How to Succeed With a Cumulative Trauma Claim
Have you engaged in repetitive work activities that have left you with a physical or mental injury? You may have a cumulative trauma claim that you can pursue with a qualified and experienced Sacramento workers' compensation attorney. You should look for an attorney that can help you claim benefits under your employer's workers' compensation insurance policy. A good workers comp attorney will reveal the likelihood of your success. He or she will also help you navigate around common pitfalls.
Cumulative Trauma Claims Are Now Looked at Closely
Over the past decade, cumulative trauma claims have more than doubled. These types of claims reached 18 percent of all indemnity cases in 2015. In response, insurers are working harder to deny cumulative trauma claims. In addition, the California Assembly is considering Assembly Bill 221, legislation that would not allow an employer to cover medical treatment for cumulative injuries. The exception is if the employer authorized the worker's medical treatment or accepted responsibility for the injury being treated. This bill, which would take effect Jan. 1, 2018, would limit your ability to file a claim and receive coverage for your injuries. The possibility of this bill or similar measures succeeding is one reason you should not hesitate to file a claim with the help of a workers' compensation attorney.
Common Physical and Mental Cumulative Trauma Injuries
Physical cumulative trauma injuries are extremely prevalent in manufacturing fields. They can arise in workers who work in any type of job that involves a repeated and difficult task. For example, if you constantly have to walk and climb, you can develop knee pain. If you consistently make certain hand movements, including rapid typing, you can develop hand/wrist pain. If your job involves continuous heavy lifting, you may develop back pain. If you are exposed to certain toxins or chemicals over time, you may develop respiratory concerns. If your job exposes you to loud noises, you may develop hearing issues.
A mental cumulative trauma injury usually arises in a job that involves ongoing stress. Constant exposure to stress can cause stomach problems, insomnia, depression and anxiety. Related physical problems include sleep apnea, stomach issues, jaw and tooth problems related to grinding your teeth, and sexual dysfunction.
How Can I Prove My Injury?
In your first consultation with a workers comp attorney, the attorney should explain what documents will help your case. Any evidence that you followed the rules, incurred an injury, and your employer failed to improve your work conditions is helpful. Documents to consider bringing to an appointment include:
• Your employer's workers' comp policy.
• Medical documentation of your problem or problems.
• Safety guidelines posted at your office.
• Evidence that you followed these guidelines, such as a daily checklist showing that you wore personal protective equipment (PPE).
• Evidence of your attendance at safety trainings.
What Should I Watch Out For?
Employees who claim a cumulative trauma injury with the help of a workers' compensation lawyer are often unaware that their postings on social media may be discoverable. Information in social media can invalidate a claim of an injury. Evaluate what you post on sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. It could negate your workers' comp claim. This is not to encourage you to make false statements. It is to alert you to the fact that workers' comp insurance carriers often try to link proof of an injury to a non-work activity that the employer's workers' comp insurance does not cover.
If you're in Sacramento, look for a local workers compensation attorney that can explain how to file a cumulative trauma claim. Seek an attorney who is experienced, patient and knows how to work well with medical professionals. You should see your claim evolve into a potential case ready for litigation or a beneficial settlement