Workers’ Compensation for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
As more workers type and use a mouse for their jobs, repetitive stress injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, are on the rise. At Krivitzky, Springer & Feldman, our attorneys understand that these injuries can be debilitating. We can help you obtain carpal tunnel compensation and fight to ensure you receive all the benefits to which you’re rightfully owed.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Explained
The carpal tunnel is a slim passageway in the wrist, about an inch wide. It’s formed by tiny bones called carpal bones and the transverse carpal ligament. Because these bones and ligaments are rigid, the carpal tunnel is inflexible and has little ability to stretch or become wider.
The median nerve and tendons that help your fingers move pass through the carpal tunnel. When tissues around the tendons become swollen or the tunnel becomes constricted, it puts pressure on the median nerve. Even minimal swelling can affect the nerve and cause pain, numbness, weakness, and tingling in the hand, wrist and arm.
Causes Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused by several factors, including heredity, age, weight, pregnancy, and health conditions, including diabetes. However, it’s often caused by repetitive movements of the wrist and hand. In addition to affecting those who spend a lot of time typing, it can also be found in workers who sew, frequently use a cash register, work on assembly or production lines, kitchen workers, automotive technicians, hairstylists, and many other jobs that require repetitive motion of the hands and wrists. While it’s rare, this condition can occur even when a person carries out a task for a fairly small amount of time.
Diagnosis Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
If you believe you’re suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, it’s critical to seek treatment as soon as symptoms start. Because this condition can be caused by a number of factors, your doctor may ask you questions about other activities you do outside of work. They’ll perform an exam and may order diagnostic tests, such as an ultrasound, X-rays, MRI, and electrophysiological tests. All of these tests are painless but can be costly. That’s why it’s critical to seek the counsel of an experienced lawyer who can make certain that your employer’s workers’ comp insurer provides adequate restitution for carpal tunnel syndrome.
Treatment For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
When caught early, carpal tunnel syndrome may be treated with a brace, splint, rest, lifestyle changes, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and steroid injections. Sometimes treating carpal tunnel syndrome requires surgery to make more room for the nerve and tendons.
Recovery after surgery can take quite a while. Your pinch and grip strength may not return for a few months after surgery. If the state of your median nerve was particularly poor, it may not improve for six to 12 months. You’ll be restricted to light activities and won’t be able to perform your job duties. The doctor will monitor your progress to decide if you’re going to be able to return to work and if you have any job limitations.
Seeking Workers’ Compensation For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
As soon as you experience symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, report it to your supervisor or HR department and seek medical treatment. When you file a workers’ compensation claim for carpal tunnel syndrome, your employer or their insurer may argue that it was caused by nonwork-related activities or injuries. For example, if you have arthritis or play tennis outside of work, they may argue that your carpal tunnel syndrome was caused by those factors — not your job.
When it comes to demonstrating that your condition is work-related, the burden of proof is on you. This can be extremely challenging, especially when you’re in pain and unaware of how to prove your condition was caused by your job. A good workers’ comp attorney compiles compelling evidence, such as when symptoms of your condition began, your medical records, and other relevant information, to back up the claim that your carpal tunnel pain was triggered by repetitive use at work. Although insurance companies usually pay for treatment, they often balk at paying long-term disability payments and even try to make you return to work before your condition has healed completely.
Sometimes workers with carpal tunnel syndrome are unable to go back to the job they once had. Your workers’ compensation lawyer should be well-versed in New Jersey law and may be able to help you recover a lump-sum settlement, so you can move on with your life without worrying about your health and finances deteriorating.
Contact A Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Do you need assistance with obtaining workers’ compensation for carpal tunnel syndrome? Our experienced and compassionate team can help. Call Krivitzky, Springer & Feldman today at 201-798-2711 in Jersey City or 973-874-0556 in Newfoundland, New Jersey. You can also contact us online to ask questions or schedule a free consultation. We serve clients throughout New Jersey.