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Report indicates rise in repetitive stress injuries in California

To many, the idea of workplace injuries in California might create the image of people who are working physical jobs or are in high-risk occupations. While those who do these types of jobs are frequently injured and need workers' compensation benefits, injuries are not limited to these career paths. People who work in a wide variety of jobs can suffer workplace injuries and need workers' compensation benefits. Understanding these jobs and the frequency with which people make claims to get benefits can be useful when pursuing workers' compensation.

A new report using information from the Workers' Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau says that the number of claims for people who are suffering from cumulative trauma has risen by half in the past decade in the state. 40 percent of them are being made after the employee has been dismissed from the job. The agency assessed workers' compensation cases for people who suffered injuries from repetitive employment. The repetitive nature can be traumatic in a mental and physical way. These claims indicated the increasing numbers.

In the study, cumulative trauma was not factored in. However, according to the International Risk Management Institute, these workplace injuries were described as those that come from repetitive tasks that are done for an extended period. Examples of injuries that workers suffer are loss of hearing and carpal tunnel syndrome. These workers' compensation claims were found to be more complicated than other cases with the claimant likely to make multiple claims asserting issues with several body parts, and experiencing stress in a mental and physical way.

Three-quarters of the cumulative trauma increase came about in Southern California. Half were other kinds of workers' compensation claims. Myriad industries are experiencing a rise in the number of cumulative trauma claims. The largest increases came about in manufacturing and hospitality at 22 percent and 14 percent respectively. 6 percent of the claims came from construction industries; 7 percent were clerical.

For people who are under the impression that workers' compensation benefits are relegated to those who have obvious injuries to the head, back or other extremities or are suffering from cuts or broken bones, the reality is that there can be psychological or repetitive use injuries that are not clear to the naked eye. When a person has these issues, they have just as much of a right to workers' compensation as anyone else. A law firm that specializes in workers' compensation claims can help with a case and should be called for a consultation.

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