Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler

The Personal Injury, Worker’s Compensation and Social Security Disability Group of Sellers, Ayers, Dortch and Lyons.

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Does your carpal tunnel qualify for workers' compensation?

Certain kinds of workplace injuries are relatively easy to claim. Injuries caused by machinery or a fall at work often include witnesses and a traumatic event that make your claim to workers' compensation relatively easy to prove.

In cases of acquired injuries or workplace illnesses, it can be harder to make a claim. You could develop carpal tunnel for several years before it becomes painful and serious enough to impact your work. When you first notice pain, numbness or tingling in your wrist or forearm, you need to alert your work supervisor and seek medical attention as soon as possible.

What is carpal tunnel?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful condition that occurs due to pinching of a nerve in your wrist. The carpal tunnel is a narrow portion of your inner arm and the underside of your wrist. It protects a critical nerve. Those who develop carpal tunnel syndrome may be genetically predisposed to the injury. Most, however, develop it due to ongoing repetitive actions such as typing at a computer for hours every day. When the nerve in the carpal tunnel becomes compressed, it can cause pain, tingling, numbness and eventual degeneration of manual strength. It can impact your ability to perform your job and enjoy life.

Is carpal tunnel syndrome covered by workers' compensation?

The short answer is yes, carpal tunnel syndrome is typically covered by workers' compensation if it is the result of repetitive actions at your work. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful, progressive and debilitating condition caused by repetitive motion and stress. Repetitive motion injuries are among the 10 most common injuries that create workers' compensation claims. Carpal tunnel syndrome is often associated with those who work with their hands in an office or manufacturing setting.

Whether it is from gripping and moving objects or typing for hours, carpal tunnel syndrome and other similar repetitive action injuries are usually covered by workers' compensation, provided that you can show how your job contributed to its development.

Those diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome will require rests and breaks from manual activities throughout the day to alleviate the repetitive stress. Your employer should accommodate that need. Failing to do so could incur additional liability for your injuries if they worsen, requiring surgery, physical therapy or injections of corticosteroids.

How can an attorney help with your carpal tunnel syndrome claim?

There are a lot of potential restrictions to filing a claim for workers' compensation in North Carolina. From proving that the acquired injury developed because of your work to meeting critical deadlines for alerting your employer and filing with the state, there are many critical details. An attorney has experience with navigating the complex and demanding workers' compensation claim process. Don't try to go through it alone and risk denial of the benefits you need. Speak with an experienced workers' compensation attorney as soon as you're facing a diagnosis with carpal tunnel syndrome.

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