Carpal tunnel syndrome disables some California workers

California readers might more readily associate workers' compensation claims with workplaces like a construction or agricultural site, rather than an office environment. However, the enforcement authority of the California Occupational Safety and Health Program applies to all public and private sector places of employment, with only a few exceptions.

In other words, an office worker is just as entitled to the benefits of an employer's workers' compensation plan as any other kind of worker. In fact, injuries do happen in office environments. One of the most common computer-related injuries is carpal tunnel syndrome.

Unfortunately, carpal tunnel claims are often not processed quickly, compared to other types of on-the-job injuries. Whereas most workplace injury claims for workers' compensation are resolved in under a year's time, the average carpal tunnel claim takes nearly 31 months to close.

Researchers believe there are several explanations for the longer processing time. First, carpal tunnel injuries may not be diagnosed immediately, or there may be disputes over the cause of the injury. Second, treatment plans are often lengthy, involving surgery followed by physical therapy. Finally, more than half of carpal tunnel claims result in permanent disability -- a rate that is three times higher than for other workers' compensation injury claims.

To avoid the risk of permanent disability from carpal tunnel syndrome, office workers that begin experiencing numbness or tingling in their palms or fingers, coordination difficulties, or a weakened grip should consult with an experienced workers' compensation attorney. An attorney will help injured workers take the necessary steps to rehabilitation, without fear of adverse consequences from their employers.

Source: riskandinsurance.com, "California researchers explore high costs of carpal tunnel claims," Feb. 25, 2013

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