Can You Sue Your Employer If You Have Carpal Tunnel?
Under Virginia’s Workers’ Compensation laws, workers are entitled to compensation if they sustain injuries at work or while doing a work-related task.
They’re also entitled to benefits if they suffer from illnesses or diseases, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, due to the nature of their work.
Essentially, workers’ compensation is a trade-off. The worker can’t sue or initiate a lawsuit against their employer to recover damages for carpal tunnel syndrome.
However, they can receive benefits for their condition by filing a claim through the state’s Workers’ Compensation Commission.
If you are suffering from a work-related work injury, a Virginia workers’ compensation lawyer can help.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome refers to numbness and pain in the hand, arm and/or wrist area due to too much pressure on the median nerve.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include:
- Tingling in the hand
- Tingling in the arm
- Chronic pain
- Burning sensations
- Loss of feeling
These symptoms may make it difficult for a worker to properly perform everyday activities because it’s difficult to grip or hold objects.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a very common condition for workers who do repetitive movements such as construction workers, data entry employees, butchers, and truckers. It can prevent these workers from performing work-related tasks such as typing or using hand tools.
How Do You Prove that Your Carpal Tunnel is Related to Your Job?
Under the Virginia’s Workers’ Compensation Act, carpal tunnel is categorized as a common life disease.
This means that workers who are trying to obtain compensation for this condition have a higher burden of proof.
They need to prove that the condition is related to their work by providing clear and compelling evidence.
Here are two ways to do this:
- Provide testimony that their work is the primary cause of carpal tunnel syndrome and include the length of time they’ve been working for their employer and the tasks they need to do that require the frequent and constant use of their hands. They must also show how their hobbies or home activities require minimal use of their hands.
- Ask the worker’s treating physician to provide a report stating that it is their patient’s employment, and not their other activities, that was the primary cause of the condition.
What is the Average Settlement for Cases Involving Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
While no two cases are the same, the average workers’ compensation settlement involving carpal tunnel syndrome is between $30,000 to $70,000 although each case is unique.
The settlement amount can be lower or higher depending on the following factors:
- The medical evidence that supports that workers’ claim
- Whether or not the worker sustained another work-related injury
- The worker’s average weekly wage before their injury
- The period needed for recovery
- The worker’s age and occupation
- How long the worker has been working for their employer
What Benefits Are Included?
The employer or their insurance company will provide a settlement that covers the following:
- Medical care including surgery, medical equipment like wrist braces, and rehabilitation
- Temporary disability benefits including lost wages
- Permanent disability benefits if the worker is not expected to recover, and if the condition has adversely affected future earning capacity
- Job displacement and retraining benefits if the worker is unable to return to work
Contact an Experienced Workers’ Comp Lawyer Today
If you’re having difficulties claiming workers’ compensation benefits for your carpal tunnel syndrome, contact a lawyer who can help you get the compensation you deserve.
An experienced workers’ comp lawyer will strengthen your case and help you prove that your condition is primarily due to the nature of your work.
Our team at Slominski Law can help. Contact us by email, or call (434) 384-9400 (Lynchburg) or (540) 554-3762 (Roanoke).