpal tunnel syndrome are the two most common types of cumulative trauma injury. A cumulative trauma back injury can occur in any job industry. Workers whose jobs require them to stand for long periods or participate in repetitive lifting often suffer from cumulative trauma back injuries. Box store employees, airline personnel, and those in the hospitality field are all particularly susceptible to cumulative trauma back injuries.

Carpal tunnel syndrome results from pressure exerted on the median nerve, which provides motor function to your hand, wrist, and forearm. Carpal tunnel syndrome causes numbness, tingling, and pain in the hands and wrists. This common cumulative trauma injury usually affects office workers that must use computers at work.

The most common carpal tunnel syndrome treatment is Cortisone and wrist braces.

Obtaining California Workers’ Comp for Cumulative Trauma Injuries


Anyone who suffers from workplace-related cumulative trauma injury can file for workers’ compensation in California. Compared to “specific” workers’ comp claims in California, filing a successful compensation claim for cumulative trauma injuries can be challenging.

There are two factors to consider when filing cumulative trauma injury claims in California:

You should file your cumulative trauma injury claim promptly.  

California workers must report their cumulative trauma injury to their employer and seek medical attention promptly. Timing plays an essential role in any California workers’ compensation claim. Therefore, it is crucial to track and clarify, to your best ability, when you began to develop cumulative trauma symptoms, when you reported them to your employer and what steps you took to seek medical treatment.

You must demonstrate that the cause of your cumulative trauma injury is work-related.

When filing a workers’ compensation claim for a cumulative trauma injury in California, you must be able to demonstrate causation. In other words, you will be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits in California for carpal tunnel syndrome only when you establish that it developed “out of and in the normal course of business,” according to The WCIRB of California

That means you must prove that your cumulative trauma injury is reasonably associated with your employment.

Why You Should Hire a California Workers’ Compensation Lawyer


While California does it’s best to make it easy for workers to file their own workers’ compensation claim, your employer or their insurance carrier may attempt to undermine your efforts to prove causation to deny you the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve.

If you plan to file a workers’ compensation claim related to a cumulative trauma injury or have had your claim denied, you must seek the support and guidance of a California workers comp attorney with experience in such cases. A workers’ comp attorney can assist you in gathering and assembling all the records, documents, and information necessary to proceed with a workers’ compensation claim for cumulative trauma injury.

The Workplace Cumulative Trauma Injury Attorney from Aoudi Law is here to help. Our experienced team of workers’ comp experts has helped countless California workers, from construction workers to government employees, get the compensation they deserve following a job-related cumulative trauma injury.

Call or text 714-769-8706 today for a free consultation.

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