When people in California think of injuries sustained at the workplace, they might be inclined to think about traumatic accidents such as a fall by a construction worker, for example. However, even workers who sit at desks all day are susceptible to a workplace injury -- albeit without a dramatic scene taking place. Instead, injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome can get worse over time, practically unnoticed.
In fact, injuries to California workers from carpal tunnel syndrome end up being much more expensive in terms of lost time from work than many other kids of injuries. According to research by the California Workers' Compensation Institute, carpal tunnel claims see an average duration of close to 31 months, considerably more than the average for other claims in the state, which average less than 11 months.
And not only do repetitive motion injuries such as carpal tunnel take a long time for recovery, many people don't recover sufficiently at all. In fact, more than half the claims examined between 2001 and 2011 for carpal tunnel ended up with the injured person being classified as permanently disabled.
There are several factors that seem to make carpal tunnel more insidious than people realize. One of the primary reasons is that carpal tunnel often requires surgery to correct followed by courses of physical therapy. This means that simply resting will not alleviate the problems.
Another factor is that employers often dispute carpal tunnel claims or attempt to demonstrate that the injury did not occur at work. This is when it can be of crucial importance to have a workers' compensation attorney on your side who can fight for your rights and help get you the treatment you need.
Source: Risk & Insurance, "California researchers explore high costs of carpal tunnel reforms," Feb. 25, 2013