Signs and Symptoms of Cumulative Injuries

The signs and symptoms of cumulative injuries usually appear gradually, often starting and stopping before becoming constant. This is because the accumulation of the factor(s) causing the injuries takes some time, unlike acute or sudden injuries (e.g., injuries incurred in a fire or explosion, a fall from a height, or in a collision of objects). The wording "cumulative injuries" covers a wide range of injuries and disorders that develop over time, due to ever-present or frequently present factors such as:

  • vibration
  • noise
  • chemical exposure (e.g., toxins, vehicle exhaust, solvents, asbestos)
  • constant or frequent movements such as typing, lifting, twisting and climbing

Unfortunately, many railroad workers are routinely exposed to one or more (or perhaps all) of the above factors, making the risk of cumulative injuries very high in this worker population.

Signs and Symptoms of Cumulative Injuries

The symptoms and signs of cumulative trauma may be mild at first, or they may be severe, with a sudden onset. It can be difficult to pinpoint the date at which the signs or symptoms first occurred. Some symptoms may appear together, while others stand alone. The many potential signs and symptoms of cumulative injuries include (but are not limited to):

  • aching joints
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • ringing in the ears
  • unexplained pain
  • short bursts of severe pain
  • unexplained fatigue
  • unexplained weakness
  • numbness, tingling, or "pins and needles" sensations
  • appetite loss
  • difficulty hearing and understanding voices
  • unexplained weight loss
  • difficulty breathing
  • sleep problems
  • lack of stamina or energy

All of these signs and symptoms may indicate a number of maladies, or they may be linked to repetitive stress on the job. An individual who suspects that his symptoms are due to a cumulative injury should tell his physician all the details that he can about his duties at work. This is especially true of railroad workers, who are among the most at risk for cumulative trauma injuries.

Ask a FELA Attorney about Your Injury

While you're getting medical attention for your signs and symptoms of a cumulative injury, ask a FELA attorney about your legal rights. Our FELA attorneys are experienced in these types of cases and can help you seek compensation for your injuries and your suffering. Contact us to schedule a free review of your case.