Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Repetitive Stress Injuries - Carpal Tunnell Syndrome

Some people think that because they didn't have a specific accident at work, that they cannot file a workers comp claim in Arizona.  Untrue!  Many injuries are the result of repetitive stress or cumulative trauma - the gradual effects of performing the same activity repetitively over a long period of time.  These cases are actually quite easy to win if you have a doctor who can causally relate your diagnosis to the work activity in which you were engaged. 

For example, I recently won a case for a woman who worked at a used clothing recycling warehouse whose job was to sort used clothing.  She performed this work for over 7 years and eventually developed pain in her dominant shoulder.  Her doctor told her that doing her work activities over that period of time had contributed to the shoulder injury (note that it doesn't have to have 100% caused the injury, as long as it is a contributing factor) and that she needed surgery.  Other common examples are grocery store stockers who do a lot of overhead lifting on a repetitive basis and develop rotator cuff tears. 

One misconception is that carpal tunnell syndrome is always caused by repetitive activity such as typing or using a mouse.  Most hand surgeons will now say that CTS is more commonly caused by non-industrial factors such as age, weight, and genetics, as opposed to anything related to repetitive trauma.  The main exceptions are jobs that require prolonged use of vibrating tools, such as a jackhammer or power tools, which CAN contribute to carpal tunnell syndrome. 

If you have a repetitive stress injury that you think might be related to work, call our office at (602) 532-0700 in Phoenix, or (520) 647-9000 in Tucson, or visit our website at Snow, Carpio, and Weekley for more information. 

Snow, Carpio, and Weekley are Arizona attorneys who have represented thousands of injured workers before the Industrial Commission of Arizona. 

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