Yes, you can get workers’ compensation for carpal tunnel syndrome if the injury is work-related. Any injury that arises out of your employment, including repetitive stress injuries, may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, according to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation Employee Handbook.
Contact us today at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation and case review.
What Constitutes a Repetitive Stress Injury
A repetitive stress injury is a medical condition that is the result of stressing a part of the body by repeating the same motion numerous times. Medical professionals recognize repetitive stress, like typing for many hours a day, as one of the most common causes of carpal tunnel syndrome. Other work-related repetitive motion injuries include:
- Trigger finger (also from typing or grasping objects all day);
- Tennis elbow (from repeatedly bending and straightening the elbow as a carpenter or plumber might do on the job); and
- Bursitis (from repeated motions involving the elbow, shoulder, or hip).
Overview of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway in your wrist, next to your palm. The median nerve runs down your arm and travels through the carpal tunnel on its way to your hand. This nerve makes it possible for you to move your thumb and fingers (except the little finger), and to have feeling in those areas.
Overuse of your hand and wrist can cause swelling in the carpal tunnel, and since there is little excess room there, the inflammation presses down on the median nerve, resulting in carpal tunnel syndrome. If you press down on a nerve, you will likely sense numbness and tingling, and eventually, experience weakness in the muscles the nerve controls.
How Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Feels
Initially, you may experience occasional numbness and tingling in your thumb and index finger. Over time, the sensations become more constant. The middle and ring finger can also feel odd, but not your little finger, because a different nerve innervates your little finger.
When there is compression of the median nerve because of carpal tunnel syndrome, you might drop things or have a hard time picking up some things. This compression happens because the median nerve controls some muscles in your hand.
Your hand can feel “asleep” or as if electrical shocks are jolting through it. These symptoms can shoot through the wrist and up the arm. The discomfort can keep you from sleeping at night.
Showing That Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is Work-Related
Your employer might deny that your carpal tunnel developed because of your job. When your regular tasks involve repetitive motions involving the hands and wrists, however, establishing those activities may help demonstrate that your carpal tunnel is work-related.
Contact S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 to hear your options when an employer has denied your workers’ compensation claim.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in Georgia
Like other repetitive stress injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome is not a life-threatening condition, but it can be painful and debilitating. Losing the ability to grasp or hold objects due to weakness in your hand muscles can prevent you from doing your job or performing some routine daily tasks of independent living.
Three types of workers’ compensation for carpal tunnel syndrome in Georgia are:
Temporary Total Disability. If you cannot work at all because of your carpal tunnel syndrome, workers’ compensation can pay you two-thirds of your average weekly wage until you can work again. If you have a catastrophic injury, the benefits can continue as long as you are unable to work. In all other cases, the benefits run out at 400 weeks.
Temporary Partial Disability. If you can work, but because of your injury you had to switch to a job that pays less than you were earning before your injury, you can get some compensation for up to 350 weeks. Workers’ compensation will not make up the entire difference between your current and previous pay, but they can pay you two-thirds of the difference.
Permanent Partial Disability. If it appears that you will not recover full function after your injury, you can get ongoing compensation. A permanent disability like this means you will have to go to an approved doctor who will rate the percentage of impairment you will likely have for the rest of your life. The extent of disability is one factor in how much compensation you will get.
What Can Happen with Untreated Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
If your symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome remain untreated, you could sustain permanent nerve damage if the median nerve stays compressed for too long. This nerve damage can cause lasting impairment in the use of your hands. It can also lead to chronic pain and discomfort.
How to Get Legal Help with Your Workers’ Compensation Claim for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Georgia enforces a limited timeframe on filing workers’ compensation claims. Contact S. Burke Law today and let us help you navigate Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws. Call us today at 404-842-7838, to get your no-cost consultation.