A worker who has suffered cumulative trauma on the job—carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, gradual onset back injuries, etc.—has the right to file for workers’ compensation benefits. In California, these are known as cumulative trauma claims. A recent report from Business Insurance finds that the costs of cumulative trauma can add up quickly. Here, our Bakersfield, workers’ compensation defense advocates discuss the report on the cost of cumulative trauma claims.
Background: California Law on Workers’ Compensation and Cumulative Trauma
California law recognizes cumulative trauma as a compensable injury under the workers’ compensation system. Under Cal. Labor Code § 3208.1(b), cumulative trauma is broadly defined as a work-related medical impairment caused by “repetitive mentally or physically traumatic activities extending over a period of time.” State policy is clear that this type of injury can be just as debilitating as a sudden traumatic injury and that it can be the basis of a workers’ compensation claim.
Report: Cumulative Trauma Claims Have Significant Average Cost, High Litigation Rate
Cumulative trauma claims are complex. Almost by definition, these injuries/impairments can be more difficult to tie to a specific “cause.” It is not uncommon for disputes to arise in cumulative trauma workers’ compensation cases. Business Insurance cites insurance industry data showing that these cases have a significant average cost and a high litigation rate. Here are two key details from an analysis conducted by a financial services company in the industry:
- $31,000.00 Average Total Cost Per Cumulative Trauma Claim: The average total cost of the cumulative trauma claim reviewed in the analysis was $31,000.00. To be clear, this was a nationwide review, not merely limited to California. These costs include not just benefits paid to workers or medical providers, but also administrative expenses.
- More than Half of the Cases Reviewed Were Litigated: Cumulative trauma workers’ compensation claims are significantly more likely to be litigated than other types of workers’ compensation disputes. Of the cumulative trauma workers’ compensation claims reviewed, the litigation rate was 57%, which is significantly higher than the litigation rate for specific injury claims.
When defending a cumulative trauma claim in California, it is important to have a skilled workers’ compensation defense lawyer. An experienced attorney can help an employer understand their legal obligations, navigate the workers’ compensation system, and defend against frivolous claims. With a strong defense, employers can protect themselves from financial and legal exposure and ensure their rights are protected throughout the process.
Reach Out to Our Bakersfield Workers’ Compensation Defense Attorney Today
At Yrulegui & Roberts, we are a workers’ compensation defense law firm that goes above and beyond to protect the best interests of our clients. Have questions related to the defense of a cumulative trauma claim in California, our legal team is ready to help you navigate the process. Contact us today for a fully private initial consultation. You do not have to go it alone. We provide workers’ compensation defense representation in Central California and Northern California.