San Diego Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Workers Comp
From building fires and hunting animals to typing expense reports and sorting parts on an assembly line, we have relied on the strength and vitality of our hands for millennia. Unfortunately, repeating the same tasks every day can cause wear and tear on the delicate tendons and nerves in the wrists, which can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common peripheral nerve entrapment disorder with more than eight million people affected each year.
Not only does carpal tunnel syndrome make it painful to complete everyday tasks, but it can also impede your ability to do your job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, carpal tunnel syndrome results in a median of 28 days away from work, making it the second most severe occupational injury. As any worker knows, taking nearly two months off work to recover from a condition like carpal tunnel would cause tremendous financial strain. Fortunately, employees who suffer from work-related carpal tunnel syndrome are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits while they get better.
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when tendons and other tissues in the wrist become irritated. The inflammation narrows the carpal tunnel, which is a thin passageway between the hand and forearm, and puts pressure on the median nerve. The median nerve runs from the forearm to the middle of the hand and provides sensation to the palm side of the thumb, index, middle, and part of the ring finger. The hallmark symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include numbness, weakness, or pain in the hand, wrist, and/or forearm.
An accident that results in a wrist sprain or fracture can lead to work-related carpal tunnel syndrome. Those employed in occupations that require repeated use of vibrating tools, like construction and manufacturing, or who perform assembly work are at a risk for carpal tunnel syndrome. In reality, any worker who performs tasks that involve prolonged or repeated flexion and extension of the wrists can develop carpal tunnel syndrome and require medical care.
Is carpal tunnel syndrome covered by workers’ comp?
When an employee develops work-related carpal tunnel syndrome because of his or her job activities, he or she may be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits under California law. Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome often requires corrective surgery to relieve pressure on the median nerve and tendons. Employees who don’t require surgery may instead simply rest the injured wrist or receive steroid injections to ease the compression.
Regardless of the treatment plan prescribed by your doctor, all medical care related to your carpal tunnel syndrome will be paid for by workers’ compensation. You will also receive benefits that cover a portion of your wages while you’re unable to work. Any splints, medication, and physical therapy required during recovery falls under workers’ compensation, too.
How to file a carpal tunnel syndrome workers’ comp claim
The first step towards filing a workers’ comp claim is notifying your employer of your injury. Because carpal tunnel syndrome develops over time, it’s important to report the condition to your supervisor as soon as you believe it was caused by your work activities. If you don’t report work-related carpal tunnel syndrome within 30 days of becoming aware of the condition, you may lose your right to collect workers’ compensation.
After notifying your employer, you will need to fill out and submit a DWC-1 Claim Form to officially file for workers’ compensation, along with an Application for Adjudication of Claim, a Declaration Pursuant to Labor Code 4906(g), and a cover sheet. Your employer’s insurance company must respond within 14 days and inform you of whether your claim was approved or denied.
As with all repetitive stress injuries, you will be responsible for proving your carpal tunnel syndrome was in fact caused by work. The insurance company will probably try to argue that your condition wasn’t caused by your work activities, but by your hobby of playing tennis or working at a second job on the weekends. A workers’ compensation attorney can develop compelling medical evidence, call on expert witnesses, arrange appointments with doctors, and build a strong case to help you get the benefits you desperately need.
Did you develop carpal tunnel syndrome due to your job?
If you work with your hands, there’s a good chance you may develop carpal tunnel syndrome at some point during your career. As a hardworking employee, you shouldn’t be left to foot the medical bills or sacrifice your income while you recover. At the Law Office of Gerald Brody & Associates, our workers’ comp attorneys have the experience and tenacity to face insurers head on and fight for the benefits you deserve.
Call us today at (619) 528-9800 to schedule your free consultation and see what your case is worth.