Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a painful and sometimes debilitating injury involving the median nerve that runs from the forearm to the palm of the hand. It is typically caused by repetitive motion but can also result from physical trauma, such as that experienced in a car accident. Thousands of Americans are diagnosed with CTS every year, and many of them have grounds to seek compensation. But without the assistance of a skilled workers comp lawyer, their chances are slim that they will receive anything at all. This is why those suffering with carpal tunnel syndrome should immediately seek the help of an experienced, successful workers comp attorney.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
CTS begins when the median nerve is squeezed or pressed at the wrist. The median nerve serves several purposes, including controlling of some of the smaller muscles at the base of the thumb and providing sensation for the index finger, middle finger, part of the ring finger, and the palm side of the thumb.
The median nerve is housed, along with the tendons that enable the fingers to bend, in a narrow passageway surrounded by bones and ligaments. This passageway is in the wrist at the base of the hand. CTS occurs when damage to the carpal tunnel causes compression of the median nerve. It can be caused by something as simple as swelling, reducing the space available to the median nerve.
How Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Develops
CTS develops because of damage to the carpal tunnel. One of the most common causes is repetitive motion or working in awkward or frozen positions for extended periods. It can also occur from exposure to constant vibration – such as using vibrating hand tools or construction equipment – or working in very cold temperatures. CTS is especially common in people who work on assembly lines, including those that involve sewing, manufacturing, cleaning, or meat processing. It can also affect those who work with computers regularly, such as data-entry operators. However, it is important to keep in mind that CTS is not limited to just one type of job.
Non-work related CTS usually occurs because of some type of traumatic injury, such as a sprain or fracture, that involves the wrist. Wrist injuries that occur due to car accidents as the driver grips the steering wheel are extremely common. However, anything that can reduce the space available for the median nerve in the carpal tunnel can cause CTS to develop.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The onset of CTS symptoms can occur very slowly over months and even years. One of the first symptoms that many people develop is a tingling sensation, sometimes described as a “pins and needles” feeling in the hands and fingers. This may develop into a permanent loss of sensation and numbness in the fingers and the palm of the hand. Some people can no longer use their hands and fingers to differentiate between hot and cold. Other symptoms can include:
- Fingers feeling swollen and clumsy, even though no swelling is visible
- Having the need to “shake out” a hand or wrist, especially upon waking up in the morning
- No longer grasping objects easily, and losing the ability to perform manual tasks
- Pain and cramping of the hands or fingers
- Burning and numbness in the arms and shoulders
Hiring a Workers Comp Lawyer for Your CTS
Whether you believe that your carpal tunnel syndrome developed because of a repetitive movement you use at work or because of an accident, it is very important that you hire an accident or workers comp lawyer right away. Even if you stopped working for the company that you believe is responsible, you may still be owed compensation. For those whose CTS resulted from a job, this is especially true if your employer denies that you were injured on the job, your insurance company has sent you a Notice of Denial, you were promised compensation that you never received, you have been refused medical treatment, or a deposition has been requested by your insurance company or by your employer.
If your CTS was caused by the work you do, then you may be able to file a workers compensation claim. This applies even if you left the job that you believe caused the injuries. Keep in mind that symptoms may take months or even years to fully develop. You may be entitled to medical expenses, lost wages, and disability compensation. On the other hand, if your CTS resulted from an accident due to another person’s neglect (such as a car accident), you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. You may be eligible for compensation including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Neither your employer nor any insurance companies involved will have your best interests at heart when you suffer an injury such as CTS on the job. They will always consider their bottom line, regardless of the length of your employment or the relationship you may have with management. You need legal assistance to establish your case and make sure that you are treated fairly in the eyes of the law.
The Best Workers Comp Lawyer in Delaware County
Donaghue & Labrum is your best choice for a workers comp lawyer if you or a loved one is suffering the debilitating effects of carpal tunnel syndrome. We have over 25 years of experience specializing in personal injury law, including worker’s compensation claims and personal injury claims. Donaghue & Labrum will fight to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve! Contact us today for a free consultation.