If you've been in a car accident and are now experiencing symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, you may be wondering if the two could be connected. As a personal injury attorney, I'm often asked this question by clients who develop carpal tunnel after an auto collision. The answer to the question “Can a car accident cause carpal tunnel syndrome?” is simple. Yes, it can.
Carpal tunnel syndrome, sometimes referred to as CTS, occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the hand, becomes compressed at the wrist. This compression causes tingling, numbness, weakness, and pain in the hand and fingers. Carpal tunnel has a number of possible causes, including repetitive hand motions, pregnancy, and wrist injuries. Although it is typically considered a repetitive stress injury, research has shown that car accidents can also lead to trauma induced carpal tunnel syndrome.
During a collision, the rapid back-and-forth movement of the hands on the steering wheel can overextend or bend the wrist at an odd angle. This can sprain the wrist and cause inflammation and swelling of the tendons and nerves. If the median nerve becomes inflamed, the swollen tissue can put pressure on the nerve and trigger carpal tunnel symptoms. Fractures of the wrist bones from a car accident can also compress the carpal tunnel area and damage the median nerve.
Some studies have found that carpal tunnel syndrome occurs more frequently after motor vehicle crashes, especially in drivers who grasp the steering wheel tightly bracing for impact. The force applied to the wrist during a collision can damage the carpal ligaments that support and align the wrist bones. This allows the bones to shift and pinch the nerve.
It's important to remember that carpal tunnel syndrome can take time to develop after an auto accident. Immediately following a crash, you may only experience minor wrist pain or numbness. But over days or weeks, inflammation can progress and put increasing pressure on the median nerve, leading to carpal tunnel syndrome. That's why it's critical to seek medical attention even for seemingly minor wrist injuries after an accident. Early diagnosis and treatment can help avoid permanent nerve damage.
If you were in good health before your accident, with no prior carpal tunnel symptoms, and start to experience tingling, numbness, or pain in your wrists or hands afterward, it could very likely indicate car accident-related carpal tunnel syndrome. Make sure to get examined by a doctor so that appropriate treatment can begin right away. Doctors may use a certain tests, such as a thumb weakness test, to help determine if carpal tunnel syndrome exists. The sooner carpal tunnel is addressed, the better the outcome typically is.
An auto accident can clearly be the initial cause of carpal tunnel syndrome. As your personal injury attorney, proving that connection would be a key part of building your injury claim following the car crash. Our firm has extensive experience handling carpal tunnel cases stemming from auto collisions. We'll help demonstrate how the accident led to your median nerve compression and get you the maximum compensation for your injuries. Don't wait to take action - contact us for a free consultation if you believe you're suffering from carpal tunnel caused by a car accident. The sooner we can start on your case, the more effectively we can advocate for you.
Dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome following a car accident injury can significantly affect your daily life and routines. Depending on the severity, you may need to make permanent changes to accommodate the condition. Here's an in-depth look at some of the ways carpal tunnel can alter your life after a crash:
Many jobs require repetitive hand motions that can become extremely painful or challenging with carpal tunnel syndrome. Typing, lifting, gripping tools, writing, and handling small objects may be difficult or impossible depending on your symptoms. You may need to request accommodations at work or even change careers that aggravate your carpal tunnel less. These work disruptions cause lost income for many carpal tunnel sufferers.
Loss of Strength and Dexterity
Carpal tunnel impairs your ability to grip objects, open jars, button clothes, and perform other everyday hand tasks. The loss of hand strength and dexterity can feel debilitating and lead to dependence on others. Simple actions like brushing your teeth or tying shoes become frustrating struggles. This loss of function often leads to depression and reduced quality of life.
The tingling and numbness symptoms of carpal tunnel typically worsen at night for many patients. This nighttime aggravation leads to constant sleep disruptions that leave you exhausted. The lack of quality rest can impair your cognitive abilities during the day. Sleep aids provide little relief.
Driving Difficulties Steering a car requires firm grasping and hand-eye coordination. Carpal tunnel syndrome can make driving uncomfortable or hazardous. You may not be able to react quickly enough to turn the wheel or apply brakes if needed. Many patients have to stop driving altogether due to impaired hand function.
Ongoing Medical Care
From splints and therapy to medications and possible surgery, carpal tunnel requires extensive treatment that disrupts your regular schedule. Doctor visits, physical therapy appointments, and surgery all require significant time commitments over months or years following the initial accident. Carpal tunnel can clearly take a major toll on quality of life through loss of work, sleep, strength, and independence. That's why it's critical to have a dedicated personal injury attorney who will fight to recover full compensation for your life-altering carpal tunnel injuries. Don't hesitate to reach out to our firm for a free case review.
