Has your job become a pain in the…wrist?
Filing a carpal tunnel workers comp claim can give you the time you need to recover.
There are some parts of your body that you never pay attention to…unless they’re bothering you. The carpal tunnel in your wrist is one of those parts.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common work-related injuries among American workers. And if you’ve ever experienced the pain, numbness, tingling, or discomfort of this condition, you know that it can be very difficult to maintain the same quality of life at work or at home.
But can you file a carpal tunnel workers comp claim? Is carpal tunnel syndrome covered by workers compensation? In this article, we’ll address these questions (and a few more) to give you a better understanding of carpal tunnel and workers compensation.
What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when pressure is put on the median nerve.
As you can see in the image below, the carpal tunnel (1) is actually a tunnel! This hollow area is surrounded on one side by the transverse carpal ligament (2), which is in turn surrounded by the carpal bones (6). The median nerve (3) is located on the other side of the carpal tunnel, underneath the skin on the palm side of the wrist.
The median nerve provides sensory information to all of the fingers (except for the little finger) and allows your thumb and pointer finger to grasp things.
When a misaligned wrist bone, inflamed ligament, or growth (such as a cyst or tumor) puts pressure on this nerve, you may feel characteristic symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, including pain, numbness, tingling, weakness, itching/burning sensations, or even shock-like twinges. These symptoms may be localized to the wrist and hand, or may shoot up into your arm or shoulder.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can happen to anyone, but certain factors can increase your risk:
- Gender – Women are more likely than men to suffer from this condition, as their carpal tunnels are much smaller than men’s
- Age – Older individuals are at greater risk
- Health Conditions – Conditions like diabetes can make nerve damage more likely
- Injury – Broken bones and/or inflammation can put increased pressure on the median nerve
- Lifestyle – Computer use isn’t the only activity that can cause carpal tunnel syndrome, any repetitive motion involving your hands or wrists can cause this overuse injury
Carpal tunnel treatment usually involves anti-inflammatory medication and wearing a splint to prevent the wrist from moving. In more severe cases, surgery may be required. Depending on the severity of your injuries, your doctor may even ask that you be excused from your regular work duties, to avoid making the issue worse.
Is Carpal Tunnel Covered By Workers Comp?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a legitimate occupational injury, and it is one of the most common. In fact, overexertion and overuse injuries such as carpal tunnel are the number one cause of workers compensation claims in the United States.
Carpal tunnel should be covered by workers comp as long as your normal work duties contributed to at least 51% of your condition.
Understand that this does not mean that having a pre-existing condition makes you ineligible for workers compensation benefits. It just means that your job needs to be the most significant cause of your symptoms.
Do not let your employer or their insurance company talk you out of filing a workers compensation claim! Your health comes first and carpal tunnel syndrome has been long-recognized as a work-related injury.
Average Carpal Tunnel Workers Compensation Settlement Amount
The workers compensation program is designed to be “self-executing.” This means that you should not be required to hire an attorney to receive the benefits you’re entitled to under the law. However, some cases are disputed by the insurance company and result instead in lawyers getting involved. With or without a lawyer, most cases result in a workers’ comp settlement.
If you are currently waiting for a settlement offer, you’ve probably already put some thought into the average settlement amount for carpal tunnel syndrome.
Beware of any blog post that gives you even a ballpark estimate and claims that is what you are entitled to receive. Because no two injuries are alike, no two carpal tunnel workers comp claims will be alike either.
- your unique injuries,
- the treatment you received,
- your average weekly wages leading up to the injury,
- the strength of your case, and
- whether or not you have a workers compensation attorney.
Having experienced legal representation on your side will give you a better chance of getting the full amount of compensation you deserve.
Help With Your Carpal Tunnel Workers Comp Claim
Proving that your carpal tunnel syndrome was primarily caused by your job can be difficult.
Even if your employer is sympathetic to your plight, your employer’s workers comp insurance company may try to deny your claim, stating a pre-existing condition or a hobby outside of work is to blame for your injuries.
And one important thing to remember is that the insurance company has an entire legal team on their side.
To successfully argue your carpal tunnel workers comp claim, you need to have experienced, knowledgeable representation. Hiring a dedicated workers comp attorney will give you the best chance you need to fight claim denials, undervalued claims, and other complications.
Here in Florida, the deadline for filing a workers comp claim is 30 days from:
- The date of the injury,
- The date you first noticed symptoms, or
- A doctor’s diagnosis.
Remember, if you have been injured as a result of a repetitive stress injury or a workplace accident, you have rights!
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common work injury, although it may not feel that way to you. In fact, your symptoms are likely a great hindrance to your life—both at work and at home.
But you don’t have to take your injuries lying down. If your job contributed to your condition, do not hesitate to file a carpal tunnel workers comp claim and speak to a dedicated workers compensation attorney.
In addition to notifying you of your rights, your attorney can assist you with any disputes that may arise with the insurance company. At the Law Office of Brian D. Tadros, P.A., we practice workers comp law and only workers comp law and we believe in educating our clients as well as advocating for them.
Schedule a free consultation today to see how we can help.