Cumulative Injury Explained – Workers Compensation

What Is a cumulative injury?

A workplace injury that develops due to repetitive physical activity over a period of time can be categorized as a cumulative injury. This type of injury can start as something minor but become more problematic than a specific injury. Due to the sheer nature of the injury, it can be tough to prove. It can be challenging to pinpoint the onset of the injury. The victim may not have immediate symptoms, and it could take a long time to feel any significant pain or discomfort.

If you live in the Chicago area and believe you may have a claim for a cumulative injury, reach out to a professional as soon as possible. While every state is different, the statute of limitations could determine whether or not you have a viable claim. The state of Illinois has implemented new rules that may affect how you qualify for benefits.

How do Illinois worker’s compensation laws factor in?

If you believe you have a cumulative injury, do not waste any time investigating the laws involving worker’s compensation benefits. Illinois recently changed the rules involving disability benefits, it is important to understand your rights. The type of benefits you receive and the amount are based on the nature of the injury. Other factors may also play a role.

In Illinois, there are two types of disability classifications: Temporary Total Disability (TTD)or Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)

Temporary Total Disability

– This is when your disability makes you incapable of temporarily performing work duties. However, you are expected to go back to work. Under Illinois state law, you will receive two-thirds of your salary. You will continue to receive your payments until you reach the maximum medical improvement (MMI).

Permanent Partial Disability

– You will receive payment based upon a permanent injury. For instance, if you have a limb amputation or some other injury that will not improve. PPD usually starts after MMI is maxed out. The state of Illinois calculates PPD by 60 percent of your weekly average wage.

In the state of Illinois, you have 45 days to inform your employer of a worker’s compensation-related illness or injury; you have three years to file a claim with the state’s worker’s compensation commission. Failure to file within the state’s statute of limitations may lead to a dismissal of your claim.

If you live in Illinois and believe you qualify for a cumulative injury claim, reach out to a qualified attorney for a free consultation. They can help you navigate through the process. A qualified personal injury attorney will help you understand what you may be facing and how they can help you.

What injuries fall under cumulative injury?

Examples of cumulative traumatic injuries:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Muscle strains
  • Tendinitis
  • Hearing loss
  • Back injuries including spinal and herniate dik
  • Repetitive stress injuries

There are many ways cumulative injuries can happen over time. Some jobs have inherent risk factors that make them dangerous. Employment risk factors and work-related tasks that can cause cumulative injuries:

  • Loud sustained sounds and noises
  • Work that is repetative
  • Working long hours
  • Having to work in an awkward position
  • Conditions that are not ergonomic
  • Using equipment or parts of the body that require significant force
  • Having to lift heavy objects in spaces that prevent proper technique
  • Bad working conditions that may cause serious injuries

These conditions can contribute to cumulative injuries over time. Again, it could take weeks or months before the injury manifests itself. However, if you begin to feel pain, and it gets worse over time, consult a worker’s compensation attorney for guidance.

Is there any way to prove cumulative trauma?

Proving a cumulative injury worker’s compensation claim can be tricky. Because it is not a specific injury that may be witnessed by another co-worker, it can be difficult to determine exactly where the injury happened.

Most worker’s compensation lawyers have the experience needed to handle such cases. They know the questions to ask and where to look for proof. Evidence can be proven by:

  • The worker’s job duties and how foreseeable the injury is
  • Medical proof that shows the worker did not have the injury before significant time on the job
  • Treating physician testimony
  • Evidence that the worker abided by all of the safety rules and regulations
  • The job did not have safety guidelines and/or training in place
  • Proof that other workers suffered the same injuries after performing the same or similar job duties

Keep in mind that the employer’s insurer will likely fight the cumulative injury claim based on several arguments. They will definitely leave no stone unturned in an attempt to prove that the worker’s injury did not take place on the job. Some of the common arguments used:

  • The worker has a preexisting medical condition
  • An offsite job accident
  • Poor conditions at a prior job
  • The worker hurt themself performing some type of hobby
  • Proof that the worker did not use appropriate safety measures while performing tasks

This is the reason why a worker should get proper legal advice if they need to file a cumulative worker’s compensation claim. Never attempt to handle a case by yourself. Only a competent and experienced attorney will know what questions to ask and how to push back against frivolous arguments.

Even with some difficulties, a first-rate personal injury lawyer can make all the difference. Strong evidence that your injuries took place on the job is something a reputable law firm can exploit in your favor. If you live in Illinois, call one of the city’s reputable worker’s compensation attorneys today for a free consultation.