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Nearly half of all litigated workers' compensation claims in the Los Angeles basin are cumulative trauma claims.
By Lonce Lamonte, editor - March 19, 2024

Cumulative trauma claims, or CT claims, involve physical or mental injuries from repetitive stress or repetitive bending and stooping.  Generally speaking, they involve repetitive motion or overall ongoing exposures.

The California Workers' Compensation Institute (CWCI) study used a date range from 2010 to 2022 to examine 1.4 million work injury claims.  The claims characteristics most associated with cumulative trauma claims were looked at considering the growth of litigated claims which were identified as cumulative trauma.

The sharpest increase was in Orange County and the Inland Empire.  Cumulative trauma claims went from 30.2% of the litigated claims in 2010 to 40.6% in 2022.  This was slightly more than the increase in Los Angeles County where CT claims moved from 38.6% to 48.7% of litigated claims; and in San Diego where CT claims moved from 25% to 33.4 % of the litigated claims.  

Statewide, CT claims rose from 29.4% to 37.5% of all litigated claims over the study period of the 13 years.  Cumulative trauma claims' share of all litigated claims was generally stable in Northern California and the Central Valley, but increased in 2022, the last year of the study; while Southern California CT claims' share of the litigated claims increased evenly and incrementally throughout the entire period.

The differences between regions were only partially explained.  Some partial differences were shown in other underlying claim characteristics.  

CT claims were shown to be most prevalent in the manufacturing sector.  There, they accounted for nearly half of the litigated claims.  This was almost twice the proportion shown in the construction sector.

Workers' under age 30 had a lower CT rate (28.3%) than workers over 30, whose cumulative trauma rates ranged from 25.1% to 38.8%.

However, more than one-third of all CT claims in the study were of injured workers' under the age of forty.  

Cumulative trauma rates were much higher for workers' at the lower end of the wage scale.  The CT rates were 40% for workers who made $300 or less per week.  It was 42.1% for those earning $300 to $599 per week.  For workers making more that $900 per week, CT claims represented between 30% and 31.7% of their litigated claims.

At CWCI.org, subscribers can log in to access the full report under the Research tab at the top Menu Bar or one can purchase a copy of the 20 page report for $21.00 from the California Workers' Compensation Institute's store.  The store is at:  CWCI.org/store.html$si=277


Lonce Lamonte, journalist, lonce@adjustercom.com; adjustercom, www.adjustercom.com



 

 
 

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