When you hear about carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), you tend to think about data entry clerks, computer programmers, factory workers, hairdressers, and other people who use their hands to perform repetitive tasks. Although typically regarded as a repetitive strain injury, carpal tunnel can also be caused by a sudden trauma, such as a motor vehicle accident.
Insurance adjusters will probably try to convince you that carpal tunnel syndrome cannot be caused by a collision, but they’re wrong. There is even a name for CTS that develops after an accident: acute or traumatic CTS.
Carpal tunnel syndrome defined
According to the National Institute of Health, CTS occurs when your median nerve, which runs between your palm and forearm and controls movement in your thumb and first three fingers, becomes squeezed or pressed at the wrist. This pressure on the nerve tunnel causes the nerve to become irritated.
Although the most common cause of carpal tunnel syndrome is repetitive motion, a dislocated bone, fractured wrist, or swollen tendons can apply painful pressure on the median nerve, causing traumatic carpal tunnel syndrome to set in.
Any of these injuries can occur if, for example, another driver rear-ended you and forced you against the steering wheel. When your hands are driven against the steering column, it can cause a sprain or fracture that later develops into carpal tunnel syndrome.
CTS and automobile accidents
Published research has confirmed the link between carpal tunnel syndrome and motor vehicle crash. One study published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, entitled “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Motor Vehicle Accidents” showed that symptoms of CTS developed in 96 people within two months after they had been in a car accident. The original cause of injury was believed to be blunt trauma due to being hurled against the dashboard or steering wheel.
Traumatic CTS not only leaves you in severe pain, it can also cause you to miss work. A report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that among all the primary disabling illnesses and conditions in all private industries, carpal tunnel syndrome accounted for 27 days missed at work, which is the second longest average. (The top spot went to fractures, which accounted for 30 days of absenteeism.)
If you develop carpal tunnel syndrome after a car accident, then contact a local personal injury attorney who can help you file a claim against the at-fault party. Not only are the symptoms painful and debilitating enough to cause you to lose time at work, insurance companies will almost certainly try to fight your claim. Your attorney will help you collect the medical documentation needed to support your case and receive a settlement that accurately reflects your losses. Jayson Lutzky handles personal injury cases arising from CTS. He is an attorney with an office conveniently located in the Bronx, NY. Visit www.MyNewYorkCityLawyer.com to learn more about Mr. Lutzky or call 718-329-9500 to set up a free in-person consultation.