Carpal tunnel syndrome affects approximately three to six percent of adults in America, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. This amounts to about 15 million adults suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which involves pain, numbness, and tingling in the hands or fingers. If you find you suffer from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) you may have grounds to take legal action.
According to the National Institutes of Health, CTS occurs “when the median nerve, which run from the forearm into the palm of the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist.” The pressing or squeezing of your median nerve causes the nerve tunnel to get smaller and become irritated. The median nerve is responsible for controlling movement in your hand, thumb, and first three fingers, and irritation of this nerve can be painful and gets more severe over time.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is most commonly caused by repetitive motion and trauma, though it can be caused by any variety of factors. Many jobs require you to use repetitive movements, meaning you make the same hand or wrist movements over and over.
Jobs that commonly involve repetitive hand movements include:
- typing or data entry
- assembly line work
- playing musical instruments
- working on a computer
- agricultural worker
- jobs that require repeated use of vibrating tools
CTS can also be caused by pregnancy, and trauma or injury to the wrist.Symptoms of CTS differ from person to person depending on the cause of the injury, though symptoms most commonly include any of the following:
- numbness, tingling, or burning sensations in the thumb or first three fingers
- loss of dexterity in the thumb or fingers
- pain in the hand, even going up to the arm and shoulder
- grip weakness or an inability to grasp or pinch
- frequent dropping of objects.
If you suffer from CTS, you may have grounds to make a legal claim and receive compensation for your injuries and losses. Not every case of CTS warrants an injury claim, however. Whether you can successfully pursue an injury claim typically depends on your doctor’s ability to determine the cause of your CTS.
In most states,workers’ compensation benefits covers work-related Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. If your job requires repetitive hand motions that caused or led to your CTS, you may be able to make a workers’ compensation claim. This is still possible even if your symptoms take months or years to develop, or if your symptoms developed after you left that job.
If your CTS was caused by something other than your occupation, you may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. Injury or trauma to the hand or wrist from an accident can also lead to CTS. for instance, a car accident may cause wrist injury from the driver gripping the steering wheel.
If you are diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, you may also be able to seek compensation through your Social Security Disability Benefits, in addition to a workers’ compensation or personal injury claim.