Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Workers Comp
How Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and workers Comp laws relate to each other is a complex area. Repetitive injuries are some of the most common injuries that occur in the workplace, yet often, worker’s compensation insurance companies will try to deny an employee’s claim by alleging that the injury occurred elsewhere and not while the employee was engaged in work. The reason: Repetitive stress injuries occur over a period of time as strain and stress are placed on a specific joint or other body part.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a type of repetitive stress injury that occurs when the nerves in your hand and wrist become compressed as they pass through a narrow area, or tunnel, at the base of your wrist. This tunnel can become inflamed and irritated, resulting in swollen tissues that can press against nerves, causing pain, tingling, weakness and numbness in your palm and fingers. Using a computer keyboard, operating some types of equipment, writing with a pen all day long and other injuries that rely on the fingers, hand, wrist and forearm can all cause carpal tunnel syndrome to occur. Unlike acute injuries that occur as a result of a single, specific action, repetitive stress injuries are cumulative, so proving the cause can be problematic – especially when the insurance company’s money is at stake.
The good news is that just because the insurance company doesn’t think they qualify for compensation, the state disagrees; repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome are covered by South Carolina workers’ comp laws. Under that law, a repetitive stress injury is one which occurs gradually over time and is caused by cumulative effects of a “traumatic event” – that is, any action that causes injury to occur, even if it occurs over time.
Not so fast.
Good news, right? Well, yes and no. Repetitive stress injuries are covered by the law – but you have to prove they were caused by your work activities, and to do that, you need to present medical evidence that supports your claim, and you need to present it to a worker’s comp state commissioner. As long as the commissioner finds a cause-and-effect connection between your work activities and your injury, your claim will be compensable under SC worker’s comp laws.
To make your case, you need to make sure you gather all the evidence you need to demonstrate that cause-and-effect relationship, and that can involve gathering expert opinion or testimony from a qualified doctor or medical professional, as well as any records or documents that can substantiate your claim.
The whole process can be complicated, and with so much riding on your case – including compensation for medical care and lost wages while you recover – you need to be sure you make the best case possible.
Working with a Charleston Workers Comp Lawyer
If you have a repetitive stress injury like carpal tunnel syndrome, you need to begin working with a skilled and experienced South Carolina workers comp lawyer as soon as possible to ensure you have plenty of time to build the strongest possible case. As an experienced South Carolina worker’s comp lawyer, E. Lindsay Blanks is skilled in helping men and women prove their cases for carpal tunnel syndrome and similar injuries. His experience and tenacity have earned him a top reputation among lawyers in workers compensation as well as clients who are looking for the best representation for their rights. If you’re facing an uphill battle with your worker’s comp claim, call the Law Offices of E. Lindsay Blanks at (843) 863-1800 and schedule a consultation today.