Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Workers Compensation
If you’ve been struggling with carpal tunnel syndrome at work, it might be time to contact a local work injury lawyer Broward County has to offer. Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common medical problem that can affect workers from many different industries as a result of repetitive work-related tasks.
At the Law Offices of Franks, Koenig, & Neuwelt, we believe it’s imperative for our clients to understand what a workers compensation claim entails. As an experienced Broward County work injury lawyer knows, repetitive trauma claims can be complicated, especially for repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome. Nevertheless, it may still be possible to collect financial compensation and medical benefits if you suffer from this condition.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: How It Develops
Carpal tunnel syndrome can develop over time when an individual continuously overuses the median nerve that runs through the wrist and into the hand. Repetitive motions can cause this nerve to become pinched, irritated, and inflamed; typical carpal tunnel syndrome injuries are progressive as well, meaning that they worsen over time without treatment.
Because it can be so easy to develop carpal tunnel syndrome, this is one of the most common repetitive stress injuries that American workers encounter each year. In fact, the American Academy of Family Physicians estimates that around 15 million Americans suffer from this condition in any given year.
Common work-related tasks that may put stress on this nerve can include:
- Typing or working on a computer
- Data entry
- Assembly line work
- Sewing, woodworking, or other handcrafts
- Playing a musical instrument
- Mechanical work
Symptoms can vary widely from person to person. Some people experience sharp pains while others experience numbness. Weakness, tenderness, and loss of dexterity in the hand are common symptoms as well. Some workers do not receive medical care when they begin experiencing symptoms. As a work injury lawyer Broward County residents respect might attest, this could make the condition harder to treat later on.
Making a Claim for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The process of filing a workers compensation claim can be complicated, and claims for carpal tunnel syndrome are no exception. As an experienced work injury lawyer Broward County respects might attest, repetitive stress injuries are often denied by the workers compensation carriers because there is no specific accident to refer to. Determining an exact date for when the injury occurred can be impossible in some cases because the injury develops over time.
Nevertheless, carpal tunnel syndrome is a valid claim under Florida’s compensation system. As with other types of work-related injuries, it’s important to notify your employer of the injury and to obtain necessary medical care when you begin noticing symptoms. Documenting the medical care you’ve received over time is one way of proving, in a workers compensation claim, that the injury is due to repetitive stress. Speaking with a work injury lawyer in Broward County about your injury and your job may also help you determine if you have a valid claim.
The Importance of Following Medical Advice in Work Injury Cases
When an employee is injured or develops an illness due to a job-related accident or working condition, they are entitled to receive workers compensation benefits under the laws of Broward County or the state they live in. While each state sets its own rules and regulations regarding workers compensation, there are some factors that are pretty consistent across the country.
One of those factors has to do with whether or not the employee follows the advice of the medical personnel providing treatment, including doctors, surgeons, and physical therapists.
When an employee is injured or begins to exhibit symptoms of illness, they need to report this information to their employer and seek medical attention immediately. The doctor will document information about the injury so it is critical for the employee to provide detailed information about how and where the injury occurred. This information could be crucial later on if the employer tries to deny that the employee’s injury is work-related.
The doctor may use several different diagnostic tests to help determine the extent of the injury, as well as any unseen damage that may not be physically obvious, such as a concussion or internal injury. Once a full diagnosis has been made, the doctor will then develop a plan for treatment to ensure the employee recovers.
Treatment may include hospitalizations, surgery, rehabilitation stays, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy. It is also not uncommon for injured workers to require the use of medical equipment, such as crutches and wheelchairs, as well as the need for prescription medication.
All of the expenses that arise from this medical treatment are covered by the employee’s workers compensation benefits. However, if the employee fails to follow medical advice, not only could they jeopardize their recovery, but they are also putting their claim at risk since the employer and/or their insurance company could stop all benefits. This is why it is an injured worker needs to keep all medical appointments, use all medical equipment, and take all medication as ordered.
If there is a reason why you cannot make a medical appointment, make sure to document the reason why in detail. For example, if you are physically unable to get yourself there and no one else is available to take you, let your work injury lawyer know this information. In these types of situations, the insurance company may have to cover the cost of transportation, such as through a taxi service or ridesharing company.
It is also critical that an injured worker does not return to work before they receive approval from the doctor who is providing treatment. This could put the worker at serious risk for additional injury. If the employer is putting pressure on the employee to come back without medical approval, the employee should inform their attorney in Broward County.
There are also situations where the doctor may release the worker to return to work before the worker feels they are physically able. This is often the case when the rules in the state allow the insurance company to choose the treating physicians for the employee instead of the employee being able to choose their own. The work injury lawyer should also be notified in these situations and may request a hearing with the state board to allow the worker to choose their own doctor.
Talk to a Work Injury Lawyer Broward County Can Rely On
Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the more common work-related injuries that Americans encounter every year. If you’ve developed this injury due to your job, you certainly aren’t alone. At the Law Offices of Franks, Koenig, & Neuwelt
, we understand that this condition can be very disabling in a work environment. If you’d like more information about how carpal tunnel syndrome could qualify for workers compensation, contact a top work injury lawyer Broward County can provide.