In the days and weeks after a car accident, you may begin suffering pain and problems in your hands and wrists. Several different injuries can cause these symptoms. So, it is very important to see a doctor who can evaluate you.
Many people are surprised to learn that a car accident can cause carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). Why? People often think of carpal tunnel syndrome as a problem only caused by repetitive use of the hands. In many cases, it is. But, a serious accident can also cause the condition.
What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
For a little background on carpal tunnel syndrome, I’ll cite the definition used by the Mayo Clinic on its website:
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on the median nerve. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway surrounded by bones and ligaments on the palm side of your hand. When the median nerve is compressed, the symptoms can include numbness, tingling and weakness in the hand and arm.
Carpal Tunnel Anatomy (See Endnote 1 For Attribution)
Patients suffer carpal tunnel syndrome when the median nerve traveling from the hand through the carpal tunnel in the wrist is compressed. The nerve travels through a small area surrounded by tissue and bones that could be compressed from trauma.
What Are Common Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Tingling / Numbness. Are you experiencing tingling or numbness in your hand or fingers? Sometimes, the sensation also occurs up your arm.
For some people, the sensation can become a constant. For many, the symptoms occur when using the hand for gripping or holding objects.
Weakness. Over time, people with carpal tunnel syndrome may begin suffering weakness in their hands. Many of our past clients with CTS have reported dropping objects.
Pain. Some of our past clients have suffered substantial pain in the hands and up into their forearms. Along with the numbness, can seriously impact your ability to function in daily activities.
What Are The Long-Term Impacts Of Untreated Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Can I just do nothing? Will it go away? If your symptoms have become significant, you should consult your doctor. If untreated, some cases of carpal tunnel syndrome can result in permanent nerve or muscle damage.
What Factors Put Patients More At Risk For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Over the years, I’ve consulted and deposed numerous doctors for clients with carpal tunnel syndrome following a car accident. In most cases, the insurance company lawyers try to blame the injury on something other than the accident.
What are the risk factors for carpal tunnel syndrome? I’ve heard many answers from doctors on this issue. These often include:
Diabetes. Some chronic illnesses increase the risk of nerve damage. While there are several illnesses that may increase the risk, diabetes is the most well-known. Some diabetic patients suffer neuropathies that impact their ability to function.
Anatomic Features. In past depositions, I’ve heard doctors say that some people just naturally have a smaller space within the carpal tunnel. In other cases, conditions such as arthritis or prior wrist fractures can change the space within the carpal tunnel. This leaves less room for the median nerve and increases the likelihood something will put pressure on it.
Obesity. I’ve heard many physicians say that obesity is a risk factor for developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Inflammatory Conditions. Conditions like arthritis can impact the tissue, cause it to become inflamed and put pressure on the median nerve.
Medications. With any medication, you should review the potential side effects.
I’ve listed a few of the well-known risk factors. However, it’s important to remember that nobody has perfect health. You can still recover damages for the additional harm caused by another person’s negligence.
Carpal Tunnel Is Not Just A Repetitive Disorder. It Can Be Caused By Trauma Like A Car Accident!
This is the biggest issue I’ve heard. Many people believe carpal tunnel syndrome is just some condition you get from a repetitive activity.
When many people think of carpal tunnel syndrome, they think of professions where people type constantly. Others think of assembly line work involving the constant use of the hands.
But, carpal tunnel is not just a repetitive problem. It can be caused by a single event – like a serious car accident. Over the years, I’ve had numerous clients who began suffering these problems after a car wreck. Most often, they were gripping the steering wheel when a sudden and traumatic impact occurred.
A traumatic accident can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. A traumatic accident can also aggravate a pre-existing condition to make it worse. If you are suffering worsening problems after a significant trauma, get the advice you need.
Can I Recover Damages If I Suffer Carpal Tunnel Syndrome In A Car Crash?
Yes, you can. But, your claim may not be a simple one. What do I mean? Look around and you will see lawyers smiling from televisions and billboards. They claim — Call us! Get a check! These lawyers take your records, ship them to the insurance adjuster and seek a quick settlement. Many of these billboard lawyers either quit or take a low settlement when they face a case that takes work to prepare.
Many adjusters are skeptical of carpal tunnel syndrome. Like everyone else, they may think it is just a repetitive problem. Even if the insurance company is willing to consider the injury, you need the proper examinations and tests. You need to see the right doctors. And, your lawyer needs to possess the dedication and skill to develop that medical evidence.
When we represent a client suffering carpal tunnel syndrome, we develop the medical evidence. We investigate the claims and take testimony from the treating doctors. We work hard to establish that the accident caused the problem. Then, we work hard to recover all available damages.
Do your homework. Look for an attorney who is experienced at handling complicated medical evidence. Look for an attorney who can (and has) worked with specialists to develop the evidence needed for serious claims.
My Hands Are Tingling And Numb. Can I Ignore The Problem?
Do not ignore serious medical problems. Carpal tunnel syndrome is not a condition that simply goes away. It’s not a condition you should just ignore. It may worsen over time, resulting in permanent nerve damage. The problems can become so severe, you may not be able to perform your job.
I’ve deposed numerous doctors on the issue, including several specialists in Huntsville. If you’ve suffered a serious car wreck, don’t ignore these symptoms. Get the evaluation and treatment you need. Many treatment options are available.
From its office in Huntsville, the Blackwell Law Firm represents people across Alabama following a serious injury. We are experienced lawyers who have tried car accident injury claims statewide.