Can I Get Workers Compensation For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

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According to Bureau of Labor statistics, the average number of days lost by workers for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) in 2007 was 28. This was the second highest average recorded. This is a cause for concern. While you cannot be fired for carpal tunnel syndrome, you can apply for Workers Compensation if you need to take time off from work.

Defining and Describing CTS

CTS is often referred to as a repetitive strain injury (RSI). It occurs damage strikes the median nerve. This nerve runs from the forearm through a “tunnel” of 9 tendons into your hand. Covering the tunnel is a ligament. Covering the tendons are a lubricating membrane – the synovium. If the membrane swells, it pushes the median nerve against the ligament. The result is CTS.

Indications of CTS include:

  • A tingling sensation in the affected region
  • Numbness
  • Weakness in gripping anything
  • Lack of co-ordination

The problem with CTS is its slow progression. It does not typically manifest itself immediately. If caught in its early stages, a physician can reverse it. If not, the problem may lead to long periods off work or permanent disability.

Who Gets CTS?

At one point, the common perception was that only typists and computer operators commonly contracted CTS. This is in contrast to the reality. CTS is most common among laborers freight movers and stock handlers. These job involve constant repetition and/or vibration. Among these forms of employment are

  • Assembly line work
  • Jack hammer operators
  • Engraving work
  • Typists
  • Cashier price scanners

Workers’ Compensation And CTS

Any individual who gets work-related CTS is eligible for Workers’ Compensation. He or she cannot be fired for carpal tunnel syndrome. Yet, it is not easy to receive Workers’ Compensation using CTS. The difficulty is the result of the nature of the health issue.

CTS is not immediately visible. Symptoms may develop slowly – perhaps after you switch jobs. As a result, it is often difficult to establish the problem is actually work-related. In order to establish a valid claim, it is essential to ascertain unequivocally a direct link between the work and the incidence of CTS. This will require medical proof.  Since Workers’ Comp can subject any applicant to a so-called independent medical examination, it is absolutely necessary the medical evidence be irrefutable. If it is not, the judge may deny benefits.

Relying On A Lawyer

The issue of providing irrefutable proof  of CTS to receive benefits makes it crucial to rely on the skills of a Workers’ Compensation lawyer.

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