Carpal tunnel syndrome, a repetitive use condition in which there is pressure on the median nerve in your wrist, causing pain, numbness, and other problems. Many things that we do for work, including typing on a computer keyboards, performing intricate work by hand, assembling components by hand, etc., can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. But so can so many of the activities in our daily lives, especially now that computers, tablets, and smartphones are ubiquitous. Are these devices making it harder to pinpoint the cause of carpal tunnel syndrome?
Workers in industries where there are a lot of wrist and hand movements are those most often affected by carpal tunnel syndrome, including data entry workers, factory assembly line workers, drivers, craftsmen, chefs, musicians, writers, and computer workers like coders. In Illinois, carpal tunnel syndrome is considered an occupational disease, which means that a specific injury date is not required to make a workers’ compensation claim or receive compensation.
If you claim that you contracted carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of your work and seek to file a workers’ compensation claim, your employer or your employer’s insurance company may try to contest it by saying that your condition was pre-existing or that it was caused by other activities, such as smartphone use, rather than your job. If this is the case, it’s important that your condition is evaluated not only by the employer’s/insurance company’s doctor (who may not be objective and corroborate their story) but by another doctor that asserts that the condition was caused by repetitive use, and that the work you do could cause or contribute to the condition.
If you have hobbies that require a lot of repetitive motion, coding, online gaming, knitting, playing piano, etc., those might be used against you as evidence that your condition is not a result of your work, as might be the fact that you experienced carpal tunnel symptoms before you began work in this position or for this employer, though you may still receive compensation if it can be proved that your work aggravated the existing condition. A good attorney and medical expert can help determine that the motions you perform, and the number of times per day you perform those motions, have caused or exacerbated your carpal tunnel syndrome.
Though we may have more devices that require small movements of the hand and wrist, like smartphones, the truth is that carpal tunnel can still be proven to be an occupational illness, depending on your individual situation. If you’ve developed carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of repetitive use during your job, you may have a basis for a workers’ compensation claim. Talk with the knowledgeable attorneys at the Epstein Law Firm about your injury today.