Challenges of Carpal Tunnel Claims in Illinois
Carpal tunnel syndrome often develops from typing, operating equipment, and other workplace activities that involve repetitive movement of the hands. It can severely impact your ability to work and diminish your quality of life, so if you are suffering from its effects, you are entitled to workers’ compensation under Illinois law.
However, there are a number of factors that could complicate your claim. Insurance companies may try to minimize the amount of compensation you’ll receive, so it’s important to know how to overcome those complications. Here, we’ll go over a number of those factors.
Symptoms Aren’t Immediate
The primary difficulty that carpal tunnel claims face is the fact that it takes a while for symptoms to manifest. This means it may be difficult to connect the injury to the workplace, especially if you only start feeling pain after leaving a job. This difficulty is compounded by the fact that there is no single event to tie to the injury—it results from repetitive motions that put gradual strain on the wrist.
In addition to taking time to manifest, symptoms may not seem severe. It’s easy to dismiss an odd ache in your wrist or mild tingling in your index finger, but those symptoms can become far worse over time. This can make it harder to relate your injury to your workplace, so it’s important to see a doctor and report your injury as soon as you notice the following:
- Tingling, numbness, or itching in the palm or fingers
- Weakened grip
- Pain in the hands or wrists
- Difficulty forming a fist
- Atrophy of muscles under the thumb
Your doctor can run tests to determine whether your symptoms indicate carpal tunnel syndrome.
Sometimes, the symptoms that indicate carpal tunnel may actually result from another condition, so this can further complicate things. For instance, neck injuries may result in some of the abovementioned symptoms, so it’s important to see a doctor about your condition. Otherwise, it can easily undermine your claim.
Often, work-related carpal tunnel could be made worse by other contributing factors, such as obesity, diabetes, and pregnancy. These could complicate a case if you’re not careful, which is why it’s important to give your doctor as much detail about your injury as you can. Even with these factors, if your carpal tunnel is in any way related to work, you are entitled to compensation.
Regardless of the challenges, if your carpal tunnel is the result of work-related duties, the law dictates that you are owed workers’ compensation, including payment for medical bills and lost wages. You still have a claim, but to maximize the chances that your claim will go through, there are a number of things you can do. These include:
- See a doctor as soon as you develop symptoms
- Report your injury as quickly as possible to avoid Illinois’s time limits
- Keep working if you’re able—malingering will hurt your claim
- Hire a workers’ compensation lawyer
Hart David Carson LLP can assist you through the process of obtaining workers’ compensation if you are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome.