Carpal tunnel syndrome is a type of repetitive stress injury characterized by pain, paralysis, or weakness in the wrist area. It is caused by compression of a nerve that passes through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. Carpal tunnel syndrome or CTS, is the single most reported medical condition, accounting for nearly half of all work-related injury claims. Some CTS statistics compiled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration are listed below:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome cases number around 900,000 each year.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome causes workers to miss an average of 31 days per incident; the average for all other repetitive stress injuries is 23 days, while the average for all other injuries only 9 days.
- Each carpal tunnel syndrome workers compensation claim can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000 (some cases involve more amounts).
- As low as 23% of persons who have received surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome are able to return to work.
- Around 36% of persons with carpal tunnel syndrome require ongoing treatment that lasts for an indefinite amount of time (called "unlimited medical treatment")
- Carpal tunnel syndrome surgeries are called "carpal tunnel release" procedures and help to free the compressed nerve. These are associated with high failure rates of about 57%.
- CTS surgeries number around 230,000 cases each year. Only back surgeries have higher numbers out of all musculoskeletal disorder surgeries.
- Due to the long recuperation time and ongoing symptoms even after surgery, CTS is characterized as an "illness" rather than a one-time injury incident.
Occupations with High Risks of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (greatest risk to lowest):
- Cooks and other cafeteria workers
- Installers and repairers of electrical power lines
- Construction and maintenance personnel (including painters)
- Painters, construction and maintenance
- Highway workers
- Metal workers, including cutters, solderers, brazers, and welders
- Diesel engine mechanics and specialists (buses and trucks)
- Housekeepers and maids
- Industrial machine mechanics
- Freight laborers and stockers
- Auto mechanics and service technicians
- Public bus drivers
- General maintenance/ repair workers
- Installers/repairers of telecommunications equipment (cable, internet, etc.)
- Food prep workers
- Truck and heavy tractor trailer drivers
- HVAC specialists (Heaving, ventilation and air-conditioning/refrigeration)
- Correctional officers
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with a Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Claim?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common type of job-related injury. It has the potential of hindering a person’s ability to work for several weeks or months. You may wish to hire a personal injury lawyer if you need help filing an insurance or workers compensation claim. Your attorney can provide you with advice and guidance during the filing process. Also, if you wish to file a lawsuit in order to recover legal damages, your lawyer can represent you during the court hearings.