When you think of an on-the-job injury and a workers' compensation claim, you might automatically think of a workplace accident. While accidents are certainly at the heart of many claims, personal injury lawyers also work with a large number of clients who have suffered cumulative injuries. These are injuries or illnesses that develop over time due to the work itself or exposure to a harmful environment. This guide can help you determine whether you are suffering from a cumulative injury and what you need to do to prove it.

What Are the Two Types of Cumulative Injuries?

Physical cumulative injuries are those that result from repetitive stress or from long-term exposure to harmful substances. Physical injuries typically cause weakness, pain, burning, stiffness, and disrupt your ability to perform everyday tasks and reduce your quality of life. Some common physical cumulative injuries include carpal tunnel syndrome, lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), medial epicondylitis (golfer's elbow), tendinitis, and torn ligaments in the knee. 

workers compensation

Many people do not realize that it's possible to make a workers' compensation claim for emotional cumulative injuries as well as physical. Fast-paced, high-stress work environments, as well as a toxic workplace with abusive or unpredictable leadership, competition between co-workers, or other challenges can lead to depression, anxiety, PTSD and other emotional injuries that you can seek compensation for. 

How Can You Prove Cumulative Injuries?

Proving a cumulative injury in a workers' compensation claim is often more challenging than proving an accident or sudden injury. You and your lawyer have the burden of showing that your injuries are due to work, not your activities or lifestyle outside of the workplace. 

Documentation of your symptoms, their effects on your life, and the medical care you receive are critical to proving a cumulative injury case. It's critical to explain your job duties and environment to your medical providers so they can make a clear connection between them and your injuries. You may also need witnesses, including co-workers, to substantiate your claim that your workplace was the source of your injuries. 

For a physical injury, you will also need to provide evidence that you followed all safety procedures and used the safety equipment that was provided. Showing that your employer failed to provide the proper training and equipment can support your claim. 

Whether your injuries are foreseeable is also an important consideration. If you work in a notoriously high-pressure environment, for example, you will have to work harder to make a successful emotional injury claim than someone who works in a less stressful field.


If you have been injured at work, whether in an accident or over time, get help with your workers' compensation claim from Carolyn Adams Attorney At Law. For over 30 years, this firm has helped people from London, KY, and the surrounding areas get the compensation they deserve from their employers. You can learn more about their services and experience on the website or call (606) 877-1148 to request a consultation.