Many employees hold the misconception that workers’ compensation claims are only applicable to single traumatic accidents that occur in the workplace. However, it is important to recognize that workers can also develop various painful issues over time as a result of repeated harm and stress. In such cases, workers’ compensation may be awarded for injuries that develop gradually due to routine physical or emotional stress on the job.

Read on to learn more and then contact PLBH at (800) 435-7542 for a free legal consultation.

Types of Cumulative Trauma Disorders

Cumulative trauma disorder (CTD) encompasses a range of injuries that develop over time as a result of ongoing occupational stress. The following are common forms of CTD:

  1. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Carpal tunnel syndrome is characterized by numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hand caused by compression of the median nerve in the wrist. It often affects individuals who engage in repetitive hand and wrist movements.
  2. Cubital Tunnel Syndrome: Cubital tunnel syndrome involves compression of the ulnar nerve at the elbow, resulting in pain, numbness, and weakness in the forearm and hand. It is commonly associated with activities that involve prolonged elbow flexion or pressure on the elbow.
  3. Degenerative Discs in the Neck or Back: Prolonged repetitive activities, heavy lifting, and poor posture can lead to degenerative changes in the discs of the neck or back. This can cause chronic pain, limited mobility, and potentially result in herniated discs or spinal stenosis.
  4. Degenerative Joints: Continuous stress and strain on joints can contribute to degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis, leading to pain, inflammation, and limited joint function. Common areas affected include the knees, shoulders, hips, and hands.
  5. Mental Health Challenges: Occupational stress can also result in mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These conditions can significantly impact an individual’s well-being and ability to perform their job.
  6. Repetitive Motion Disorders: Repetitive motion disorders encompass a range of conditions caused by repetitive movements, including tendonitis, bursitis, tenosynovitis, and rotator cuff injuries. These can lead to pain, inflammation, and reduced range of motion.
  7. Trigger Thumbs and Fingers: Trigger finger or trigger thumb is a condition in which the finger or thumb catches or locks when bent, causing pain and difficulty in movement. It is commonly associated with repetitive gripping or grasping motions.
  8. Upper Limb Syndrome: Upper limb syndrome refers to a group of symptoms that affect the neck, shoulders, arms, and hands, resulting from prolonged and repetitive activities. Symptoms may include pain, stiffness, weakness, and tingling sensations.

Impacts and Considerations for Workers’ Compensation

Cumulative trauma disorders can result in long-term physical and emotional damage, leading to reduced earning potential, persistent physical pain, and a decreased quality of life. These conditions can impose significant personal and financial costs on the affected individuals. If the development of these disorders can be directly attributed to prolonged workplace stress or job-related duties, workers’ compensation may be warranted.

It is essential to gather evidence documenting the relationship between the work environment and the onset of cumulative trauma disorders. Medical records, expert opinions, and testimony from healthcare professionals can strengthen a workers’ compensation claim. Seeking the assistance of a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney is crucial in navigating the complexities of such cases and ensuring fair compensation for the damages incurred.

Workers’ compensation benefits may include coverage for medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, disability benefits, and vocational training, depending on the severity and impact of the cumulative trauma disorder. Contact PLBH at (800) 435-7542 now for a free legal consultation.