When Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Becomes A Disability Will Your Disability Insurance Company Pay?
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a disorder that causes pain and weakness in the hand and wrist. If CTS prohibits you from doing your job, and you have own-occupation disability insurance, you may be entitled to receive disability benefits.
Los Angeles Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Disability Claims Attorneys Serving All Of Southern California
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition caused by swollen or inflamed tendons or ligaments in the carpal tunnel area of the wrist. This causes painful compression on the median nerve in the wrist that may require rest, immobilization of the wrist, medications, and/or surgery to treat.
CTS can be caused by repetitive tasks, but many people who develop the condition cannot tie a specific event or task to its cause. Individuals with certain diseases including hypothyroidism (low thyroid), rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes, people who are overweight, and pregnant women have a higher risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. It is also believed that at least some congenital predisposition comes into play because in some individuals the carpal tunnel is smaller than in others.
In general, when detected early, carpal tunnel syndrome responds well to treatment with the majority of patients recovering completely, however, that is not always the case. For some, it can be a debilitating affliction that encroaches on the ability to perform daily life tasks or job requirements making it a disabling condition.
Symptoms Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome can result when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the palm of the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. Symptoms usually start gradually and can worse over time when left untreated. Symptoms can include:
- Pain, weakness, or numbness in the hand and wrist, radiating up the arm;
- Swelling and inflammation of the affected wrist, hand, and/or fingers;
- Tingling or burning sensation;
- Decreased grip strength;
- Loss of dexterity;
- Locked joints; and/or
- Difficulty forming a fist, grasping small objects, or in performing other manual tasks.
In advanced or long-term cases, there may also be a wasting away of the muscle under the thumb.
Initial Treatment For CTS
The majority of those afflicted with CTS do show some measurable improvement with rest, wearing a splint on the wrist, and avoiding certain tasks. Treatment may also involve the administration of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (i.e., ibuprofen and oral steroids (prednisone) for pain management, and steroid injections may also be used to alleviate the swelling and pressure on the median nerve. For more severe cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, open carpal tunnel release surgery or endoscopic carpal tunnel release may be recommended.
Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome A Disabling Condition?
In some cases, yes, it can be. Carpal tunnel syndrome is not only painful, it can decrease the ability to grasp and hold onto small objects, or perform other fine motor skills involving fingers and hand dexterity. This can be particularly problematic for professionals who rely on dexterity and fine motor skills to perform their jobs, including doctors, surgeons and dentists, but can also become so severe that mechanics, typists, machine or other industrial workers may no longer be able to safely or adequately perform the same job.
The Type Of Disability Insurance You Have Can Make A Difference In Your Entitlement To Benefits
If you have own-occupation disability insurance, an insurance company cannot deny you benefits on the basis that you could simply do another job. For example, if you are a surgeon and could no longer perform surgery, own-occupation insurance protects you from an insurer saying you could simply take a desk job, or be forced to take up another occupation altogether.
Own-occupation is an expensive type of insurance policy that provides coverage for highly trained individuals who, if disabled, would be unable to perform the majority of the occupational duties that they have been trained to perform. Although, this type of insurance policy is contingent on the individual being employed at the time the disability occurs, there are some exceptions if the policyholder has a modified insurance policy.
A Good Attorney Can Also Make A Difference In Whether Or Not You Receive Benefits You Are Entitled To
Disability insurance carriers routinely initially deny most disability claims, and this is certainly true of cases involving carpal tunnel syndrome. The Social Security Administration does not even list carpal tunnel syndrome in their list of significant impairments despite its ability to clearly prevent some individuals from being able to carry out their daily life and work activities. An insurer may believe that you are no longer able to do a particular job, but they may insist you can still perform another job, and therefore, are not truly disabled.
When an insurance company purposely, or through negligence, wrongfully denies a claim, they may be committing insurance bad faith. Our experienced disability insurance bad faith lawyers can tell you if you are entitled to disability benefits, and in addition to getting you the benefits you are entitled to, if you may also be entitled to receive damages for a wrongfully denied claim.
If you have a disability, and are unable to work, or perform the major aspects of your job, don’t accept an initial denial as the final word — contact our law offices today for a free initial consultation. There is no obligation, and you pay no fee unless we recover for you.
The insurance company knows that many people will simply give up and not appeal the decision or seek the advice of a lawyer. But out lawyers know the tricks and practices insurance companies rely on to deny or underpay on claims. If your insurance company is not honoring the terms of your policy, our lawyers can help.
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If you have been diagnosed with disabling carpal tunnel syndrome and were wrongfully denied disability insurance benefits, don’t give up hope. Call our law offices today for a free initial consultation. If you are disabled, and unable to do your own-occupation because you have carpal tunnel syndrome will we work hard to help you get the benefits you deserve.
Sample Verdicts And Settlements
Attorney: Michael B. Horrow
Case Summary: A dentist suffering from bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome received $850,000 after an insurance company wrongfully denied his claim for disability benefits.
Disability Insurance Claim Case Description
Michael B. Horrow represented a dentist who became totally disabled due to bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome suffered after a traumatic fall and repetitive use. He had purchased private disability insurance for financial protection if he ever became physically unable to practice dentistry. As his symptoms progressed, he became unable to perform dental procedures. After his claim was denied, Mr. Horrow took on the case.