When Work Hurts: Understanding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome And Worker's Compensation

When you think about worker's compensation benefits, you probably think about falls, cuts or other similar accidents. Although these are common reasons for worker's compensation claims, they are not the only ones. In fact, you may even be able to file a claim for worker's compensation benefits if you've suffered a repetitive motion injury like carpal tunnel syndrome. Here's a look at what you need to know about carpal tunnel and worker's compensation claims.

Understanding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

When the nerves and tendons in the carpal tunnel of the wrist are compressed, it can cause discomfort such as weakness, pain and numbness in your fingers, hand and wrist. Carpal tunnel syndrome is often caused by repetitive motion. In a work environment, it can be caused by spending a lot of time on a cash register, keyboard or similar item. It can also be caused by having to press a button or push something into place repeatedly over a prolonged period.

Exploring the Burden of Proof

If you've been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome and you believe that your job could be to blame, you might have grounds for a worker's compensation claim. In order for your claim to be considered, there are a few things that you'll have to be able to prove.

Was the Condition Caused by Work?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is frequently debated as a work-related injury since it typically lacks a direct, immediate cause. Unlike injuries that are directly caused by a fall or other incident, carpal tunnel occurs over time due to repetitive motion.

If you're an avid tennis player, golf hobbyist or active in any other interest that requires a repetitive motion with your hands, the insurance company can argue that your recreational activities were to blame for the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. You'll have to be able to show that you don't participate in activities like that, or talk with your doctor about any potential way to prove that your work activities were the contributing factor.

Does the State Classify it an Accident or a Condition?

The way that your state classifies carpal tunnel syndrome will also affect the way that you prove the injury. For example, if you live in a state that classifies carpal tunnel syndrome as an accident, you might have to show that the carpal tunnel syndrome appeared suddenly or was the result of a spontaneous injury. Otherwise, if it is classified as an occupational condition, your doctor will have to provide records showing the progression of the condition. In addition to your doctor's reports, you'll have to show that you were at an increased risk of developing carpal tunnel due to your job duties.

How Much Evidence is Enough?

The way that your state classifies carpal tunnel syndrome will also affect how much evidence you need in your case. If carpal tunnel is classified as a condition, you'll have to supply clear, overwhelming evidence that convinces the court that your injury was directly related to your job. There can be no margin for any doubt if you're claiming benefits for it as a condition.

If your state considers carpal tunnel as an injury, your evidence requirements are different. In those cases, like with any other worker's compensation injury, you'll have to show a preponderance of evidence that illustrates that the condition was work-related. This means that you only have to show more evidence in your favor than the insurance company shows against your claim.

If you can show that your carpal tunnel syndrome is directly connected to your work duties, there is a good chance that you could qualify for worker's compensation benefits for the treatment. Try this web-site or talk with a worker's compensation attorney about your condition, your work responsibilities and the classification of carpal tunnel in your state for guidance.