Carpal tunnel syndrome claims

Carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive strain syndrome are two medical conditions caused by overuse or repetitive actions. They are commonly associated with jobs which involve using a computer or lifting heavy objects on a regular basis.

Many people are familiar with repetitive strain syndrome but less so with carpal tunnel syndrome. But both of these are painful, potentially chronic conditions which can have serious consequences.

If you have developed carpal tunnel syndrome due to your job then you may be able to claim compensation.

Carpal tunnel syndrome

The wrist contains 8 tiny bones called the carpal bones and a ligament called the ‘retinaculum’. There is a space between these two called the carpal tunnel.

Within this tunnel are a series of tendons plus a main nerve called the ‘median nerve’which then divides into smaller sections within the palm of the hand.

These tendons connect the forearm muscles to the fingers and enable movement in these and the thumb. The media nerve is responsible for the sensations that you feel in your fingers and thumb.

What happens with carpal tunnel syndrome is that repetitive movement or excess pressure causes the tendons in the wrist to swell which then constricts the median nerve. This causes a range of symptoms such as tingling, burning or pins and needles in the fingers and thumbs.

This condition affects women more than men. Why is that?

One reason for that is that it often affects people who type or do a great deal of keyboard work. This has often been work undertaken by women rather than men.

However, it can develop from using industrial tools which tends to be a task more readily performed by men than women.

Another possible reason is that women have a smaller carpal tunnel then men which increase the risk.

Does the employer have a responsibility?

Your employer has a duty of care to protect you against the risk of an accident or injury. This means ensuring that there are sufficient safeguards in place in order to guarantee this.

In jobs where carpal tunnel syndrome is a risk an employer should aim to reduce this risk. This means ensuring that your workstation is properly set up, encouraging you to take short breaks and providing wrist rests.

Causes of carpel tunnel syndrome

These include:

  • Using vibrating tools or heavy power tools
  • Constant use of a computer keyboard and mouse
  • Writing
  • Knitting

Plus any movements which involve bending or flexing the wrist: or constant pressure on the bottom of the palm of the hand.

Most people assume that this condition is caused by excessive use of a keyboard and/or mouse but it can affect people who work in an industrial environment.

So if you work in an industrial environment where you are engaged in heavy lifting, gripping or using a vibrating tool then this will cause problems over time. This equally applies if you work in an office and use a computer.

If you can prove that your employer has failed to protect you against the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome then you may be entitled to compensation.

Effects of carpal tunnel syndrome

This is an unpleasant and debilitating condition which has serious consequences. These apply to not only you but your family as well.

This can become a chronic condition if left untreated which then restricts movement in the hands and wrist. The problem with this is that you constantly use your hands on a daily basis and any reduction in doing so will have a noticeable impact.

If you are unable to perform your normal range of movements then this will affect your quality of life.

Another factor is that of having to change jobs as a result of your condition. If this occurs then you have the stress of finding alternative employment. Plus there may be additional expenses such as medication, cortisone injections, physiotherapy etc.

This loss of earnings and additional expense causes mental distress for both you and your family. It may result in financial hardship.

A compensation payout can cover these costs and others. It can cover the cost of treatment –if you decide to opt for private treatment and go some way to easing the stress and anxiety caused by your condition.

Making a claim for compensation for carpal tunnel syndrome

Look for a personal injury law firm or solicitor who has a great deal of experience and understanding about claims for carpel tunnel syndrome.

This type of claim can be complex with many issues to consider but the lawyer or solicitor should explain these in full to you. Before he/she goes ahead with your claim he/she will review it and examine any supporting evidence.

The more evidence you have to back up your claim the greater your chance of success. A good example is a medical report from a medical professional who specialises in conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

The main issue is that of proving that your employer was at fault and failed to protect you against the risk of developing this condition.

Other issues include the confirmation of a diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome and the exact cause.

For more information about the claims process, visit our making a claim for compensation section.

Time limit for claiming compensation for carpal tunnel syndrome

Personal Injury Guide

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