Raleigh Carpal Tunnel Injury Lawyers
If you suffer from numbness, tingling, burning or pain in the fingers, plus weakness and clumsiness in the affected hand, you may be experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome. It is a work injury suffered by workers whose jobs require them to repeat the same manual tasks day in and day out.
Carpal Tunnel Injury Lawyers
Workers with job-related carpal tunnel syndrome sometimes need costly surgery and extensive rehabilitation to relieve the pain and loss of manual dexterity. In most cases, the worker’s medical bills should be paid for through his or her employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. The worker also should be eligible for compensation for lost wages because of this repetitive motion injury.
How to Handle Worker’s Comp Claims?
If your employer or the employer’s workers’ compensation insurer disputes your claim, you need to contact a carpal tunnel injury lawyer right away. In North Carolina, the Raleigh carpal tunnel attorneys at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., have helped many workers recover full compensation for losses due to carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive stress injuries.
If you or a loved one has suffered a carpal tunnel injury related to your job and you are having difficulty obtaining workers’ compensation benefits, you should schedule a free consultation with a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorneys at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A. about your right to benefits. Our dedicated lawyers have earned a reputation for:
- Dedicated customer service. We look out for our clients’ best interests. We will guide you through the claims process and keep the lines of communication open so that any questions you may have are promptly addressed.
- Extensive legal experience. Our legal team has a long track record of success as advocates for injured workers in North Carolina. Two of our partners – Chip Younce and David E. Vtipil – are Board-Certified Specialists in N.C. Workers’ Compensation Law.
- Attentive case management. We’ll take care of every detail of your workers’ comp claim so that you can focus on your recovery. Our firm’s state-of-the-art case tracking system helps us ensure your claim moves forward smoothly.
- Accommodating your needs. If your injuries limit your mobility, we can meet with you at your home, at the hospital, or anywhere else that is convenient for you. We have staff members who speak both English and Spanish so we can discuss your claim in your preferred language.
Free consultation about your carpal tunnel injury claim involves no further obligation on your part. We’ll tell you about your legal options and whether you have a valid workers’ compensation claim.
Contact us today to set up a free claim review about your injury.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that occurs when one of the major nerves to the hand — the median nerve — is compressed where it travels through a narrow passageway in the wrist.
The carpal tunnel is a configuration of small bones that protect the median nerve and flexor tendons, which help to bend the fingers and thumb. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the tissues surrounding the flexor tendons swell, putting pressure on the median nerve. These tissues are called the synovium.
The swollen synovium puts abnormal pressure on the median nerve, which can cause pain, numbness, tingling and weakness in the hand. In its early stages, the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome can often be relieved with simple measures such as wearing a wrist splint or avoiding certain activities. If pressure on the median nerve continues, however, it can lead to nerve damage.
Is Carpal Tunnel a Worker’s Comp Injury?
If you can trace the origin of your carpal tunnel injury to your job duties, it may be considered an occupational injury that qualifies you for workers’ compensation benefits.
Certain types of jobs that involve a lot of typing, data entry, assembly work or use of vibrating tools commonly cause carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is three times more common among workers who perform assembly line work – manufacturing, sewing, finishing, cleaning, and meat, poultry or fish packing – than among data-entry personnel, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Carpal tunnel syndrome is often considered an occupational repetitive motion injury. It may be caused by:
- Repeating the same hand and wrist motions or activities over a prolonged period. This overuse aggravates the tendons in the wrist, causing the swelling that puts pressure on the median nerve.
- Extreme bending or extension of the hand and wrist for a prolonged period, which can increase pressure on the nerve.
- There are several other potential causes or contributors to carpal tunnel syndrome, and an employer or workers’ comp insurer may cite any of these as a reason to deny a claim:
- Health conditions. Diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, overactive pituitary gland, and an underactive thyroid gland are conditions that are associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Genetics. The carpal tunnel may be smaller in some people or there may be other anatomic differences that change the space around the nerve. These traits can run in families, so if a parent had carpal tunnel, heredity may be a factor.
- Pregnancy or menopause. Women are three times more likely than men to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. Hormonal changes and/or fluid retention during pregnancy or changes in menopause can cause swelling.
When considering a workers’ compensation claim for a diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome, you would want to rule out other potential factors. When filing a workers’ comp claim, you are required to see a doctor chosen by your employer. However, you may seek a second opinion from a doctor of your choice and, if need be, we can refer you to a physician who understands carpal tunnel syndrome and the North Carolina workers’ comp system.
How is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Diagnosed?
When you see a doctor about complaints of hand and wrist pain, tingling and/or numbness, he or she should obtain a medical history and conduct a physical examination of your hands, arms, shoulders, and neck. This can help determine whether your discomfort is related to daily activities or to an underlying disorder. It may rule out other conditions that cause similar symptoms.
You will want to explain your pain and the repetitive nature of your job, as well as any other factors that cause continued stress or trauma to your wrists or hands.
Other diagnostic testing may include:
- Lab tests and X-rays, which may reveal fractures, arthritis or diseases that can damage the nerves, such as diabetes.
- Tests to reproduce symptoms, such as tapping on or pressing over the median nerve (the Tinel test) or pressing the backs of your hands and fingers together with your wrists flexed as far as possible (Phalen’s maneuver or wrist-flexion test). The doctor may ask you to mimic actions that cause your pain.
- Electrodiagnostic tests to measure the electrical activity of the nerves and muscles.
- Ultrasound or MRI imaging, which can show the abnormal size of the median nerve.
How is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treated?
For most people, carpal tunnel syndrome can sometimes be relieved without surgery, if treated early enough.
If you are diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, treatment will start with the least invasive option:
- Rest. If possible, taking some time off or more frequent breaks may be enough to ease your pain.
- Splinting. You’ll be given a splint to wear at night or more often if that is helpful.
- Medication. Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, can relieve pain but don’t actually treat the cause of the pain. Prescription medications, such as prednisone taken orally, may reduce swelling and relieve pressure on the median nerve.
- Surgery. The procedure involves severing a ligament around the wrist to reduce pressure on the median nerve. Afterward, the ligament usually grows back together and allow more space than before. It may be a traditional procedure requiring an incision of up to 2 inches in the wrist, or endoscopic surgery with smaller incisions (about ½ inch each) and insertion of a camera attached to a tube to perform the procedure. Surgery is usually done under local or regional anesthesia (involving some sedation) and does not require an overnight hospital stay.
- The NIH says carpal tunnel release is one of the most common surgical procedures in the United States.
Although symptoms may be relieved immediately after surgery, full recovery from carpal tunnel surgery can take months.
Most people need to modify work activity for several weeks following surgery. Some people may need to adjust job duties or even change jobs after recovery from surgery, the NIH says.
If you have to take a lesser paying job following surgery for work-related carpal tunnel syndrome, workers’ compensation benefits should make up a portion of the difference in your income.
Contact Our Raleigh Workers’ Comp Attorneys Now
If you have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome and it was caused by duties you perform as part of your job, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Talk to our Raleigh carpal tunnel injury attorneys about your options. Our law firm understands how insurance companies fight carpal tunnel syndrome workers’ comp claims. We will work with you and your doctors to develop extensive documentation of your injury and its job-related origins.
Schedule a free consultation with our Raleigh attorneys today about your job-related carpal tunnel syndrome. We can get started on your claim with no upfront costs to you. In fact, you will not owe us anything unless we recover money for you.