Carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive stress injuries are common work-related injuries. If you believe that you may suffer from a condition of this nature, it is important that you understand Maryland’s workers’ compensation rules to know if your injury may qualify you for benefits.
An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can guide you through the process of obtaining workers’ compensation benefits. We can discuss your options during a free, no-obligation case review.
What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome develops when the nerves and tendons within the wrist are compressed. This often occurs because of the repeated pressure or compression of the median nerve over time. The median nerve is one of the major nerves in the hand that controls the movement and feeling in most parts of your fingers.
If the tendons within the carpal tunnel – the small area at the bottom of the hand through which the median nerve travels through – become enflamed or swell, they put pressure on the nerve, resulting in pain in the hand and arm.
This condition is most often associated with performing repetitive tasks, such as lifting, bending, pulling or typing for long periods.
Carpel tunnel syndrome and other repetitive stress injuries can cause long-term and debilitating effects.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can appear in one or both hands, and symptoms gradually worsen over time. Individuals who have carpel tunnel syndrome may experience symptoms such as:
- Tingling in the hands, fingers, arms and wrists
- Numbness in the hands
- Pain in the wrists and hands
- Swollen fingers
- Poor grip
Individuals who suffer from this condition may have a number of possible treatment options:
- Health care providers may try to immobilize the affected area by using braces or splints.
- Physical therapy may be used to stretch and strengthen the muscles and tendons.
- Steroid shots may be used or anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed to reduce the swelling and pain.
- Surgery may be considered to relieve the pressure from the affected nerves and tendons.
When Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome a Work Injury?
Workers’ compensation benefits only provide benefits for work injuries or illnesses that arise within the scope and course of employment. This means that obtaining workers’ compensation for carpal tunnel syndrome requires proof that your injury was a direct result of the requirements of your job.
Work-related activities that can lead to this condition can include:
- Using a computer keyboard
- Using power tools that vibrate on the worker’s hands
- Drilling or mining
- Using a cash register
- Performing mechanical work
- Pushing, slicing, twisting, squeezing, cutting or pressing objects
A variety of factors can affect whether a person develops this condition or not, including their age, weight, other medical history, gender and any prior trauma. While this condition can affect workers in a variety of industries, some of the most common occupations in which workers develop carpal tunnel syndrome include:
- Chefs and butchers
- Truck drivers
- Delivery workers
- Food services and preparation workers
- Data entry workers
- Administrative workers
Proving Your Work Injury
Because carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused by a variety of factors, these claims are difficult to pursue. You must be able to show that your condition developed because of your work and not some other factor. Your employer or its workers’ compensation carrier may try to argue that the condition developed because of a hobby, second job or recreational activities.
A workers’ compensation attorney can help you gather the evidence necessary to establish that your condition arose out of your work. Some ways that a workers’ compensation lawyer can help include:
- Having a qualified healthcare provider examine you to diagnose your condition
- Documenting your injury through medical tests, imaging, x-rays and other medical procedures
- Explaining the types of job duties that you had that most likely caused the condition to develop
Contact a Lawyer for Assistance
If you believe your carpal tunnel syndrome was caused by your work, contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer for assistance with your claim. We can gather evidence to help you substantiate your claim.
Our experienced attorneys have helped injured workers recover benefits due for various work-related injuries. We require no upfront fees for our services and only require payment if you are awarded benefits.