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Carpal Tunnel Disability Claims Attorneys
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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Disability Claim

We use our hands daily for a wide variety of tasks. Their use is so commonplace that we often take them for granted and do not consider how our actions could be affecting the delicate interconnecting systems inside. When carpal tunnel syndrome develops, it can severely impact our daily lives, affecting far more than just our ability to work. This impairment is more common than you might think, with an estimated one to five percent of people in America suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome at some point in their lives.

Why Do You Need a Carpal Tunnel Disability Claims Lawyer

While carpal tunnel can affect just about anyone who works with their hands, it is especially impactful for workers who rely on steady, precise hand movements, like dentists, doctors, and surgeons. If carpal tunnel syndrome is interfering with your ability to work, you may be eligible for disability benefits. For others who spend most of the work day on a computer, issues with ones hands and wrists could substantially impact functionality. Take a closer look at your options for long-term disability for carpal tunnel, and discover how the Law Office of Justin Frankel can help you fight for compensation with a free consultation.

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) happens when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm through the wrist and into the palm of the hand, is pressed or squeezed at the wrist. There is an actual “carpal tunnel.” It is a narrow passageway containing ligaments and bones at the base of the hand where the median nerve and the tendons that bend the fingers are located. It typically occurs when the carpal tunnel experiences increased pressure and subsequently compresses the median nerve. This personal injury can happen when the tunnel opening is too narrow or when the tissues around it swell.

CTS can be a career-ending condition for a professional who relies on manual dexterity, like a surgeon or dentist, or someone who spends their days typing on a keyboard. With the importance of precision in the work of dentists and surgeons, CTS can be particularly debilitating. These professionals often spend hours standing in fixed postures, gripping tools, and engaging in precise, repetitive motions. These fixed poses and careful hand movements can cause repetitive stress injuries and contribute to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome over time.

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

woman sitting at laptop struggling with wrist pain

Carpal tunnel syndrome tends to manifest in a relatively subtle way at first. For example, a dentist may find themselves having difficulty gripping their tools, while a surgeon could struggle to be precise with their movements since their fingers are tingling. These are early signs of nerve damage.

The most common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are as follows:

  • Weakness when gripping objects
  • Pain and numbness in the hand and fingers that worsens at night
  • Feeling pins and needles in the fingers
  • Swelling in the fingers
  • Burning or tingling in the fingers focused on the thumb, index fingers, and middle fingers

Risk Factors for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Quite a few different factors can contribute to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. Any kind of anatomical change or abnormality in the area could contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome by making the opening too narrow. Some people are genetically predisposed to having small tunnel openings, while others could have their tunnel openings get narrower from wrist trauma or diseases like osteoarthritis. On average, American women tend to have smaller carpal tunnel sizes than men, so they are more likely to develop symptoms.

Hormonal and metabolic changes such as what you would experience during pregnancy could cause inflammation as well. Other conditions like rheumatoid arthritis can also put you at risk.

Using the wrist and hand repeatedly for long hours can increase the risk of CTS. An office worker typing all day can develop the condition, of course, but surgeons and dentists are particularly prone to carpal tunnel injury. They spend long hours making precise movements, all while gripping tools, which can put significant strain on the carpal tunnel itself. When that strain causes inflammation, the opening for the nerve can get too narrow, and CTS manifests. Below are Common Causes of Carpal Tunnel syndrome:

  • Repeated use of hand tools
  • Prolonged Typing
  • Hormonal and metabolic changes
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Trauma or Injury
  • Increased age

Underlying Conditions of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Some additional contributing risk factors include repetitive stress injuries, any kind of wrist injury like a sprain or dislocation, and drastic changes in blood sugar levels. As a disclaimer, obesity is also a risk factor for carpal tunnel syndrome.

Treatments for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

If you are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, it is essential that you get treatment immediately. In addition to simply relieving the discomfort and regaining proper control of your hands, it is essential in jobs that have serious consequences for performing poorly. For example, a surgeon operating with CTS increases their risk for a medical malpractice claim. If you continue practicing as a surgeon or dentist with CTS, you could open yourself up to expensive medical malpractice disability claims and potentially lose your license and right to practice.

The treatment options for carpal tunnel can vary based on the severity of your case. It may simply go away on its own if you take more frequent breaks when using your hands and avoid activities that strain your wrists. Cold packs can also help reduce swelling. For more serious cases, you can apply a wrist splint and take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen. Some medical treatment providers may go so far as to inject the affected area with corticosteroids.

If none of these treatments work, surgery may be required. The goal of surgery is to cut the ligament that is pressing on the median nerve using one of two techniques. The first is endoscopic surgery, which involves a surgeon using an endoscope or ultrasound to guide a small tool that makes incisions. The other option is open surgery, which requires a longer recovery period.

Common Jobs Associated With Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Any job that involves the use of your hands can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, but any that include the following are particularly prone to the condition:

  • Repetitive motions with your hands
  • Strong gripping
  • Awkward hand positions
  • Vibrations
  • Mechanical palm stress

Some jobs are especially prone to the condition, so you will need to mitigate risk factors for this work-related injury if your job is any of the following:

Does Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Qualify for Disability Insurance Benefits?

