Job-related repetitive stress injuries are caused by performing a single task over and over in the workplace, without breaks or variations in the task. These types of injuries may also be referred to as repetitive stress disorders, or RSDs.
These types of workplace injuries are becoming increasingly common with the increased use of keyboards and computers in the workplace. An employee who has developed a repetitive stress-type injury on the job may be eligible to file for compensation through workers’ compensation programs or disability laws.
In order to qualify for this type of compensation, however, the individual’s injury must have occurred while on the job and must be directly associated with the tasks that are assigned to the injured worker. The number of possibilities of types of repetitive stress injuries is the same as the number of different job positions.
Common examples of tasks that may cause job-related repetitive stress injuries include, but may not be limited to:
- Computer and typing-related activities: As considerably more job positions involve the use of a computer or other typing device, carpal tunnel syndrome is quickly becoming one of the most frequently claimed repetitive stress injuries;
- Barcode scanning: Grocers and other retail workers are especially prone to repetitive stress injuries resulting from the continual process of scanning merchandise at the register; and
- Static posturing: Static posturing refers to when a worker must remain in a fixed posture while performing their job duties;
- An example of this would be a cashier being required to stand while doing their job; and
- Another example of static posturing would be an electrician repeatedly fitting their body into a cramped attic space when working on wiring.
Other examples of job-related repetitive stress injuries involve:
- Reaching overhead, for example, when stacking boxes onto overhead shelves;
- Overuse of the hands and fingers, such as that experienced by artists and massage therapists; and
- Assembly-line work, especially when there is no variation in the assigned task while on the assembly line.
What Are the Symptoms and Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Individuals who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) most commonly report tingling, numbness, and pain, especially at night, in their;
- Wrist; and
An individual who suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome may also experience clumsiness when handling objects, which is typically caused by a decrease in grip strength. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when an individual’s hand or wrist is subjected to repetitive stress on a regular basis.
Although the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome is not necessarily isolated to certain industries, CTS is more prevalent in employees who work on assembly lines. In addition, employees who work with computers or other typing machines are experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome in increasing numbers.
Other examples of industries or tasks which commonly result in carpal tunnel syndrome include:
- Food packing;
- Manufacturing; and
What Is Carpal Tunnel Surgery?
Carpal tunnel surgery is a medical procedure that is intended to help a patient who is suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a type of repetitive strain injury that affects an individual’s wrists.
After the repeated or prolonged use of the hands, carpal tunnel syndrome may develop, causing an individual to be unable to perform their work tasks. Carpal tunnel surgery typically involves a procedure that frees the compressed nerves in the individual’s wrists.
This involves making an incision in the wrist area. This surgery may, in some cases, take a long time to recover from.
CTS is often considered to be a long-term disability. It is one of the most common medical conditions that is experienced by workers in the United States.
Is Carpal Tunnel Surgery Included in Workers’ Compensation?
Carpal tunnel surgery is often included under disability insurance and workers’ compensation laws. Coverage for carpal tunnel surgery is granted in cases were the:
- The CTS was directly caused by performing work-related duties;
- The condition is debilitating and prevents the individual from performing their tasks; and
- The employee was not negligent in their actions and did not contribute to their own injuries.
It is important to note that employee coverage may vary by state and differ according to jurisdiction. In addition, the employer and employee may have entered into a personal employment contract.
If that is the case, the terms of the contract must be honored as well. A CTS surgery often has very low recovery rates and failure rates of over 50%.
What Is Carpal Tunnel Release?
Carpal tunnel release is a medical surgery for individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common work-related injury that is often associated with weakness or pain in the wrist due to a compressed or damaged median nerve in the wrist.
Carpal tunnel release surgery aims to free the compressed nerve and relieve the pain or numbness in the wrist. This is a very delicate and technical procedure.
It often takes a long time to heal following the procedure. Rehabilitation is often required to strengthen the wrist following the release surgery.
Issues Associated with Carpal Tunnel Release Surgeries
Carpal tunnel surgery is a very common medical procedure because CTS is the most common work-related injury employees suffer from. This surgery may be associated with various issues, including:
In certain cases, an employer may seek to terminate an employee who is diagnosed with CTS. This is because many employees with CTS never recover well enough to return to work.
Therefore, a carpal tunnel lawsuit based on wrongful termination may arise in carpal tunnel syndrome cases.
Work Accident vs. Occupational Illness
Carpal tunnel syndrome may be classified as either a work accident or as an occupational illness. If the injury results from a one-time incident, for example, being struck on the wrist by an object at work, it will most likely be classified as an accident or injury.
In contrast, if the carpal tunnel syndrome develops over a period of time because of repetitive motions related to a job, it will likely be considered an occupational illness instead of an injury. Typically, compensation is available for both of these classifications.
However, there may be slight differences in the processes and the exact details required for filing. It is, in some cases, easier to recover from accident-related CTS because the nerves and tendons are still intact.
Occupational illness CTS is, in many cases, a lifetime condition, especially if the nerves or tendons have deteriorated. Correctional surgery may not be an option in these types of cases and the individual may require additional filings.
What Is Workers’ Compensation Fraud?
Workers’ compensation fraud, or disability fraud, occurs when an individual abuses the workers’ comp system solely in order to make a financial gain. The most common example of this is when an individual fakes a carpal tunnel injury in order to claim disability.
This may also involve misrepresentation by other individuals, for example, a faked or doctored surgical report, or a fake prescription. This type of fraud may cost the employee their job.
It may also result in civil lawsuits and possible criminal charges.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
If you have had or will have to have carpal tunnel release surgery, it is important to be aware that it is a complex procedure and often requires extended periods of time away from work. It may be helpful to consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer if you need help with any type of legal or insurance claim.
Your attorney can provide you with legal advice on how to best process your claim. In addition, your lawyer can represent you in court if you are going to file a lawsuit.