Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Workers’ Compensation

Workplaces are rife with all sorts of hazards that could result in a worker being forced to seek medical treatment, and perhaps lose wages for the inability to work. These dangers vary depending on the the type of industry and role of the worker.

For example, workers employed by big box retailer tasked with placing merchandise on a high shelf module, or “gondola” as they are called in the retail industry, could be at risk for being struck by heavy items falling. This could result in serious head injury, or perhaps a broken foot. Such an incident would likely result in workers’ compensation benefits.

handHowever, it is important to keep in mind that these benefits are not only for workplace injuries, but also work-related illnesses.  There are many examples of work related illnesses.  In some cases, such as with workers at a hair or nail salon, the constant exposure to toxic chemicals can result in skin conditions and respiratory disease.

Although workplace illness is no less compensable than workplace injury, proving a claim may require more legal legwork.
Another common type of work-related illness, as our Boston workers’ compensation attorneys can explain, is carpal tunnel syndrome, as well as other types of repetitive stress injuries.  As discussed in a recent article from Post Bulletin, the carpal tunnel is basically a tunnel that travels form your forearm to your wrist that protects the bundle of nerves as they pass through your wrist.  These nerves control the movement of your hand and ability for you to feel things when you touch them with your fingers.

When you engage in repetitive tasks day in and day out at work, you might be placing undue strain on the carpal tunnel, and this could result in the tunnel becoming pinched or compressed. This is called carpal tunnel syndrome and can cause serious problems.  At first, it may cause some numbness or tingling in the hand or fingers, but it will get worse over time.  It will cause you to have a weak grip and pain in your wrist and hand.  While it may get better after work, that will eventually not be true, as many victims have pain radiating up and down their entire arm as they are trying to sleep at night.  As discussed in the article, surgery may eventually be necessary if other treatment options do not work, and even with surgery, the prognosis is not always that great.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that if you have CTS, as it often called, as a result of your work, you should file for workers’ compensation benefits. You should not simply go to the drugstore and buy a brace and go to work as if nothing is wrong.  If a large box fell on you at work and broke your foot, you would not simply live with the pain and go to work. This should not be any different.

Another thing to keep in mind is that while we often think of carpal tunnel syndrome as being caused by spending too much time typing, manufacturing and food processing jobs are often far more likely to cause CTS.  Anyone who spends hours a day cutting up chicken to the point where they can no longer use their hand properly is likely dealing with a repetitive stress injury such as CTS.

If you are diagnosed with work-related carpal tunnel syndrome, contact an experienced Boston workers’ compensation attorney to help you determine how to maximize your chances of a successful claim.

If you or someone you love has been injured a Boston work accident, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.

Additional Resources:

Carpal tunnel syndrome not responding to initial treatments may require surgery, April 24, 2017, Post Bulletin

More Blog Entries:
Report: Three Workers Burned in Natural Gas Explosion, Feb. 18, 2017, Boston Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog

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