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What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
(Treatment, Types & Compensation)

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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

Schmidt & Clark, LLP is not currently accepting these types of cases and has posted this content for information purposes only. We encourage you to seek a qualified attorney, if you feel you might have a case.


If you have been inflicted with carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive stress injuries due to the nature of your job, then you may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. 

Carpal tunnel injury or continuous trauma work-related injury may also be valid reasons to file a workers comp claim.

With over a decade of expertise as an attorney, I'm here to provide you with comprehensive knowledge on Carpal tunnel syndrome and whether it can lead to termination from your job.

Quick Summary

  • As the keyboard and mouse become a staple for most jobs, repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome are becoming an ever-growing issue.
  • To ensure a more efficient process, contemporary thinking dictates that an occupational disease should be treated as a compensable injury under workers' compensation.
  • The most common repetitive stress injury is carpal tunnel syndrome.

What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

A person suffering from carpal tunnel syndromeCarpal tunnel syndrome is a median nerve compression injury caused by repetitive motions that overexert your hands and fingers [1].

 It's not uncommon for office workers who type or use the mouse extensively to suffer from this ailment, as the frequent movement of these extremities can easily lead to it developing.

Carpal tunnel syndrome can begin with mild tingling in the palm of your hand and between the thumb and index finger.

If left untreated, you may find yourself unable to make a fist or have difficulty grasping small objects.

How Can You Tell if You Have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

You can tell if you have Carpal tunnel syndrome by visiting a doctor. If you may have carpal tunnel syndrome, the best way to get a diagnosis is by undergoing an examination with tests from your doctor.

Afterward, they will be able to give a referral for further treatment from a specialist if needed.

Carpal tunnel syndrome can have various origins, including trauma, arthritis, illness, pregnancy, and diabetes. Yet the most common reason for its emergence is excessive or repetitious movements of the hands and wrists. 

Other movements include:

  • Acting out the same motions over and over again.
  • Being constantly exposed to vibration can take its toll on your body and mind.
  • Working in freezing conditions can be uncomfortable and even dangerous.

Repetitive stress injuries don't always show their unpleasant faces right away - they can build up unexpectedly, and by the time you leave the job that caused them, it may be too late to get a proper diagnosis.

Don't delay taking action if you have a repetitive stress injury or carpal tunnel case. Statutes of limitations place finite deadlines on when legal cases may be pursued; missing that window means indefinitely forfeiting your right to justice.

Who Suffers From Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

An office worker suffering from carpal tunnel

Those who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome can vary from an intense computer or mouse-based workers to manual laborers and factory workers who operate vibrating tools.

Age, body weight, and other medical conditions may contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome. Still, certain workplace repetitive movements are also known for causing the onset of this condition [2].

These include:

  • Working at a cash register
  • Doing nonstop data entry for your job
  • Slicing objects without taking a break
  • Lifting heavy objects

Can You Get Fired for Having Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

No, you can't get fired for having Carpal tunnel syndrome. It is illegal to be terminated for filing a carpal tunnel case; however, many individuals are hesitant to file a workers' compensation claim because they fear being fired.

We recommend retaining legal representation as soon as possible to ensure that you receive justice and protect yourself from an unethical employer.  

Doing so will shield you from any wrongful termination by those who wish to take advantage of your situation and deny you legally entitled rights. 

Nonetheless, an employee diagnosed with the condition may not necessarily be eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or receive protection through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Related: Average Wrongful Termination Settlement

What Is the Treatment of Carpal Tunnel?

A person taking care of his carpal tunnel in an officeTreating carpal tunnel syndrome often begins with conservative measures such as wearing a splint at night, taking anti-inflammatory medications or corticosteroids, avoiding activities that aggravate symptoms, and performing exercises or stretching to strengthen the wrist muscles and hand.

If these measures do not relieve symptoms, surgery may be recommended to release pressure on the median nerve. This surgery is usually performed as an outpatient procedure, meaning you can go home the same day.

Recovery from carpal tunnel surgery typically involves wearing a splint or brace for several weeks and avoiding activities that strain your wrist until it fully recovers.

In some cases, physical therapy may be recommended after surgery to help improve strength and range of motion. 

It is important to note that carpal tunnel syndrome can worsen over time if it is not treated, so seeking medical advice as soon as possible is recommended. 

How Can You Claim Workers’ Compensation for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

A worker massaging their wristIf you get injured while at work, chances are that you will be able to reap the benefits of workers' compensation.

It is critical to recognize whether your state classifies carpal tunnel syndrome as an "accident" or an "occupational disease" since this distinction determines the evidence you must provide in order to qualify for workers' compensation benefits. 

Some states classify carpal tunnel as an "accident" because it can be caused by a one-time event such as lifting or using vibrating equipment. However, many states recognize this condition as an occupational disease.

They require proof that the employee's job was the primary cause of their injury rather than other factors such as age or genetics.

To secure the compensation you are entitled to, you should contact a qualified lawyer specializing in workers' compensation cases. 

Furthermore, ensure to provide them with all documents related to the issue, such as medical records, diagnosis results, and reports from any other specialists you may have consulted.

The standard of evidence you must provide to prove carpal tunnel syndrome depends on how it is classified.

If the work-related injury is considered an occupational disease, then a high level of proof (clear and convincing) must be presented that illustrates its relationship to your job.

Also Read: When Will Workers’ Compensation Offer a Settlement?

See the other personal injury and accident lawsuits we've covered.

FAQs:

Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome a Workplace Injury?

Yes, carpal tunnel syndrome is a workplace injury. Nonetheless, a worker may have a secondary job involving repetitive motions or be an enthusiastic tennis player outside of work. In both cases, carpal tunnel syndrome could arise due to these activities.

How Long Will I Be Off Work for Carpal Tunnel?

The amount of time you will be off for carpal tunnel is based on the severity of your condition. For minor cases, light duty with modifications may be an option. More severe cases might require a few weeks or months of rest and medical treatment before returning to work.

Is It OK to Work With Carpal Tunnel?

Yes, it is ok to work with carpal tunnel. Although Carpal Tunnel Syndrome does not directly impair cognitive abilities, the associated pain can make it difficult to stay focused on work.

File a Workers' Compensation Claim

If the insurance company attempts to dispute your work-related injury, seek legal counsel from an experienced workers' compensation attorney to ensure that you receive what is rightfully yours.

Contact Schmidt & Clark, LLP for a free case evaluation. Our attorney-client relationship is built on trust and confidentiality, so you can rest assured that your case will be handled with the utmost respect.


References:

  1. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/carpal-tunnel-syndrome#:~:text=Carpal%20tunnel%20syndrome%20is%20when,the%20top%20of%20the%20wrist.
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8950808/