Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Workers' Comp
Workers’ compensation is commonly associated with serious workplace injuries that cause a worker to suffer immediate debilitations that interfere with their work. However, as more and more people start to work from home and in office environments, there is also an increase in workers’ compensation filings for repetitive stress injuries (RSI), which happen when completing the same motion again and again. RSIs usually do not require the repeated motion to even be strenuous. Repeating even something that seems simple and harmless initially can eventually cause a repetitive stress injury.
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is among the most common types of RSIs. In many cases, an office worker who does nothing but type all day develops CTS gradually, sometimes after years of employment. The chances of carpal tunnel syndrome occurring will only worsen if that employee does not take adequate breaks or does not have ergonomic equipment in their office, like a custom ergonomic keyboard.
Can You Get Workers’ Comp for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Many people who have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome worry that it is not a legitimate injury and will not be covered by their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance because it is a health condition that occurred gradually. The truth is that CTS is covered in the average workers’ compensation insurance policy due to its connection to certain types of work and its likelihood to debilitate the worker. If you have carpal tunnel syndrome due to your work, then you should talk to a workers’ comp lawyer today about what you can do.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is an injury that occurs when the carpal tunnel in the wrist puts too much pressure on the median nerve. Overuse of the wrist, hands, fingers, and forearms can cause the carpal tunnel and surrounding tendons to become inflamed and swell. The swelling is what puts the pressure on the median nerve, resulting in chronic pain and limited hand movement and dexterity.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome may include:
- Tingling, numbness, weakness, and pain in the fingers or hand
- Forearm pain
- Finger shakiness, sometimes in all fingers and thumb
If left untreated, the condition can cause a loss of feeling and coordination in the fingers and hand, making typing, lifting, and grasping difficult, painful, or impossible. In rarer cases, hand muscles can atrophy as a result of severe carpal tunnel syndrome. Surgery might be able to relieve pressure on the median nerve, but most patients will want to explore other options due to the cost and inherent risks of surgery.
Workers at Risk of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The workers most likely to acquire CTS use repetitive motions, such as twisting, bending, or striking during their day-to-day work. Employees who use computers daily, factory assembly line workers, professional drivers, musicians, crafters, and chefs are all susceptible to this type of injury. Those workers who use vibrating machinery are the most likely to develop CTS, as the vibration can severely aggravate the damage to the median nerve.
Because the condition can arise as a result of a repetitive stress injury, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance should fully cover the medical bills related to your carpal tunnel syndrome treatments. If you cannot continue work at all for an extended period, then you might also be able to recover lost wages until you recover through income replacement benefits. To deter an insurance company from arbitrarily denying your workers’ comp claim, you should look for evidence that shows your CTS is work-related. This evidence could come from the testimony of a reliable doctor or could originate from a coworker experiencing a similar condition. Without such evidence, the responding insurance company will probably try to say you caused your CTS through some unrelated activity, like certain hobbies.
Worried an Insurer Will Fight Your Claim?
If you think your carpal tunnel syndrome workers’ compensation claim will be challenged by the insurance company, contact Leonard Law Group as soon as possible. Our Chicago carpal tunnel workers’ comp claim attorneys have represented more than 7,500 clients in cases across Illinois. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay no upfront costs for legal representation. Once your case is favorably resolved through settlement or a verdict, a percentage of your winnings will be used to reimburse us for the cost of our legal advocacy. Let us see what we can do for you, so dial (312) 487-2513 today.