Nowadays, especially after covid-19 stay-at-home orders, many people have made their dining room tables their office. With large monitors and keyboards, many have meshed their work life and social life into one, spending long hours typing away in front of the computer. Not only does this apply for corporate office jobs, but those in the industry also use their hands and wrists on a daily basis. For example, those working in the shipping industry spend hours packing and unpacking boxes. These long hours can take a toll on your wrists. Constant heavy movement that places pressure on the wrist results in carpal tunnel syndrome. Common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include weak wrists and tingling in the fingers.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is considered to be a repetitive stress injury caused by repetitive movements. Usually, carpal tunnel syndrome occurs as a result of repetitive movements at work. Carpal tunnel syndrome could be brought under California workers compensation laws. Several states require that employers have workers compensation coverage for their employees. Each state has different steps one must follow through when initiating a workers compensation claim. For example, you must file a claim through your state’s workers compensation agency in California. That is why it is very important to hire an experienced attorney that has dealt with workers compensation agencies in the past and knows how to navigate through the legal process.
In workers compensation coverage claims, the employer is considered the person who has hired the worker. For example, charities are not considered employers for purposes of workers compensation claims. There are several other categories of entities that are not considered employers. For more information, please visit our workers compensation attorneys to determine if the defendant in your case is considered an employer.
An employee does not necessarily need to purchase workers compensation insurance. The employer purchases workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. An injured worker is either classified as an employee or independent contractor. Independent contractors do not have workers compensation insurance, and is more difficult to bring a workers compensation claim for carpal tunnel syndrome.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel can be caused by several extraneous activities that people may engage in. Examples of constant repetitive activities that could take a toll on your wrist include:
- Those working in agriculture
- Assembly line work
- Slip and fall accidents
- Car accidents
What are Some Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
It is important to seek medical attention immediately after experiencing any one of these symptoms. Failing to seek medical assistance could potentially make the syndrome even worse. Everyone experiences a different range of symptoms; however, the most common symptoms include:
- Tingling in the wrists
- Numbness at the wrists
- Tingling towards the back of the hand
- Burning sensation at the fingertips
- Pain in the shoulders
Symptoms could appear in both hands; they don’t necessarily need to appear in a single hand.
Workers’ Compensation Claim for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome could be brought under a workers compensation claim, also known as an occupational disease. An occupational disease occurs when one is injured at their job. Each state has different laws put in place for occupational diseases. Occupational diseases are compensable under workers compensation laws.
If your carpal tunnel syndrome has been caused by work, the claim falls under workers compensation. Workers’ compensation would possibly be the only way to recover from injury sustained at work. One of the most common issues is that the employer claims that carpal tunnel would have been a pre-existing condition. There is a causation issue when bringing the legal claim for carpal tunnel. The employee has the burden to show that the injury was caused when engaging in work activities. That is why is very important to hire an attorney who has experience in workers compensation laws of your state.
Opportunities where a workers compensation claim could get complex is when the employee holds a second position. The employers would then point fingers at each other when trying to determine when the carpal tunnel actually came about, and what work it was caused by. Other opportunities where the claim could be a complex occurs when the attorney has pre-existing conditions such as arthritis.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Workers’ Compensation Burden of Proof
The burden of proof is placed on plaintiff who is bringing forth the case to show that the syndrome was caused by work-related injury. Plaintiff must show that there are no other external factors that contributed to the injury. During these workers’ compensation claims, defendant would almost always argue that they are not the cause of the carpal tunnel syndrome. That is why it is very important to hire an attorney that could gather strong evidence to prove this causation element.
How Long Does it Take to Pursue a Workers’ Compensation Claim for Carpal Tunnel ?
It is important to note that carpal tunnel claims in California take on average a longer time then other personal injury claims. Carpal tunnel is considered to be a progressive disorder by doctors, and so it needs to be under constant medical care and attention to make sure that the disorder does not progress. Many treatments take months, even years.
What are Common Damages in a Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Case?
The number one common category of damages sought is medical bills used to treat carpal tunnel syndrome. When one is diagnosed with carpal tunnel, there could be different types of medical costs, including doctors’ visits, injections to treat the carpal tunnel, surgery to treat the carpal tunnel, or physical therapy. Treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome include medication such as anti-inflammatories. Another type of treatment includes wearing a wrist brace to keep the hand in a non-moving position. Treating carpal tunnel syndrome could be very costly, and so it is very important to hire an experienced carpal tunnel syndrome attorney to better pursue your claims.
Other damages include temporary disability benefits provided to the employee. For example, while the employee is off from work, they would be compensated with disability benefits for the lost wages.
If the syndrome is very severe, then the plaintiff is entitled to permanent disability benefits. Permanent disability benefits occur when the employee is no longer able to work any position because of the severity of the syndrome.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Attorney
If you are diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of strenuous activity at work, contact our experienced carpal tunnel attorneys to determine the validity of your claim, and the different strategies we could incorporate to maximize your compensation. Our attorneys are skilled in workers compensation claims. Workers’ compensation claims could oftentimes be very difficult to bring forth against the employer. That is why it is very important to ensure that you hire an experienced workers compensation attorney to pursue these claims for you.
***Disclaimer: This page is created by Heidari Law Group for educational purposes. This article provides a general understanding of the law. It does not provide specific advice. By using this site and reading through this page, there is no attorney-client relationship created between you and any member of Heidari Law. Further, due to the constant change of the law, some parts of the information above may no longer be good law.