Commonly Overlooked Workers’ Comp Injuries in California
While there are various state and federal laws in place to uphold employee safety standards in California, it’s common knowledge that accidents happen. Many employees will be involved in a workplace accident at one point or another.
Unfortunately, certain injuries that may be eligible for workers’ compensation can get overlooked by employees and employers alike, making it all the more important for California workers to understand their employee rights under California workers’ comp laws and file for workers’ comp when needed.
Keep reading to learn more about commonly overlooked workplace injuries in the Golden State.
Common Workplace Injuries That Get Overlooked in California
Are some injuries more prone to get overlooked in California workplaces than others? Below are some of the most overlooked workers’ comp injuries in California:
Repetitive Strain Injuries
Repetitive strain injuries (RSI), also known as repetitive motion injuries, occur when an employee repeatedly performs the same motion, causing damage to muscles, nerves, and tendons. RSIs are common in jobs that require employees to type, use a mouse, or engage in any repetitive motion for prolonged periods of time.
Shoulder, neck, and elbow injuries can occur in people who work long hours at their desks or perform high-intensity repetitive motions on an assembly line. Consider these 7 common RSIs that can arise as a result of “wear-and-tear” in the workplace:
Tendonitis occurs when tendons become inflamed and irritated due to overuse or repetitive motion. The pain can range from mild to severe and may be accompanied by swelling, tenderness, stiffness, and decreased range of motion. Tendonitis can affect any tendon in the body, but commonly affects the elbows, wrists, shoulders, knees, heels, and thumbs.
2. Stress fractures
A stress fracture is a type of bone injury that occurs when there is repeated stress or pressure placed on a bone, causing a tiny crack or break in the bone. Unlike other fractures that occur as a result of a traumatic injury, stress fractures develop over time due to chronic overuse or repetitive movements. Commonly impacted areas include the feet, ankles, shins, hips, and lower back.
3. Cervical radiculopathy
Cervical radiculopathy is a repetitive stress injury (RSI) caused by prolonged and repetitive movements of the neck. This can lead to strain, degeneration, and compression of the cervical spine. Employees in occupations that require repetitive movements, such as mechanics and office work, are at a higher risk of developing cervical radiculopathy.
4. Carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome affects the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the hand, by causing compression or squeezing as it passes through a narrow tunnel in the wrist called the carpal tunnel. This compression can cause pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the affected hand and arm. Certain jobs can put workers at risk of developing this RSI, including excessive typing and computer use, construction, manufacturing, and assembly line work.
5. Cubital tunnel syndrome
Cubital tunnel syndrome affects the elbow and arm. It occurs when the ulnar nerve, which runs from the neck to the hand, becomes compressed or irritated as it passes through the cubital tunnel in the elbow. This compression can cause pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the affected hand and arm. This RSI is commonly caused by prolonged pressure on the elbow or repetitive bending of the elbow.
6. Epicondylitis (“tennis elbow”)
Epicondylitis, commonly referred to as “tennis elbow,” is a condition that affects the elbow and forearm. It occurs when the tendons that attach to the lateral epicondyle (the bony bump on the outer part of the elbow) become inflamed or irritated due to overuse, often leading to pain, tenderness, and swelling around the elbow joint.
Epicondylitis can occur in the workplace as a result of repetitive or forceful motions that involve gripping, twisting, or lifting. Common workplace activities that can trigger epicondylitis include:
- Manual labor
- Construction work
- Frequent lifting and placing of objects
- Frequent computer and keyboard use
7. Thoracic outlet syndrome
Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) is a medical condition that occurs when nerves and blood vessels in the neck and shoulder area become compressed or pinched. This can cause pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the arm, hand, and fingers. TOS can result from a range of work-related activities, such as:
- Repetitive overhead movements and postures, such as in painting and construction
- Poor ergonomics and improper workstation setup, such as working with a computer that is too high or too low
- Carrying heavy bags on the shoulder or wearing heavy equipment or backpacks for a prolonged time
- Working with vibrating tools that can cause nerve compression, such as jackhammers and chainsaws
Poor Posture Injuries
Poor posture can cause significant damage, especially for employees who work long hours while sitting. Poor posture can result in back pain, sciatica, or herniated discs. Office workers are especially prone to poor posture injuries resulting from incorrect desk set-up, repetitive reaching, and non-ergonomic equipment.
Mental Distress Injuries
Employees who experience prolonged mental distress in the workplace may suffer from depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). High-stress jobs or jobs that involve harassment or extreme-pressure environments are common sources of mental distress. Mental distress injuries are also commonly seen in first responders, such as EMTs, firefighting, and law enforcement.
It's essential for California employees to prioritize their mental and physical health to avoid injuries in the workplace. Staying active, taking breaks as needed, using ergonomic equipment, and reporting safety hazards in the workplace can ensure safety for yourself and others on the job. Learn more about workers’ compensation for mental health conditions in our blog.
Passionate Representation for Injured California Employees
With over 75 years of collective experience, Alvandi Law Group is California’s trusted name for legal representation in workers’ compensation cases. Whether you were injured in a work vehicle or developed PTSD while working as a first responder, you can count on our skilled legal advocates to keep your best interests at heart while fighting fiercely for the compensation you deserve in court.
Our accomplished workers’ comp attorneys have successfully represented workers throughout California in a wide range of workers’ compensation cases after sustaining workplace injuries, from catastrophic injuries to construction accidents. Whether you need help with appealing a workers' comp decision or are unsure of where to begin the filing process, our compassionate firm has the in-depth knowledge and experience to advocate for your unique needs and ensure that your voice is heard.
Workplace injuries can derail an employee’s health and financial security. Contact us online to learn how our workers’ comp lawyers can help.