Cumulative Trauma Claim in Harrisonburg, VA
Cumulative trauma can be a debilitating medical disorder. The conditions that can occur as part of cumulative trauma disorder can cause chronic pain and severely limit physical ability. If severe enough, cumulative trauma disorder can even leave a person unable to work to support themselves and their family.
If you have developed a cumulative trauma disorder due to your work, you might be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ comp could provide you with the medical care, rehabilitation, and financial support you need to treat your injury, potentially return to work, and improve your quality of life.
Turn to a Harrisonburg VA personal injury lawyer with Kendall Law Firm when you need help getting financial resources to recover from the disabling effects of cumulative trauma disorders. With multiple offices to serve you, attorney David Kendall and the team at Kendall Law Firm work to serve injured and disabled clients throughout the Shenandoah Valley. Contact Kendall Law Firm today for a free, no-obligation case review with a cumulative trauma personal injury lawyer in Harrisonburg to learn more about your legal rights.
What Is Cumulative Trauma Disorder?
Cumulative trauma disorder (CTD) arises from multiple injuries to the musculoskeletal or nervous system caused by any of the following:
- Repetitive motions
- Forceful exertion
- Mechanical compression
- Sustained posture
These causes of CTD may occur in the workplace environment when a person must repeatedly perform the same physical tasks with little variability. CTD may also occur when a person is subjected to multiple personal injuries or physical trauma with little or no time in between each incident for rest and recovery. CTD is also sometimes referred to as repetitive stress injury, repetitive motion injury or disorder, or overuse syndrome.
Cumulative trauma disorders encompass a wide variety of medical conditions, such as:
- Tendon disorders like tendonitis (inflammation of the tendon), tenosynovitis (irritation of the tendon sheath that causes fluid buildup), ganglion cysts (formation of bumps under the tendon sheath), epicondylitis (inflammation of elbow tendons), rotator cuff injury, and bursitis (inflammation of the fluid sacs that prevent friction over bony protrusions)
- Nerve disorders, including carpal tunnel syndrome, Raynaud’s syndrome (which causes numbness and loss of muscle control in fingers and hands), and thoracic outlet syndrome (compression of the nerves and blood vessels leading into the arm)
- Spinal disc degeneration, which can lead to herniated disc
How Do Cumulative Trauma Disorders Occur?
Cumulative trauma disorder is believed to occur due to various risk factors, including:
- Repetitive motions, like pulling a mechanical lever or hammering a nail
- Using excessive force for motions such as lifting, gripping, pulling, or pushing
- Keeping awkward body posture or position, usually for extended periods
- Mechanical compression of soft tissues against bone
- Rapid, violent movement, such as quickly swinging the arm
- Vibration, particularly in cool or cold conditions
- Insufficient rest and recovery time
- Mental stress or anxiety, naturally causes a person’s muscles to tighten or tense up and also increases blood pressure
Statute of Limitations on Cumulative Trauma Claims in VA
If you have developed cumulative trauma disorder due to your job, you may be entitled to pursue a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ comp benefits can help pay for medical treatment and partial wage replacement benefits.
You might have a viable claim if you can show that your condition arose from some specific traumatic incident. Currently, Virginia is the only state in the U.S. that does not recognize workers’ compensation claims for most cumulative trauma disorders arising solely from a job’s repetitive motions or tasks. Virginia law does expressly provide workers’ compensation coverage for claims for carpal tunnel syndrome, even if it arises solely due to repetitive motion or other risk factors for cumulative trauma disorder.
If you believe you have a viable claim for workers’ comp benefits, the statute of limitations on workers’ comp claims under Virginia law gives you only two years from the date of a work accident or incident giving rise to your claim.
You must file a claim for carpal tunnel syndrome within two years of the date that you learned that the condition was work-related, but no later than five years after the last date that you were exposed to conditions at work that led to your injury. However, for your best opportunity to receive benefits, do not delay in reporting your injury to your employer. A cumulative trauma injury lawyer from Kendall Law Firm can review your case and advise you when you will need to file a claim to secure your rights to workers’ comp benefits.
What Do You Need to Prove a Cumulative Trauma Claim?
Proving your claim for workers’ comp benefits for cumulative trauma disorder can be a challenging process. You will need substantial, credible evidence to link your cumulative trauma disorder to your job.
Types of evidence that can help you prove your cumulative trauma claim include:
- Medical records from the treatment for the conditions you suffer as part of your cumulative trauma disorder – Your medical records can help you in your claim by providing evidence of a diagnosis for the condition or conditions that you are seeking benefits for. In addition, your treating medical providers can provide documentation in your medical record and treatment notes linking your condition to your work. But your providers can only do this if you let them know that you are seeking medical treatment for pain or other symptoms that started on the job.
- Expert witness testimony – In addition to obtaining the medical opinions of your treating providers, you might also obtain testimony from other medical experts with experience diagnosing and treating CTD conditions. Expert witness testimony can help you link the conditions you are suffering from to your work.
- Co-worker testimony – If your co-workers witnessed an accident or traumatic event that happened at work and immediately caused you pain or other symptoms, their testimony can help support your claim to workers’ comp benefits.
- Photographic evidence – Testimony from your co-workers could also be bolstered with photographic proof of your workspace or the tools and equipment that you worked with. Pictures of your workspace following an incident that you believe caused the start of your pain or other symptoms (such as a heavy box that you were lifting) can also improve your chances of recovering workers’ comp benefits.
How to Pursue a Cumulative Trauma Injury Claim in Harrisonburg, VA
In Virginia, the responsibility for filing a workers’ compensation claim rests with the injured worker, although the worker’s employer can file a claim on their employee’s behalf.
Under Virginia’s workers’ compensation act, you typically must give your employer notice of a work injury within 30 days of the date that you suffered a work injury. However, notifying your employer that you have been injured does not formally start the process of a workers’ compensation claim. Instead, a claim only begins once you (or your employer or attorney) have filed a claim benefits form/request for hearing form with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. A claim form can be filed in person, online, or by mail or fax. A cumulative trauma injury lawyer can also file the form on your behalf.
Once the claim is filed, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer can choose to either accept your claim, in which case the Workers’ Compensation Commission will issue a claim award, or it can contest your claim. If your claim is contested, you will have to go through a hearing with the commission. A cumulative trauma injury attorney from Kendall Law Firm can represent you at the workers’ compensation hearing and advocate on your behalf to fight for an award for you.
The workers’ compensation system is complex. Our firm can assist you through every step. Kendall Law Firm’s reputation of providing excellent client service is reflected in our A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, as well as by the reviews left by our past clients on Google and other social media platforms.
Call us at (866) 590-9773 for help with your claim.
Contact Our Professional and Loyal Attorneys Today
You should not have to suffer from the pain and physical limitations caused by cumulative trauma without support. At Kendall Law Firm, we believe in serving others. Our firm founding attorney David Kendall is a former member of the United States Marine Corps, where he served as a Judge Advocate General. Our firm’s commitment to service is also reflected by our various sponsorships of community and charitable organizations throughout Virginia. We will apply this same dedication to support you through your case.
If you are suffering from cumulative trauma disorder, you could be entitled to significant benefits that could help you manage your condition and work towards regaining your quality of life. Call the Kendall Law Firm today at (866) 590-9773 to speak with one of our knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyers for free.