Can I file a claim for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
I am a federal employee and I have been complaining off and on for two years that my finger tips go numb at any given time. If I massage the tips of each finger (both hands) it finally gets better. I think I may have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Last night I awoke in extreme pain, more in my left hand (I am left handed) than my right, both of which were numb on the tips. I got my right hand back rather quickly, but my left thumb took me 7 minutes of massaging to get rid of the numbness and pain. Today both of my hands hurt so badly I can hardly bend them finger to wrist.
I was at work typing and biting my lip because of the pain. I am soon to be 49 yrs old and I have been at my federal job since 2003. I started out as a police dispatcher and now I am in facilities. I still type quite a bit. I started dispatching in 1995.
Would I put in a workers' comp claim through my present employer? I am hoping one of the doctors I saw will have documentation of my complaints of numbness in my finger tips. I was never treated for it by doctors since the symptoms weren't so bad. I just dealt with it and moved on. Can I file a claim now? Or is it too late? Thanks.
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ANSWER for "Can I file a claim for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?":
Sheri (Fredericksburg, VA):
It is not too late to file a workers' compensation claim. While you have been suffering for two (2) years, you are still experiencing substantial pain, apparently directly related to your work duties as a federal employee.
Once you have filed a claim you will be sent to a government-approved physician who will be referred to as your primary care physician (PCP). He or she will likely request your medical documentation from the doctors you have already seen for your pain, or you may take copies of those records with you when you see the PCP.
Once you have seen the PCP, it is likely he or she will refer you to an orthopedic surgeon who will further evaluate you and your symptoms. Then whatever treatment he or she recommends will be offered to you at no cost and as part of your workers' compensation benefits.
Once you have seen those physicians, they may recommend you not be assigned to work duties which include typing or otherwise using your hands to enter data. As a result, you may be assigned to other less hand-intensive duties. Moreover, if you are not able to work at any capacity while treating or recovering, you will be entitled to about 2/3rds of your lost wages.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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