What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or CTS, is a painful condition of the hand and fingers caused by compression of a major nerve where it passed over the carpal bones at the front of the wrist. It causes pins and needles, numbness and weakness of the hand or fingers.
What Work Puts You at Risk?
People most at risk are those with jobs or activities that involve repetitive finger use, especially those associated with high-force, long-term use, extreme wrist motions and vibrations.
Jobs that involve repetitive wrist movement include:
What are the Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Symptoms usually begin slowly and can occur at any time. Early symptoms include numbness at night, tingling and/or pain in the fingers.
Common daytime symptoms are tingling and decreased feeling in the fingertips. Patients also report difficulty handling small objects, grasping the steering wheel to drive, holding a book to read, writing, or using a computer keyboard, etc.
How is it Diagnosed?
It is diagnosed using a combination of your personal history, a physical examination, and tests called Nerve Conduction studies.
A physical examination includes a detailed evaluation of your hand, wrist, shoulder and neck to check for any other causes of nerve pressure. Your doctor will look at your wrist for signs of tenderness and any deformities.
Nerve Conduction Tests (NCT) are diagnostic tests which can measure the conduction speed of your nerve impulses. If the nerve impulse is slower than normal as the nerve passes into the hand, you may have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
How is it Treated?
Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome depends on its severity. Nonsurgical options include:
Surgery may be necessary if there is severe damage to your median nerve. This involves cutting the band of tissue in the wrist that crosses the median nerve so as to lessen the pressure on your nerve. Factors that determine success or failure are the age of the patient and the duration of symptoms. The outcome of surgery is normally very good.
What is the Duty of my Employer to Protect Me From Developing This Condition?
Your employer has general common law duties to ensure you have a safe place of work, safe plant or machinery and a safe system of work. If the Defendant breaches these duties there will be a claim in negligence against them.
A breach of these common law duties can be shown/proven by identifying breaches in statutory requirements the Defendants have to comply with. Some of these are as follows:
Health and Safety Act 1974
Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
What Will My Claim Be Worth?
The value of your claim will depend on the severity of the injuries linked with the work. The court will be guided by the Judicial Studies Board (JSB) guidelines, which set out the levels for different awards.
Typical awards can be as follows:
On top of the figures above you will also be able to claim for any specific financial/out-of-pocket losses, such as loss of earnings or medication costs that have been directly incurred by the condition.
How Do I Make A Claim?
If you have read the above and feel that you may be suffering from any Carpal Tunnel Syndrome symptoms whilst exposed to repetitive tasks at work, call Oakwood solicitors to speak to our dedicated Industrial Disease Team.
In order to run the majority of Personal Injury claims, you have to have started the claim within three years of the injury. However, with Industrial Disease claims it may be that the injury started over a period of time and was only diagnosed within the last three years. We will be able to clarify this for you.
Will I Lose My Job if I Make a Claim?
If you are still working for the Defendants they can not dismiss you for making or proposing to make a claim. If your employer attempts to do so when you are likely able to make a successful unfair dismissal claim. Generally, in our experience, the high majority of insurers understand their duties owed to you and the right you have to pursue a claim if this duty has been breached.
In the high majority of matters, the claim will normally be transferred from the Defendants directly to their insurers and it will be the insurers who will deal with the Defending of the action.
How Long Will My Case Take?
The length of time for a case can vary and can strongly depend on how Defendants and their insurers want to defend the action. Initially, it may be that we request certain documents from the Defendants/their insurers, such as Risk Assessments/job sheets to fully assess the claim before any formal claim is made.
Generally, these cases can take anywhere from twelve months up to three years to reach a conclusion.
Why Use Oakwood Solicitors to Run My Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) Claim?
We have a very experienced and dedicated Industrial Disease team. They are able to identify whether a claim is likely to be viable at an early stage and give advice.
The team works with an extensive network of orthopedic surgeons and hand surgeons. They have dealt with a number of claims in all areas of Industrial Disease and have achieved some excellent results. If there are no risk assessments and the Defendants argue that the risk to your health was foreseeable (should have been known) a report from an Ergonomist may be required.
These experts would consider the systems in place and whether they were reasonable in all the circumstances. If required, this is something that we will arrange for in your claim.
WHAT TO DO NEXT
If you believe you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome as a result of your working environment, get in touch today for a free initial consultation in complete confidence. Choose one of the methods on the right-hand side of this page, or call us on 0113 200 9787 to find out how we can help you.