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Can I file a workers’ comp claim for carpal tunnel syndrome?

Perhaps you sit at a computer all day at work. Because you are constantly using the mouse that attaches to your keyboard, a painful, tingling sensation has taken up residence in your wrist.

Your doctor has diagnosed the problem as carpal tunnel syndrome. Does this condition qualify for workers’ compensation?

What it is

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a progressive condition that affects the median nerve in the wrist, which controls many of the nerve impulses in your hand. The nerve passes through the carpal tunnel, a passageway through ligaments and bones.

What causes the condition

Repetitive motion, such as clicking a mouse at your computer all day, can cause the median nerve to swell. Since it runs through a narrow enclosure, you will feel a painful, tingling sensation in your wrist or hand. If you do not seek proper treatment for this condition, the muscles in those areas can deteriorate, and it may eventually become difficult for you to work with that hand.

Eligibility for filing a claim

You may not realize it, but the leading cause of workplace injuries is overexertion. Carpal tunnel syndrome falls into this category because it is one of several types of repetitive stress injuries. Others include bursitis, tendinitis and epicondylitis, or tennis elbow. These are conditions that affect the soft tissues, such as tendons, ligaments, muscles and, of course, nerves. If your carpal tunnel syndrome is a job-related injury, you should file a workers’ compensation claim.

Medical evidence

Workers’ compensation law protects employees like you who sustain on-the-job injuries. Sometimes, however, approval for compensation requires evidence that the injury is work-related. When you are ready to file a claim, prepare to provide a medical report from your doctor that confirms his or her opinion that your injury results from the work you do. With the proper care, you can recover completely from carpal tunnel syndrome. However, in the meantime, you are entitled to financial compensation that can help you until you are able to take on a full day’s work again.

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