Many people think that workers’ compensation is just for jobs that come with a risk of acute and serious injury (such as construction work). But that isn’t the case. While some jobs are inherently more dangerous than others, you can become injured in any workplace setting.
People who work with their hands and fingers all day long are at risk of developing problems over time, even if the work they do isn’t very demanding on any given day. Those who type at a computer all day or work on a factory assembly line, for instance, can develop a condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome, which is estimated to impact as many as 15 million Americans. And in nearly every state, CTS is recognized as a compensable injury under workers’ compensation laws.
What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Like many occupational injuries that develop over time, carpal tunnel syndrome is a form of repetitive stress injury. It is characterized by compression of one of the main nerves (the median nerve) that travels through the wrist and into the hand. The compression or squeezing of the nerve occurs in the wrist passageway known as the carpal tunnel.
Those who develop carpal tunnel syndrome experience numbness, pain, and tingling in their hands and arms. If it is diagnosed early and certain steps are taken to alleviate symptoms, the condition can be managed with reasonable success. If not detected and treated, however, it will almost certainly get worse and could lead to permanent nerve damage and increased symptoms.
Treatment and Mitigation
As mentioned above, there are early interventions that often prove effective. They include:
If carpal tunnel syndrome is diagnosed too late or allowed to progress, relief may only be available through surgery.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Most of the time, CTS is caused by repetitive stress accumulating over time. If your duties involve certain repetitive motions, there is a good chance that your claim for benefits will be approved without much pushback.
However, CTS can also be caused by trauma and acute injury to the wrist. If you hurt your wrist in a car accident or a slip-and-fall, for instance, you could develop CTS. If the trauma occurred outside of work and symptoms began shortly thereafter, you may have a more difficult time getting your claim approved.
How a Lawyer Can Help
You don’t legally need an attorney to file a workers’ compensation claim, but many injured employees find that it makes the process much smoother and more likely to be successful. If you’ve been injured at work in either an acute accident or by repetitive stress, experienced attorneys are ready to advocate on your behalf from initial claim filing through all necessary levels of appeal.