Thousands of Americans work 40+ hours per week, sitting at a desk and typing at a computer. Others install parts on an assembly line, work behind a cash register, or handle objects without sufficient rest. The repetitive motions of day-to-day work activities can lead to overuse of the hands and wrists, ultimately resulting in carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). If your doctor diagnoses you with CTS that work-related tasks caused, you may have a valid claim for workers’ compensation.
What Is CTS?
CTS is a form of repetitive stress injury caused by continuous motions of a joint. CTS affects the wrist, the thumb, and the first two fingers of the hand. Overuse can compress or squeeze the nerve in your wrist that’s responsible for flexing your fingers, called the median nerve. When this nerve tunnel gets smaller, it irritates the nerves flowing into your hand.
Symptoms of CTS include numbness and tingling in your wrists, palms, and fingers, difficulty moving fingers, difficulty gripping objects, difficulty carrying items, and pain in the arms, wrists, and hands. You may lose dexterity in your fingers, experience a burning sensation in the first three fingers, and have the inability to grasp items without dropping them. Part of CTS is De Quervain syndrome: thumb inflammation. You may feel stabbing pains while using your hands or experience “jumping” nerves when you try to open and close hands completely.
CTS is progressive, meaning it worsens over time. If you do not take action to abate or remedy your CTS, it can prevent you from continuing your current job or doing other activities with your hands. You can have surgery to treat CTS or treat it with nonsurgical remedies. During surgery, a surgeon will cut the ligament pressing on the median nerve and tendons in the wrist. This creates more space for the nerve canal, releasing pressure on the nerves and relieving CTS symptoms. Nonsurgical remedies include taking vitamin B6 supplements, splinting the wrists, and modifying your daily activities.
Does Workers’ Compensation Cover CTS in Kansas City?
Workers’ compensation covers physical work-related injuries. CTS falls into this category if you can prove the condition came from work-related activities. The debate about CTS comes from whether or not the employee can prove his or her case. The CTS may have come from a different job, activities at home, sports, or a condition such as arthritis.
Many states differ on how to compensate for CTS – whether as an “accident” or as an “occupational disease.” Some states only include injuries from accidents in workers’ compensation, but Kansas and Missouri employers must also cover occupational diseases as long as the condition is ongoing and resulted from work.
Besides workers’ compensation relief, you may also qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. CTS is a disabling condition. Even after surgery, you may experience permanent weakness in your hands and wrists in addition to numbness and tingling in your nerves. If you can show that your CTS meets the criteria of the Social Security’s impairment list and you cannot work any job due to your limitations, you may qualify for disability benefits.
Hire a Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Kansas City, MO
If you live in Missouri and have CTS from a work-related activity, you need an experienced Kansas City personal injury lawyer to help you prove that you deserve workers’ compensation benefits. At Dickerson Oxton, LLC, our workers’ compensation lawyers believe CTS from repetitive motions at work should not go uncompensated.
Our personal injury attorneys can also help you navigate the rules of Social Security Disability benefits if you are permanently disabled due to your CTS and can no longer perform a job. If you need help proving your workers’ compensation case in court, contact us at (913) 428-8220 for a free consultation.