Cumulative trauma, or repetitive stress, is a work-related injury that occurs over time due to repeated actions throughout the day. Common ailments associated with cumulative trauma include back injuries such as a herniated disc and carpal tunnel syndrome, just to name a few.
According to data from the California Workers' Compensation Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the cause of insurance companies in California, cumulative trauma injuries have doubled in the last 10 years.
Why the increase?
While CWCI speculates on the cause, it isn't clear there is a single reason for the increase. Potential reasons include:
- Greater involvement by attorneys (CWCI notes that over 90 percent of injured workers filing a claim for repetitive stress injuries obtain representation, which they believe accounts for more claims being paid out).
- Better research and diagnosis regarding cumulative trauma
- An increase in the type of work that causes such injuries (which can include office work)
When repetitive stress becomes a problem
It is important for injured workers to know that if they have suffered a repetitive stress injury they may be able to obtain workers' compensation benefits to help with the cost of missing work and medical recovery.
Many workers mistakenly believe that workers' compensation only covers work accidents. Fortunately, however, all injuries caused by work-related activities are covered under workers' compensation.
As CWCI noted in its findings, workers' suffering from repetitive stress injuries likely received a higher benefits payout than those who were not represented.
If cumulative trauma at work has caused you injury, speak to an experienced workers' compensation attorney to discuss your legal options.