You don’t work in an oil field or on a construction site, where you are at daily risk of a serious and incapacitating accident. Instead, you work in an office or from home, typing on your computer all day. But this does not mean that you are completely safe from injury. Even sitting in front of a computer, there are injuries that you could suffer that might qualify you for workers’ compensation – such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
What is it and what causes it?
Many of the nerves in your hands pass through a small tube in your wrist called the carpal tunnel. Sometimes, the way you hold your computer mouse, the way you rest your arm on your desk, and the way you hold your wrists while typing can put pressure on this tunnel and compress the nerves within.
Carpal tunnel syndrome typically starts gradually, with slight discomfort and a tingling sensation. If the pressure continues over a long period of time, day after day, the syndrome can get worse and worse. If enough time passes without a correction or treatment, you could suffer permanent and irreversible nerve or muscle damage.
Does it qualify for workers’ compensation?
Any time you suffer a workplace injury that interferes with your ability to carry out your work duties, you can likely qualify for workers’ compensation payments. These are payments from your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy that help sustain you while you recover from your injuries until you can return to work.
If you work on a computer, severe carpal tunnel syndrome can absolutely prevent you from completing your work efficiently. If you suffer severe pain every time you type on the keyboard or use a mouse, how can you work a full 8-hour day like you once did? You can’t – without medical treatment.
The important element to remember is that an injury must be a workplace injury in order to qualify for workers’ compensation. Even if you work from home, you can qualify for workers’ compensation – as long as a medical professional determines that the carpal tunnel syndrome was predominantly caused by your work duties, and not by activities you did outside of work hours.
No one should have to deal with the consequences of severe and painful injures without recourses. A workers’ compensation claim might be just what you need to allow you time to heal from your injury.