Cumulative Trauma Injuries Covered by Workers’ Compensation
Many workplace injuries are the result of a single or sudden accident. However, some workplace injuries are developed over time due to repetitive stress. One of the most common repetitive stress injuries is referred to as carpal tunnel syndrome. It’s a medical condition caused by damage to the median nerve which runs from the forearm to the palm of the hand. When there is pressure on that nerve, it can cause a tremendous amount of pain and limited mobility. When carpal tunnel syndrome develops over time from repeated motions, a worker could be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
- Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Types of Professions Putting Workers Most at Risk
- Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
According to the Mayo Clinic, carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms start gradually and become more persistent over time. Most workers report the feeling of numbness or tingling in their thumbs, index and middle fingers. They often try to shake their hands out to relieve the symptoms. That may work at first, but over time, the numb feeling will become constant. The condition can also cause pain in the wrist and the palm of the hand.
Workers who experience these symptoms often describe the sensation as an electric shock through their fingers, traveling from their wrist up through their arm. The symptoms often happen when the worker is holding a steering wheel, a phone, a magazine or some other small object.
Types of Professions Putting Workers Most at Risk
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has broken down the incidence rates by occupation per 10,000 full-time workers. The professions putting workers most at risk include:
- Bus drivers
- Tractor-trailer drivers
- Food prep workers
- Factory assembly line workers
- Laborers and freight movers
- Telecommunications installers
- Maids and housecleaners
- Computer/data entry workers
The BLS also breaks down the reported incidents of carpal tunnel syndrome into different industry sectors. Not surprising, manufacturing workers who work assembly lines have significantly higher rates of this type of injury.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with occupational carpal tunnel syndrome, you have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim. Benefits generally include reimbursement for medical and therapy bills, related out-of-pocket expenses, and lost wages.
It is important to notify your employer as soon as your symptoms appear and to seek medical care. When documenting this type of injury with an employer and doctor, tell them when you first started noticing symptoms, what you were doing when you noticed the symptoms, and how it affects your ability to complete tasks both on and off the job.
Claims for repetitive stress injuries can be tricky, and your employer and its insurer may try to stand between you and the benefits you deserve. Our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys will fight to get you what you deserve while navigating the complicated process for you.
We’re available 24/7 and will come to you for a free consultation. We never collect a fee unless we get money for you. Contact us today and we’ll handle everything from here!