What is the Difference Between Specific and Cumulative Injuries?

There are basically two types of work injuries stated in California’s Labor Code.
  1. Specific Injury: An injury that basically is the result of one thing on one day. Examples include a trip-and-fall injury, a cut or amputation from using work equipment, or a sudden impact. The California Labor Code defines a specific injury as “occurring as the result of one incident or exposure which causes disability or need for medical treatment.” LC 3208.1

  2. Cumulative Injury: An injury happening over time. Examples include carpal tunnel from repetitive work duties at the office or in the field or prolonged back pain due to continuous heavy lifting. The California Labor Code defines a cumulative injury as “occurring as repetitive mentally or physically traumatic activities extending over a period of time, the combined effect of which causes any disability or need for future medical treatment.” LC 3208.1

  3. The can be a mixture of specific and cumulative injuries. For instance, these could include smoke inhalation at the scene of a fire by a firefighter who later has respiratory problems or pungent cleaning chemicals at work that lead to internal difficulties. Or even repeated stress at work, or a significant work stressor, that leads to a heart attack at home.
Please note the Labor Code recognizes mental industrial injuries as well as work injuries that result in death.

Please contact Ferchland Law Office for a free consultation if you believe you were injured at work.