Carpal tunnel syndrome is a debilitating condition that affects millions of people across the United States each year. According to a 2011 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 3% of all working adults suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome in the 12 months leading up to the study.
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, which runs down the arm, is compressed. Thus, carpal tunnel syndrome is also referred to as median nerve compression. Often, carpal tunnel syndrome develops due to a combination of factors. One of the most common contributing factors to a carpal tunnel diagnosis is the frequent repetitive movement of the wrist, especially when the hands are in a lower position than the wrists. Frequent typing is perhaps the most common actions that can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome; however, other problematic activities include:
- Assembling small objects,
- Playing certain musical instruments,
- Scanning items at the checkout counter,
- Using hand tools, and
- Using power tools.
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome can seriously impact a person’s ability to perform routine, everyday tasks, and include:
- Numbness, burning, or tingling in the hands and fingers;
- Weakness in the hands;
- Trouble holding objects; and
- Pain throughout the hand and forearm.
When looking at the possible causes of carpal tunnel syndrome, one can help but notice that many of these activities are common requirements at many jobs. If you believe you developed carpal tunnel syndrome because of your job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Liability
If you suffer from work-related carpal tunnel syndrome, your employer may be liable through a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation is a system in which employees can seek medical and income-replacement benefits when they are either injured on the job or develop a work-related illness, as well as permanent disability benefits for ongoing functional loss. Medical benefits will cover all healthcare-related expenses related to your injury, and income-replacement benefits provide you with ongoing compensation while you cannot work due to your injuries. Permanent disability benefits are available when an injured worker can prove by demonstrable medical evidence that there is a functional loss associated with a work-related injury. These benefits can not only ensure that you get time to fully recover from your injuries, but also provide you with meaningful compensation, so you don’t need to sacrifice your quality of life.
The workers’ compensation program is a no-fault system, meaning that you do not need to show that your employer was negligent or otherwise at fault for your injury. Simply proving that your injury occurred while you were working is enough to receive benefits. However, employers and their workers’ compensation insurance companies frequently contest employees’ applications based on carpal tunnel syndrome. Thus, if you are considering filing for workers’ comp benefits based on a carpal tunnel diagnosis, you should consult with a New Jersey workers’ comp lawyer.
Challenges Proving Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Liability
When it comes to repetitive stress injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, establishing that the injury was “work-related” can present challenges. Often, an employer or their workers’ compensation insurance carrier will argue that a worker developed carpal tunnel syndrome due to some non-work-related factor, such as pregnancy, diabetes, or activities that occurred away from the job. If an employer succeeds in showing that your diagnosis was not due to your employment, you will not receive benefits. Thus, you should expect some pushback when pursuing a claim.
If an employer or insurance company believes that your carpal tunnel syndrome was not related to your job, they may request that another doctor perform an independent medical examination (IME). Thus, these cases frequently involve a situation where the employee and the insurance company each present a doctor’s opinion in support of their position. Ultimately, the worker’s compensation judge will determine whether an injury is job-related and, if so, the appropriate amount of benefits.
The Importance of a Workers’ Comp Attorney
If you believe that you developed carpal tunnel syndrome or another type of repetitive stress injury due to your employment, you should reach out to a dedicated New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney. Having the assistance of an attorney is helpful in all workers’ compensation cases, but especially those involving WEAR and TEAR injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome.
An experienced workers’ comp attorney will be familiar with the process and can anticipate what an insurance company may do to avoid paying you the benefits you deserve. When necessary, an attorney can arrange to have another doctor evaluate your condition to determine whether it was due to your employment.
Contact Petro Cohen Law Firm
If you are injured at work, make sure you have a skilled and knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney by your side.
At Petro Cohen, P.C., we understand how important it is to get the medical treatment you need and the compensation you deserve. Our team of workers’ compensation lawyers have dealt with all types of cases, included hundreds of repetitive stress or WEAR and TEAR injuries.
Our New Jersey workers’ compensation attorneys can answer your questions and determine the most efficient way to proceed in order to help you and your family obtain the compensation the appropriate compensation. We know what it takes to successfully navigate the workers’ comp system, and will be by your side every step of the way to ensure you are properly compensated.
We have four convenient locations in southern New Jersey, including Cherry Hill, Hamilton, Cape May Court House, and our headquarter offices in Northfield, NJ that are all open daily from 8:30 AM until 5:30 PM. We offer free consultations and do not get paid unless we are successful in winning your claim.
If you are injured at work or are experiencing a repetitive stress injury such as carpal tunnel syndrome, call the workers’ comp attorneys at Petro Cohen, P.C. today at 888-675-7606. In Litigation, You Don’t Get a Second Chance.