Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Workers Compensation
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a type of repetitive stress injury affecting the median nerve at the wrist. Those who perform repetitive motions of the hand and wrist, such as frequent typing, sewing, assembly line work, or using vibrating tools, are at an increased risk of developing this type of repetitive stress syndrome. Because women's wrists are generally smaller than men's, women are three times more likely than men to develop carpal tunnel syndrome.
Filing a Carpal Tunnel Workers Comp Claim
People unable to work due to carpal tunnel syndrome may be able to receive compensation through unemployment insurance or workers compensation. Most states cover these injuries, as long as it's determined that the injury is work related, though there can be difficulties. A person's medical history may be scrutinized to determine if there are any other factors which contributed to the injury.
Whether or not carpal tunnel syndrome is truly a work related injury is still being debated, therefore some insurers may try to avoid paying for these types of claims. How open an insurer is to providing coverage may depend on state workers compensation laws as well as the specific insurer. Insurers may deny an initial claim, attempt to prove that the injury isn't work related, or may even accuse workers of faking a carpal tunnel injury. Some insurers have even pushed lawmakers to limit or eliminate coverage for carpal tunnel injuries. Therefore, workers with a carpal tunnel injury may have to fight to prove their claim is valid by obtaining additional medical evidence.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome usually start gradually. Like any type of repetitive stress injury, the extent and severity of symptoms depend on a number of factors, including a person's medical history and how the injury was sustained.
General symptoms include:
- Pain in the wrist or the hand
- Pain extending to the elbow
- Numbness and tingling in the palm or fingers
- Hand weakness and weak grip
- Problems with finger coordination
- Difficulty performing manual tasks
Treatment of carpal tunnel related repetitive stress syndrome involves resting the wrist for at least two weeks, avoiding repetitive activities, and wearing a splint to stabilize the wrist. Corticosteroids, lidocaine, and anti inflammatory drugs are also used, and alternative therapies such as acupuncture, yoga, and chiropractic treatments have proved successful. There are also surgical options for severe cases.
Help from a Workers Compensation Attorney
An experienced attorney can assist those looking to file a claim for a repetitive stress injury. Additionally, anyone who has been fired or denied compensation for carpal tunnel syndrome either through unemployment insurance or workers compensation should consult an attorney in order to determine what legal options are available.