In the world of workers’ compensation, cumulative injuries are injuries that occur over a period of time. This is in contrast to the other major category of workers’ compensation injuries, which are trauma events which typically happen more suddenly.
If you have suffered a cumulative injury due to your employment, the attorneys at Kneisler and Schondel can help. Our attorneys have many years of experience handling all different types of workers’ compensation cases in California, and they know how to fight for the compensation you deserve for your case. Contact our office today to schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys to discuss moving forward with your potential workers’ compensation case.
What Types of Injuries are Considered Cumulative Injuries?
Cumulative injuries are one category of injuries in the California workers’ compensation system. Cumulative injuries include any type of injury that develops over time. One example of a cumulative injury is carpal tunnel syndrome. While carpal tunnel syndrome can occur due to a traumatic injury event, it often manifests over a longer period of time and is generally caused by repetitive movements that put a strain on this part of the body.
Another example of a cumulative injury is hearing loss that develops over time. There are some workplaces with extremely loud environments, such as factories. Over time, hearing loss may develop in an employee who is regularly exposed to a loud environment. An employee who suffers hearing loss caused by their environment at work can file a workers’ compensation claim and may be entitled to benefits. Exposure to toxic chemicals over time may also result in a cumulative work-related injury.
If you suffer from a cumulative injury that you believe is related to your employment, you should speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who is familiar with these types of cases. Your attorney will be able to give you more information regarding your potential compensation and the strength of your case.
Cumulative Injuries and the Statute of Limitations
As with any case, the sooner you hire an attorney and file your case, the better. Every legal case has a statute of limitations, which means that if your claim is not filed by a certain deadline, you will most likely lose your right to proceed with the case. This includes workers’ compensation cases.
In California, the statute of limitations for workers’ compensation cases vary. In some cases, the claim must be filed within one year after the injury occurs. In traumatic injury cases stemming from one discreet injury event, the date of injury is clear. However, in cumulative injury cases, the onset date may not be so readily identifiable.
The statute of limitations in cumulative injury cases is one year from the date that the injured worker knew, or should have known that their injury was caused by their work. Typically, an injured worker will learn that their cumulative injury is related to their work after a doctor has made that determination. In order to make sure your claim is filed during the proper time frame it is important to speak with a workers’ compensation attorney who is familiar with handling cumulative injury cases and understands the unique challenges involved in these kinds of cases.
Proving That a Cumulative Injury is Work-Related
One of the biggest challenges in a cumulative injury workers’ compensation claims is proving that it is in fact, work-related. In many traumatic event cases, proving that the injury was work-related is relatively simple because it resulted from a discreet traumatic event. Proving that a cumulative injury is related to the injured workers’ employment can be much more difficult.
Since employers’ insurance companies often challenge cumulative injuries, hiring a workers compensation attorney can be a huge benefit to an injured worker who likely will not know how to successfully handle a disputed case. To prove entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits, your attorney will need to show that your injury was related to your work. This may be done through evidence found in the injured worker’s medical records generated from following treatment for the injury. A formal job description and understanding the environment to which the injured worker was exposed may also be important tools that can be used to prove a cumulative injury claim. Of course, there are other factors to consider, as well.
The attorneys at Kneisler and Schondel have years of experience successfully handling cumulative injury claims. Contact our office today at (707) 542-5132 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation to discuss your potential case. Then, our attorneys can begin fighting for the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve.