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Wrist injuries may not seem like a big deal at first, but you should know that they can potentially be covered by workers' comp.
According to a 2013 FindLaw.com survey, 20 percent of those injured on the job suffered repetitive motion type injuries -- including wrist injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome. Workers may just accept the pain associated with these injuries as acceptable parts of their jobs, but worker's compensation is typically available.
Consider these points when thinking about claiming workers' comp for your wrist injury:
Wrist Injuries Are Common but Serious
Most wrist injuries fall into a category called repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) or repetitive motion injuries (RMIs), and they are fairly common. Wrist damage may take the form of carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis (also spelled tendonitis), or bursitis; the symptoms vary from slight aches and pains to debilitating pain, numbness, and loss of movement. Many of these injuries are aggravated by work activity, making it imperative to not ignore them.
Workers' Comp Typically Covers RSIs/RMIs
Workers suffering from wrist injuries may believe that they are not entitled to workers' comp because their condition may have existed before starting work. However, most RSI and RMI problems (which cover many common wrist injuries) are covered by workers' comp if the condition is caused or even aggravated by working conditions.
For many employees who are engaged in daily typing or other repetitive motion that involves their wrists, these injuries can easily be aggravated and or triggered by normal working conditions. In either case, when a causal connection can be made between a wrist injury and the work environment, there's a good chance it can be covered by workers' comp.
Can Workers' Comp Pay for Wrist Surgery?
Worker's compensation is designed to help an injured worker mitigate the harm suffered by lost wages and medical bills associated with the qualifying injury. If your wrist injury is severe enough that it requires surgery, workers' comp may cover part of it. You may also continue to receive workers' comp for necessary medical expenses (like physical therapy or pain medication) when you return to work.
It's possible that your employer and/or the company's insurer will object to paying for medical care related to your wrist injury. If that happens, you may want to speak with an experienced workers' comp attorney to make sure you get the compensation that you deserve.