Can you get workers’ compensation claims for Carpal Tunnel? This is one of the questions that is regularly posted on worker compensation forums and message boards. If you asked this question, you must be spending hours sitting at your desk, typing on your computer or doing repetitive tasks in an assembly line. You may have also been diagnosed with this problem by your personal physician. Let’s take a look at Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and if its covered under workers’ compensation law?
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? Can Carpal Tunnel be covered under Workers Compensation?
It is a neurological disorder that is caused when the median nerve and the tendons that are responsible for flexing your fingers and the movement of your wrists get compressed. The median nerve running from your forearm into the palm of the hand through the “carpal tunnel” in your wrist becomes squeezed. In this condition, it becomes difficult for you to control the moment of your hands and fingers and can also result in pain, weakness, and numbness in your fingers, wrist and hands.
There are several underlying issues that can lead to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and these include age, gender, trauma, and complications arising from pregnancy and diabetes. But what should concern you here is Carpal Tunnel work-related injuries. These injuries are caused by repeated movements of your wrists and hands during:
- Long hours typing
- Use of cash register throughout the day
- Work that involves slicing, or pressing objects
- Working in an assembly line
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is common among IT workers used to typing for long hours, mechanics, assembly line workers, painters, cashiers, people in the garment industry and other jobs that call for long hours of repetitive tasks without breaks that allow the muscles and the nerves to relax.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can vary from one person to another and the kind of activity they perform throughout the day. Here are some of the common symptoms that you are likely to face if you are suffering from this medical condition:
- numbness, burning sensation or tingling of fingers
- pain in the wrists
- inability to grip objects and frequently dropping them
- loss of flexibility with fingers and hands
Can you claim workers’ compensation for Carpal Tunnel?
Carpal tunnel syndrome or carpal tunnel injury, as it is often called, is covered under workers’ compensation law along with several other workplace injuries. Once you are diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel wrist pain or suffering from other symptoms of this problem, you can make a valid injury claim and earn compensation for your injury.
Now for the bad news part, not every diagnosis of CTS is accepted by your employer’s insurer and in many cases, you may have to fight it hard to earn your Carpal Tunnel workers comp. The fact is the success of your claim rests on how your consultant physician able to determine the exact cause of your medical condition and attribute it to the hazards at your workplace.
What is the Value of Carpal Tunnel Claims?
Before you file your claim you may be interested in knowing about Carpal Tunnel compensation and how much can you claim while seeking compensation. The compensation you can claim for your medical condition would be based on three broad areas and you need to add them up while filing your compensation claim.
- The first and the foremost thing that you should claim under Carpal Tunnel Syndrome workers comp is your treatment cost. This should include all the costs you have incurred in your treatment including doctors’ fees, prescriptions, surgery costs, and rehab expenditure. You can also claim other costs related to your treatment such as transit expenses.
- The second thing you can claim is the loss of wages due to this medical condition during your treatment and rehabilitation period. Under the workers’ compensation law this is termed as a temporary disability benefit.
- Although it is rare if the medical condition isn’t diagnosed in time it can lead to permanent disability where you aren’t able to resume work. Your employer may put you through training to build additional skills or make you fit for another role. In case you aren’t able to resume work you can claim permanent disability benefits.
Carpal Tunnel Settlements for Injured Workers
With growing cases of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome being reported in recent years several injured workers have been successful with their claims. A few years back an employee of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company in Alabama earned $40,000 in compensation after the worker’s both his hands are affected by the condition. Similarly, another employee of a railroad company in Illinois was granted $1,700,000 after a long drawn lawsuit. There are several such examples you’d come across on the Internet where workers have succeeded in filing for Carpal Tunnel workers comp.
Lawyers who can Help You in Oakland As you can clearly see filing a Carpal Tunnel Syndrome worker compensation claim isn’t easy. We have already mentioned that the success of your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome workers’ compensation would be solely based upon how your doctor is able to determine the root cause of the problem. This is one loophole that is often exploited by the insurers to deny compensation to workers suffering from this medical condition.
It is important for you to seek help from a workers compensation attorney in Oakland CA, who has successful experience with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome cases.