A typical scenario we encounter is an injured employee coming to see us and who says the following “I have severe pain in both shoulders. I have been an oil field worker for more than 20 years. I am required to lift heavy objects frequently throughout the day. I’ve been told by others that I can’t file for workers’ comp because I didn’t get hurt in an accident. What should I do?”

Specific injuries covered under workers’ compensation law:

A common misunderstanding is the types of injuries covered under the workers’ compensation laws. A “specific injury” is the type most people easily grasp. Workers’ compensation law covers “specific injuries” that occur as a result of a work-related accident. For example, a painter falls off a ladder and lands awkwardly causing a tear in the knee. The painter’s injury would be considered a “specific injury.”

Cumulative trauma injuries covered under workers’ compensation law:

The more obscure injuries are those sustained from constant, repetitive motion. For example, bakers may develop severe arthritis in their hands due to the many hours and years of molding and shaping dough. Or as described in the scenario above, an oil field worker who lifted heavy objects frequently throughout the day for years, may develop torn tendons in the both shoulders. These types of injury are known as “cumulative trauma injuries” and may be covered by workers’ compensation insurance if a doctor connects the medical condition(s) to the job duties as they were performed.

The takeaway:

For that reason, it is critical for employees and employers to not only recognize and report “specific injuries” but also “cumulative trauma injuries” to the workers’ compensation carrier as soon as possible. Immediate reporting benefits everyone involved – employee and employer – because the injured employee will receive proper medical care and will be returned to the workforce sooner.

For more information:

To find out more about workers’ compensation benefits, contact us at (661) 324-5911. We offer a free consultation and we don’t get paid unless you receive benefits. NOTICE: Making a false or fraudulent workers’ compensation claim is a felony subject to up to 5 years or double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.