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Workers' Compensation

Workers’ Compensation for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

By April 22, 2024May 20th, 2024No Comments

Do you spend your workday typing, gripping tools, or performing repetitive hand and wrist movements? If so, you may be at risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). This common condition can significantly impact your ability to work and function in your daily life. In New York, it’s possible to successfully file for workers’ compensation for carpal tunnel syndrome.

What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

CTS is a condition caused by median nerve compression in the wrist. The median nerve runs through a narrow passage in the wrist called the carpal tunnel. This tunnel, which is formed by bones and a ligament, is smaller in women, putting them at higher risk of developing the condition. However, men can also suffer from CTS. Often CTS presents as numbness and tingling in the hands and wrists, nighttime pain, and weakness in the hands or thumbs. An evaluation by a medical provider is necessary to diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome. An EMG nerve conduction study is usually required to confirm the diagnosis.

Developing a Carpal Tunnel Injury At Work

There are usually two ways an employee can earn workers’ compensation for carpal tunnel syndrome. The first is when you develop carpal tunnel syndrome due to your work activity over time. For a successful claim, you must prove that a “distinctive feature” (something unique to your work activity) caused your carpal tunnel syndrome. The most recognizable example of this is an office worker who types all day at work leading to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome over the years. Other examples are an electrician who repetitively uses their hands to perform their duties or a machine operator who forcibly uses their hands to complete their work tasks. If either of these activities results in carpal tunnel syndrome, the worker may have a claim for workers’ compensation for carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel can also develop as a result of an acute incident or accident. For example, if you are in a rear-end car accident at work, you may forcibly strike your wrists into the steering wheel, causing carpal tunnel syndrome. The same thing can happen if you fall on outstretched hands at work. If you suffer an accident on the job, it is important to report your injury in writing to your employer within thirty days of the accident.

Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim for CTS

A claim for workers’ compensation for carpal tunnel syndrome must be filed with the Workers’ Compensation Board within two years of when you knew or should have known you have work-related carpal tunnel syndrome. Therefore, it is very important to make sure a claim is filed as soon as possible after you obtain a diagnosis. With a successful claim for workers’ compensation for carpal tunnel syndrome, an injured worker is entitled to related medical treatment in full, with no co-pays. In addition, a lump-sum cash benefit may be owed if there is a permanent loss of use of the hands, known as a schedule loss of use award.

If you suspect that you, a friend, or a loved one may have developed carpal tunnel syndrome at work, contact Lewis & Lewis, P.C. today at (716) 854-2100 for a free consultation.

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