According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is one of the most widespread occupational diseases. It is a type of repetitive trauma disorder, which affects people who perform a great deal of work with their hands. Fortunately for workers, this occupational disease is covered under the workers’ compensation law of Illinois, meaning that they are eligible to receive benefits for treatment.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a medical condition that affects the median nerve that extends from forearms to the palm. This nerve gets compressed and hinders its capability to effective control thumb and finger movement, and also affects certain sensations of the fingers and palm. People suffering from this disease experience the following symptoms:
- Diminished ability to grip
- Diminished strength in the hand
- Stiffness in the fingers when waking up from sleep
- Itching, numbness, burning, and/or tingling in the fingers and palms
- A sensation of swelling in the fingers, although they are not actually swollen
- In extreme cases, thumb muscles can waste away
This occupational disease generally develops over time, and can be a result of numerous factors, the most common being regular repetitive movements. It can happen from a single traumatic event as well.
Occupations with High Susceptibility of CTS
People who are engaged in work activities requiring repetitive hand movements are at a higher risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. It has been most commonly reported in employees of the following occupations:
- Assembly line
- Factory workers
- Mail service
- Office workers
More and more cases have been linked to people who work extensively with computers and their work involves typing on keyboards.
Making a Workers’ Compensation Claim for CTS in Illinois
Since CTS has an adverse impact on a worker’s ability to perform their daily duties and leads to the inability to work, it is covered under workers’ compensation benefits. When a worker reports this disease to their employer and seek medical treatment, they are required to inform the medical care provider that this condition is work-related in order for the facts to be documented in the medical records. Some workers may have certain intrinsic risk factors for CTS, such as diabetes, obesity, or smoking, but they may still qualify for workers’ compensation benefits as long as the primary causative factor for the condition is work-related.
Many insurance providers tend to deny claims pertaining to carpal tunnel syndrome, for which workers may have to seek legal counsel to ensure they are able to collect workers’ compensation benefits. Moreover, since CTS sets in gradually, most people are confused and unclear as to whether they may be eligible for workers’ compensation for this type of condition. This is another reason as to why you should consider talking to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to evaluate your situation and learn about your legal options.
Contact the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C. at (847) 395-2200 or online today to schedule your initial consultation.