Fighting Back When Insurance Companies Deny Car Crash Carpal Tunnel
If you develop carpal tunnel syndrome after a car accident, insurance companies will often push back on the cause being the crash. As auto injury attorneys, we regularly see legitimately injured plaintiffs accused of "preexisting conditions" and other tactics to avoid paying out damages. Here's why and how insurers commonly deny accident-caused carpal tunnel.
Why They Deny Causation
Insurers are financially motivated to minimize what they pay in claims. Some common reasons an insurance adjuster may allege your carpal tunnel isn't from the car accident include:
- Prior wrist issues show an existing condition versus new injury. The adjuster will point to any past medical record mentioning wrist pain or numbness as evidence.
- Delayed onset of symptoms weeks or months after the crash suggests another intervening cause. Adjusters argue the car accident couldn’t be responsible if you didn’t report carpal tunnel symptoms immediately.
- Your age makes you prone to carpal tunnel regardless of the accident. Middle aged women are most at risk, leading insurers to call it a chronic condition unrelated to the collision.
- Your job involves repetitive motions that could cause carpal tunnel even without an accident. Adjusters will claim your usual workload led to the condition over time.
How They Try to Deny Causation
Insurance companies have numerous tactics to avoid accepting liability for carpal tunnel:
- Claim you failed to seek treatment immediately after the accident, suggesting later development unrelated to the crash.
- Allege there was minimal vehicle damage and injuries reported at the scene, making later carpal tunnel unlikely.
- Require an independent medical exam with a doctor inclined to deny causation from the accident.
- Dispute the carpal tunnel diagnosis itself as questionable or preexisting.
- Argue your age and possibly gender make carpal tunnel a chronic condition versus acute injury.
- Point to past instances of minor wrist pain noted in old medical records.
- Require you document lost income specifically due to the carpal tunnel versus other injuries.
Don't let insurance companies write off your car accident-induced carpal tunnel syndrome. With an experienced personal injury attorney on your side, we can defeat insurer tactics with evidence like:
- Medical records and testimony from your doctors relating the carpal tunnel directly to the accident forces and injuries.
- Crash analysis showing the hand/wrist mechanics involved that lead to median nerve compression.
- Swift seeking of medical care from the date of the accident onwards.
- Documentation of wage loss connected to the carpal tunnel diagnosis and symptoms.
- Evidence disproving preexisting conditions.
Successful legal action can force insurers to accept liability and pay you fair damages for your car crash-induced carpal tunnel syndrome. Our firm has the resources and courtroom experience to fight for maximum compensation when insurance companies try to deny what you’re rightfully owed. Don’t go it alone against them.
The Road to Justice
If you develop carpal tunnel syndrome following a car accident, the battle for fair compensation from insurance companies can be long and challenging. But understanding why insurers deny accident causation, how they execute tactics to avoid payouts, and fighting back with an experienced attorney levels the playing field.
Insurers facing large claims are incentivized to minimize costs by calling accident victims with carpal tunnel a preexisting or unrelated condition. By alleging delayed treatment, minor crash impacts, your gender and age, pre-accident medical history, and other tactics, adjusters try to disprove the accident caused your carpal tunnel. Don’t let them get away with it.
With a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer, you can conquer these roadblocks using evidence like solid medical opinions, prompt treatment records, crash analysis, vocational and economic reports, and testimony disproving preexisting conditions. An attorney experienced fighting insurers has the skills and resources to build an ironclad injury claim. They can negotiate persistently or take legal action if needed to recover fair damages.
Suffering long-term health effects and financial hardship from carpal tunnel syndrome is difficult enough without insurers trying to deny coverage. Protect your rights and obtain maximum compensation to move forward after an auto accident. Research lawyers thoroughly and schedule free consultations to find the best fit. An attorney dedicated to fighting for carpal tunnel patients can help you regain control. With their counsel, justice and recovery awaits.
Palermo Law Group Is Here For You
Carpal tunnel syndrome resulting from a car accident can have lasting impacts on an individual's life, affecting their ability to work and engage in everyday activities. At our law firm, we understand the challenges that victims of carpal tunnel syndrome face after motor vehicle accidents. Our experienced car accident lawyers specialize in handling injury cases, and we are committed to helping those who have suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome due to the negligence of others. If you or a loved one is dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome after a car accident, contact us today for a free case evaluation. Our dedicated team will work tirelessly to ensure you receive the compensation and justice you deserve.