Workers’ compensation to cover the cost of carpel tunnel surgery has become a hot-button issue among today’s workforce. As technology has advanced and the way we work has evolved, an increasing number of workers suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome due to repetitive stress as they go through the motions every day at work.
If you or someone you love suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome due to repetitive motions performed at work, you’re probably wondering if your carpal tunnel surgery will be covered under workers’ compensation.
Read on for answers to that and other frequently asked questions regarding carpal tunnel surgery and workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Your carpal tunnel represents the narrow passageway inside your wrist which is composed of bone and ligament. It protects your median nerve and tendons. The disorder occurs when your carpal tunnel is compressed, putting pressure on your median nerve, leading to tingling, numbness, and pain in your fingers, wrist, and hands.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is typically due to repetitive motions, like typing or operating hand tools although sometimes you can get carpal tunnel from a car accident. While stretching, exercising and modifying your activities may help, sometimes the most effective treatment for carpal tunnel is surgery.
If you are persistently experiencing the signs of carpal tunnel symptoms in your wrists or hands, you should seek the attention of a healthcare professional. Early diagnosis and treatment can help successfully manage carpal tunnel syndrome before becoming an issue in the long term.
What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Surgery?
The surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome is called carpal tunnel release surgery. During the surgery, the surgeon will make a small incision in the palm near the wrist and then cut the transverse carpal ligament.
The transverse carpal ligament is the tissue that forms the roof of the carpal tunnel, the passageway in the wrist where the median nerve and tendons pass through to the hand. Cutting the ligament relieves the pressure on the median nerve, which reduces carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and pain in the hand and fingers.
In some cases, the surgery can be performed using an endoscope, a small camera that allows the surgeon to view the inside of the wrist and perform the surgery through smaller incisions. The surgery is usually performed outpatient and typically takes 15 to 30 minutes.
Will Workers’ Comp Cover Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Surgery?
While workers’ comp will sometimes cover the cost of carpal tunnel syndrome surgery, it doesn’t always.
Although carpal tunnel syndrome often results from repetitive motions at work, other contributing factors may include genetics and injuries sustained outside of the workplace.
If your carpal tunnel syndrome is traced to some specific work incident or is the result of a repetitive motion performed on the job, workers’ compensation might cover the cost of surgery and lost wages.
Please note, however, that workers’ compensation might not be available to you if the injury resulted from a pre-existing condition or some unrelated activity.
Anyone suspecting that they may have carpal tunnel syndrome should talk to their employer as well as with a healthcare professional to devise an action plan. Be sure to take breaks and proper precautions to help prevent it in the first place.
Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome a Workplace Injury?
Carpal tunnel syndrome develops due to activities like typing or utilizing a mouse for an extended period. It also occurs from repetitive stress associated with manual labor tasks like those performed in construction or on an assembly line. Sometimes, you can develop carpal tunnel from a car accident as well.
Although carpal tunnel syndrome may not be caused by any specific workplace incident, it is often aggravated or worsened by repetitive strain and motions at work. In these cases, it may be classified as “work-related” to file a workers’ comp claim.
However, every carpel tunnel workplace comp claim is evaluated based on its merits to determine if most symptoms are work-related. Also, please note that the issue is progressive, developing gradually over time rather than as a single incident or accident. People with carpal tunnel syndrome may have the condition for months or years before it is properly diagnosed.
What Workers’ Compensation is Available for Carpal Tunnel?
The extent of workers’ comp benefits for carpal tunnel syndrome will vary based on your circumstances. Factors like symptom severity and its impact on your ability to do your job will decide how much compensation you are owed.
You should speak with a carpal tunnel workers’ compensation attorney before navigating the workers’ compensation process to receive the fair compensation you are due.
Seeking the appropriate medical care is also critical to address your symptoms and provide evidence that the carpal tunnel syndrome is related to your work.
Hire a Pennsylvania Carpal Tunnel Workers’ Comp Lawyer
The Thistle Law Firm is a family-owned practice specializing in workers’ compensation involving carpal tunnel syndrome and other workplace injuries and illnesses.