Carpal tunnel surgery is a medical procedure intended to help patients who are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a type of repetitive strain injury that affects the wrists. After prolonged or repeated use of the hands, carpal tunnel can develop, causing the person to be unable to perform their work tasks.
The surgical procedure usually involves a procedure that frees compressed nerves in the wrist. This involves an incision in the wrist area and can sometimes take a long time to recover from. CTS itself is often considered a long-term disability and is one the most common medical conditions experienced by workers in the U.S.
Is Carpal Tunnel Surgery Included in Workers Compensation?
Carpal tunnel surgery is typically included under workers compensation and disability insurance laws. Coverage for carpal tunnel is granted in cases where:
- The CTS was directly caused by performing work-related duties
- The condition is debilitating and prevents the person from performing their tasks
- The employee was not negligent in their actions and did not contribute to their own injuries
Employee coverage may vary by state and according to jurisdiction. Also, the employee and employer may have worked out a personal employment contract, so these terms must be honored as well. CTS surgeries often have very low recovery rates and failure rates of over 50%.
Work Accident vs. Occupational Illness
Carpal tunnel can sometimes be classified as either a work accident or an occupational illness. If the injury result from a one-time incident (such as being struck in the wrist by an object at work), it will likely be considered an accident or injury. On the other hand, if the carpal tunnel syndrome develops over time due to repetitive motions related to the job, it will likely be considered an occupational illness, rather than an injury.
Compensation can is typically available for both classifications; however, there may be slight differences in the process and in the exact details for filing. Accident-related CTS is sometimes easier to recover from, since the tendons and nerves are still intact. Occupational illness CTS is often a lifetime condition, especially if the nerve or tendons have deteriorated. Correctional surgery may not be an option in such cases, and the person may need additional filings.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a serious condition and may require surgery in many cases. You may wish to hire a workers compensation lawyer if you need help filing a claim and seeking recovery. Your attorney can help guide you through the process and can inform you of the best legal option for your situation. Also, if you need to file a lawsuit due to a legal or medical dispute, your attorney can represent you in court as well.