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Camps Forming for Possibility of Cumulative Trauma Legislation

  • State: California
  • Topic: Top
  • - Average time spent on item: 54 minutes
  • - Popular with: Legal
Workers' comp professionals have started staking out positions for the possibility that Cal…

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7 Comments (5 Replies)

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Feb 16, 2018 a 5:02 am PST


Feb 16, 2018 a 12:15 pm PST

I am always suspect of academics who have never done a day of manual labor in their life attacking the notion that repetitive activities take a toll on an individual's body. Farmers' lung, baker's lung and asthma from inhaling glue, paint and other toxic fumes did not occur overnight.

I wonder what the "aging process" injury deniers think a carpet layer's knees would look like if they got old in a different occupation.

Christopher Brigham Feb 16, 2018 a 5:02 am PST

California has a very liberal definition for causation and has many unique (and some dysfunctional) features to its workers compensation system. My experience reviewing workers compensation claims in California is that most of the "cumulative trauma cases" are not the result of CT, rather reflect changes we see as we age and are unrelated to our work activities, e.g. degenerative disc disease. (I recognize that this may reflect a select sample which I review, i.e. cases are referred when causation is questionable.) Often CT is based simply on "post hoc ergo proper hoc" basis. Rarely do QME, AME or other stakeholders fully consider the facts, current evidence-based medicine and accepted scientific process in assessing causation and apportionment. We need to provide benefits to those who are injured as result of work; however, falsely attributing this to work is a disservice to the injured worker (since problems labeled as work-related and thus often associated with litigation result in worst outcomes for the patient) and to society. Links to useful resources are provided at www.causation.com and www.cbrigham.com

Joel Thomas Feb 16, 2018 a 7:02 am PST

This from a man who sits in a chair and types.

Feb 16, 2018 a 8:02 am PST


Feb 16, 2018 a 8:02 am PST


Alex Rossi Feb 16, 2018 a 10:02 am PST

Dr. Brigham articulates what many California workers’ compensation programs experience; namely, cost shifting related to comorbidities and the aging process to workers’ compensation. Clearly, all California employers have an undeniable obligation to provide adequate benefits to employees injured at work. Such should be viewed as both a legal and moral obligation. The “low threshold” for finding CT allegations compensable in California subjects California workers’ compensation programs to exposures not experienced in other States. Those exposures include increased medical management expenses and long-term CMS conditional payment demands. Injured workers, as they age, face the denial of needed treatment by Medicare. I have seen the nightmarish scenario of our retirees being denied needed medical care, that was clearly not work related, by Medicare because of MMSEA ICD-10 reporting (often caused by CT skin and content filings, the multiple ICD-10 reporting associated with such, and Medicare’s reading of the reported information). The filing of skin and content CT claims may have the unintended consequence of dropping the injured worker into a Kafkaesque healthcare world in the future. The above does not suggest a prohibition against CT filings, rather the need to establish of a predominant cause provision.

Gary Nelson Feb 16, 2018 a 8:02 am PST

Some CT claims arise out of the adoption of Labor Code 4663 regarding apportionment. If an injured worker is asymptomatic before a specific injury, and the examining doctor apportions PD to preexisting pathology, it is fair to ask where that pathology came from, which lead to CT claims.

Stuart Baron Feb 16, 2018 a 12:02 pm PST

If our friend below is so concerned about the carpet layers knees, why did he take the job in the first place and of course he did not take a paycheck for the work done. I have no problem with real injuries but to say that because you did a job for say 20 years, were paid for it and knew about the normal wear and tear on the body that you are now entitled to "wearing out" money is absurd.

Charles Cleveland Feb 17, 2018 a 12:02 pm PST

The theory that that wages and pay also purchase your body parts that wear out is also absurd. Many people perform arduous occupations because that is their lot in life. They are not selling their knees, shoulders and backs as part of their hourly wage. Not all people in labor related occupations develop wear and tear injuries but for those that do it can be debilitating. Continuous trauma and repetitive motion do cause real injuries. To not cover these injuries in the workers compensation system would merely shift the cost & coverage of these injuries to the taxpayer in the form of public health, disability, Social Security, and Medicare.

Alexander Solhi Feb 16, 2018 a 5:02 pm PST

Very interested to know how much this Lobbyist is getting paid to screw over injured workers???

Feb 17, 2018 a 1:02 pm PST


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