Do Workers’ Compensation Benefits Cover Cumulative Trauma?


Posted by: Chris

There are several different types of on-the-job injuries that are covered by the workers’ compensation system. Accidents such as slip and falls, explosions, and electrocutions cause many on-the-job injuries every year. But, there are also many injuries that develop as a result of cumulative trauma. Here’s what you need to know about obtaining workers’ compensation for cumulative trauma:

What is Cumulative Trauma?

The term cumulative trauma is used to describe injuries caused by repetitive physical activities performed by a worker during the course of his employment. For example, if you must perform repetitive hand or wrist motions at work, you could develop a condition known De Quervain’s tenosynovitis over time. This condition is characterized by inflammation of the tendons and can lead to severe pain and swelling. This condition is an example of cumulative trauma because it did not occur as a result of a single event. Instead, it slowly developed over time as a result of the worker’s repetitive activities. There are countless conditions just like this that are classified as cumulative trauma.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits For Cumulative Trauma

If you are suffering from cumulative trauma, it’s important to notify your employer as soon as possible. According to Stat § 85A-67, workers with cumulative trauma must notify their employer within six months of the date of last exposure.

In the past, workers must have been employed with their employer for a minimum of 180 days in order to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits for cumulative trauma. But in 2016, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that the 180-day employment requirement was unconstitutional. Now, employees do not need to work for their employer for a certain period of time in order to submit a claim for cumulative trauma benefits.

To obtain benefits, it must be proven that the cumulative trauma occurred as a direct result of the repetitive activities performed on-the-job. Furthermore, it must be proven that your cumulative trauma is a serious condition and not a general ache or pain. This is because the law specifically states that general aches and pains that were either caused or worsened by repetitive activities at work do not qualify as cumulative trauma. Objective medical evidence such as X-rays, MRIs, and other diagnostic tests can be used to prove the severity of your cumulative trauma.

Have you suffered cumulative trauma? If so, let us help. The experienced attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. will work tirelessly to obtain the workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to for your injuries. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.