The State of California recognizes two types of injury; specific and cumulative. A specific injury is relatively straightforward to point out and identify. In a specific, an injured worker can typically pinpoint the moment he or she sustained a work-related injury. Examples of these type of injuries are a slip and fall, an automobile accident, a sudden bump on the head or lifting a heavy item and suddenly hearing a “pop.” Usually, injured workers know when and how they were injured in a specific injury.
In a cumulative injury, there is no single incident. The injury typically happens over time. They’re known as “wear and tear” type injuries. Per Labor Code section 3208.1, a cumulative injury occurs as a result of “repetitive mentally or physically traumatic activities extending over a period of time, the combined effect of which causes any disability or the need for medical treatment.” These repetitive events seem insignificant by themselves but over time can cause serious damage to the human body.
One of the most common type of cumulative type injuries we see here at Franco Munoz, PC are carpal tunnel injuries to the hand in the office. They can be quite severe and
can significantly impact your life. For example, patients with carpal tunnel disorders can develop Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). The condition is chronic and if left untreated can lead to severe pain, loss of grip strength and can even lead to depression.
Many people that suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome typically ignore the problem until the onset of pain is so severe that they can no longer work.
The injury seems benign and many workers are reluctant to report the pain for fear that their employer won’t believe them or simply hoping the pain will go away. However, the consequences can be severe if your carpal tunnel remains untreated.
In a recent case, we were able to secure a $290,000 settlement for a client that worked in an office and lost most use of her right hand. Her claim is not typical but shows how dangerous office work can be if the conditions are ripe for carpal tunnel.
For those reasons, its important to speak up about your discomfort in the office. Injured workers have many rights and should exercise them if they believe they are suffering damage to their bodies on a continuous basis. If you feel you cannot go it alone, please call us to discuss your options and remedies. We are available by phone at (510) 257-4141.