When CTS symptoms prevent you from performing the tasks and duties of your occupation, filing for a disability claim may be the only way to protect your financial health. Long-term disability insurance companies are known for questioning the severity of a CTS in patients and seeking to deny disability benefits through a series of strategic moves, including requiring a claimant to undergo surgery, so it is important to make sure you have plenty of medical evidence on your side.

Insurance companies also tend to use a common tactic against people who work in specialized practices, like dentists or surgeons. They may try to reclassify your practice into something more general. For example, an orthopedic surgeon may be reclassified as a general practitioner or even an administrator. This reclassification subverts your “own occupation” rider to attempt to claim that you can continue doing your job and therefore cannot collect your disability insurance. This reclassification is disingenuous — a surgeon with his own practice could not keep the doors open if he was suffering from CTS and only able to complete administrative work.

Without your specialty classification, you could lose out on long-term disability benefits you deserve and create significant financial risk for yourself and your practice. We have experience fighting these reclassifications and can stand up to your insurance company.

How to Obtain Long-term Disability Benefits For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

doctor investigating Carpal Tunnel in woman's wrist

If you are suffering from CTS, a visit to the orthopedist will confirm the diagnosis, usually through three tests:

  • Tinel’s test: The physician taps the median nerve to see if there is a tingling response in the fingers.
  • Phalen’s test: The patient places the backs of their hands together while bending the wrist for 60 seconds to see if there is tingling in the fingers.
  • Electromyography (EMG): Electrodes are placed on the arm, and a current is passed through to measure how fast it is transmitted via the median nerve to the muscles.

Residual Functional Capacity Test for Long-term Disability Claims

However, that is only the beginning, as you will need considerable evidence to demonstrate and prove your disability. The insurance company will work to determine your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC), which is your ability to perform work tasks –often note specific to the work that you perform. If you are a medical professional, programmer or office worker, having a disability insurance lawyer on your side is crucial at this stage. You may be able to complete some of your work tasks, but your disability compromises your primary work functions. A disability insurance lawyer can help to frame the issues and fight any inaccurate classification of your functional capacity to protect your disability claim.

To show how your condition affects your ability to work, you should consider keeping a detailed log of your symptoms throughout the day and be mindful of how you describe these symptoms to your attending physician. The testimonial and support of your doctor can greatly help your case, and a long-term disability lawyer can help them phrase your condition and the attendant impairments properly. When the insurance company compares your RFC to your job responsibilities and finds you unable to complete your tasks, they will likely consider you disabled.

Doctor Exams and Independent Evaluations for Ongoing Disability Claims

Keep in mind that the insurer may ask you to repeatedly verify your medical condition over time to demonstrate that it is still a problem and continues to impair you from working. That often means additional exams and testing and further evaluations. They may not even be satisfied with your doctor’s testimony and could potentially require an independent evaluation be conducted. If you cannot show your continued disability, your long-term disability benefits could be terminated.

How Can a Carpal Tunnel Disability Insurance Claim Attorney Help?

Having a carpal tunnel disability attorney can help your insurance claim immensely, making the entire process easier and putting you in a better position for potential disability benefits. A disability lawyer can assemble all the necessary documentation and evidence to make your case as strong as possible while offering legal advice along the way. They can also handle communicating with your doctor to help them convince insurers of your inability to work due to your CTS. A lawyer can even help prevent insurers from reclassifying your job position or insisting that you can continue working properly despite your condition. If your case goes far enough, we can represent you in court and fight for your rights, whether in state or federal court.

Recent Client Testimonial

“In over 30 years of working, I struggled but persevered through difficult times in my career. After a number of serious incidents, I realized my time as a practicing physician needed to end without compromising patient safety or my health. The time a physician admits he is disabled is a day they will never forget… When the day came and my decision was made, I knew I had to find an attorney to help me through the complexity of the disability insurance process… I interviewed many attorneys across the states. Justin Frankel made an unforgettable mark by demonstrating his compassion and sympathy. After much more research, I learned of Mr. Frankel’s history and accomplished work with the insurance process. Justin Frankel’s expertise and legal team exceeded my expectations. Mr. Frankel’s communication, diligence and constant work with me was exemplary. His level of professionalism was pristine. That was over 3 years ago. Today, Justin continues to exhibit the same or more compassion and passion for his work.” -Marc W.

A Helping Hand for Your Disability Insurance Claim

At the Law Office of Justin Frankel, our nationwide law firm is happy to take on the burden of fighting insurance companies for you. Carpal tunnel syndrome is more debilitating than people seem to think, and you should be free to focus on recovery while we handle your disability case. The attorney-client relationship at our law offices allows you to work directly with Justin Frankel toward getting disability benefits for your disability.

Don’t wait for your disability insurance company to deny your carpal tunnel syndrome claim.

Call our office at 888-583-4959 for a free case evaluation to learn how we can help protect you, your family, and your practice.

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