Cumulative vs. acute injuries

Work comp lawyers explain cumulative injuriesWhen you think about workplace injuries, you most likely imagine a fall, or a hit kind of injury. These kinds of injuries are called ‘acute injuries’, as they happen acutely, or at once. However, there is another type of injuries as well; injuries which are generated over a longer period of time. There is some controversy about these ‘cumulative injuries’ and their inclusion into the worker compensation insurance. We will examine the difference between the two and why there is an issue with cumulative injuries at all, but remember that whenever you’re in doubt, it’s best you talk to work comp lawyers.

Acute injuries

This type of injury is preferred by the insurance companies since there is always a clear time and place of the injury. When reporting a workplace injury, one of the more important things is to inform your employer and your doctor about the injury. With acute injuries, such as cuts, falls and similar singular events, it is very easy to pinpoint what happened and when. Typically, these cases are open and shut, and the assistance of worker comp lawyers may not be needed.

Cumulative injuries

On the other hand, cumulative injuries are a bit problematic. The main problem with cumulative injuries is that the damage didn’t occur at one singular point in time, like with acute injuries. Rather, the workplace conditions over a longer period of time caused such injuries. Initially, this idea seems perfectly plausible. If you work in a particularly loud environment, your hearing loss can easily be attributed to the workplace conditions. Similarly, if you work at a place which uses toxic chemicals, and you develop asthma or other problems traceable to the chemicals used by your workplace, it is almost certain that the exposure to this environment at work has led to your condition.

Controversy with cumulative injuries

There are several reasons why cumulative injuries aren’t as clear-cut as acute ones. Primarily, since the cause of the injury is not a singular event, it is very hard to pinpoint the exact time and date of the injury. Since this is one of the most commonly requested pieces of information by insurance companies, there are many instances of rejected applications. This is where worker comp lawyers come into play, trying to prove that the injury did, in fact, come about as a result of the workplace conditions.

Proving causality

Another important reason why this type of injuries isn’t as easy to get worker compensation for is that it is hard to prove that the injury or illness is the result of the workplace conditions, and not something else. If you develop asthma, it can be from your workplace, but it could just as easily be that you have a natural tendency to develop asthma, or you are a smoker or whatever the insurance company can think of to avoid paying for worker compensation. If your vision got significantly worse because you work at the computer all day, you will naturally expect to be compensated for it. However, the insurance company may claim that it could just as easily be from looking at your iPhone or anything else.

Whose responsibility?

There are some people, mostly employers and insurance companies, who believe that cumulative injuries aren’t supposed to be in the domain of worker compensation. Their argument goes along the lines that the human body will naturally degrade over time as it ages and suffers stress. It is therefore not the domain of worker compensation, but simply ageing and other natural processes. Naturally, most workers do not believe this, and they have legislation on their side.

If you find yourself in this kind of situation, contact The Law Offices of Thomas M. DeBenedetto. Experience and millions of dollars of recovered benefits are our best recommendation. The first consultation is free, so you can learn about your odds at court. Contact today.