What Types of Injuries and Illnesses are Covered by Workers’ Compensation?

When you are injured at work in California, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation. However, not everyone knows what types of injuries and illnesses are covered and what you can expect from the entire process related to California’s Labor Code. If you are trying to plan your next move, some of the following information may be helpful.

California’s Labor Code

According to the California Labor Code, an injury may happen in two scenarios:

  • A specific injury from one incident or exposure, causing disability or need for medical treatment.
  • A cumulative injury from repetitive mentally or physically traumatic activities over a period, resulting in disability or need for medical treatment.

We will cover the types of injuries these include in more detail below so that you can be sure of your rights for workers’ compensation as soon as possible.

Specific Injuries

A specific injury results from a single incident at one location. For example, falling off a roof while repairing it and sustaining a fracture, or tripping on a floor mat, and injuring yourself when you fell, would be classed as specific injuries. They are specific, since you can identify the time, place, and injury due to it being a one-off single event. Some specific injuries are more common than others:


If you overexert yourself performing a task at your job, you may strain, pull, or tear a muscle. These are common in labor-intensive lines of work, such as construction sites. However, overexertion can happen in almost any workplace.

Struck By an Object

Being struck by an object can also happen in nearly any industry. You could be an office worker hit by a ream of paper on a shelf, or a construction worker being struck by falling lumber.

Cumulative or Repetitive Strain Injuries

Even though cumulative injuries and repetitive strain injuries can be complex to determine a timeline for, they are often covered by workers’ compensation. Such injuries happen over time, based on repetitive actions or exposure.

If you are a goods delivery worker moving heavy boxes by hands, your sore back may be caused by this repetitive action. You did not injure yourself in one incident, but the frequent movement still caused your injury. Alternatively, if you work as a writer and are diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, you may also be eligible due to repetitive use of a keyboard.

Psychiatric or Emotional Injuries

Workers’ compensation may also cover emotional and psychiatric injuries from a challenging or stressful work environment. However, the employee must meet several criteria for this form of compensation with many inclusions and exclusions. You may be eligible for workers’ compensation for a psychiatric injury if your mental disorder causes a need for medical treatment or results in disability. It must also be diagnosed according to procedures outlined in the Labor Code.

Getting Workers’ Compensation for Injuries and Illnesses

If you have experienced a workplace injury or illness, consider contacting a reputable workers’ compensation attorney. They understand the intricacies of the claims system, not to mention the difficulties of making a claim if employers and insurance carriers don’t agree with your version of events.   When the time comes to get your claims process underway, the information above may prove helpful. If you require any more assistance, schedule a free consultation with an experienced San Jose worker’s compensation lawyer.