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Can a Car Accident Cause Carpal Tunnel?

Posted by Harlene Labrum | Oct 31, 2022


Can a Car Accident Cause Carpal Tunnel?

Most people think of carpal tunnel syndrome as a repetitive stress injury commonly associated with jobs that involve repetitive motions, such as office or factory work. While this is a cause of carpal tunnel, it is not the only one. A car accident can result in the development of carpal tunnel syndrome as proven not only by real cases but by studies as well. A study published in the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine proved the presence of carpal tunnel in patients with symptoms after a car accident by the relief of their symptoms following carpal tunnel surgery. Another study published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association found that 46 percent of patients who experienced carpal tunnel symptoms after a car accident required surgery.

If you are suffering from carpal tunnel symptoms and are asking yourself “can a car accident cause carpal tunnel,” consider speaking with the skilled personal injury lawyers at Labrum Law by calling (615) 338-9500 or filling in our online form. We offer a free consultation to answer your questions and help you understand all of your legal rights.

What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

The carpal tunnel runs from the forearm to the palm of a hand and contains the median nerve. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the tendons or tissues of the carpal tunnel area are damaged or when pressure is placed on the area, causing the median nerve to become compressed.

What Are Common Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms?

Symptoms of carpal tunnel typically affect the hand, wrist, and forearm and can range from mild to so severe that they are debilitating. They may include:

  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Weakness in the hands
  • Poor grip

A victim may experience symptoms of carpal tunnel immediately after a car accident but, in many cases, symptoms can take days, weeks, or even months to present themselves.

What Are the Long-Term Effects and Treatment Options for Carpal Tunnel?

Carpal tunnel can negatively affect a person's ability to independently complete day-to-day activities. Numbness and weakness in the hands and the inability to grip objects can make it difficult for a victim to perform simple tasks such as brushing their teeth or preparing a meal. A person who uses their hands to perform their job may find themself unable to work. Many patients also experience a worsening of their symptoms at night, which can result in sleeplessness.

What Are the Treatment Options for Carpal Tunnel?

If left untreated, the symptoms of carpal tunnel will likely become more severe over time. Basic treatment options include:

  • Applying cold packs
  • Using a wrist splint
  • Avoiding any activities that aggravate symptoms
  • Taking pain medications

Many victims find that basic treatment options do not effectively relieve symptoms and, in those cases, surgery is required.

How a Car Accident Can Cause Carpal Tunnel

Car accident victims who experience carpal tunnel symptoms often ask the question, “can a car accident cause carpal tunnel?” The answer to this question is absolutely, yes. There are two main ways in which a car accident can cause carpal tunnel:

1.    Blunt Trauma

At the time of an accident, a victim may grip the steering wheel very hard or may put their hands out to brace themselves before impact. This strain can cause damage to the tendons and tissues in the carpal tunnel area, resulting in inflammation which causes compression to the median nerve.

2.    Scar Tissue

If a victim breaks or sprains their wrist in a car accident, the ligaments and tendons surrounding the median nerve are damaged. As these injuries heal, scar tissue forms. This scar tissue can also cause compression to the median nerve.

Evidence Used to Prove Carpal Tunnel Caused by a Car Accident

Since carpal tunnel is most commonly caused by repetitive motions performed as part of a job, and symptoms often take several weeks or even months to present themselves after a car accident, insurance companies are quick to deny these types of claims. Substantial and relevant evidence must therefore be presented to prove a case of carpal tunnel caused by a car accident. Evidence may include:

1.    Medical Records

A doctor's observations and evaluations, as well as the results of diagnostic scans, are key to proving a case of carpal tunnel. Results of specific tests used to test for the condition can also be presented. These include pressure provocation tests, hand and thumb weakness tests, and tourniquet tests. Past medical records can also be used to prove that the symptoms were not present prior to the accident.

2.    Expert Testimony

Doctors who specialize in treating carpal tunnel can provide statements explaining their medical evaluations and reasons for believing that a victim's condition resulted from a car accident. This type of evidence can be highly valuable in proving a case.

3.    Personal Notes

A victim's personal notes documenting the details of their symptoms can also be used as evidence. These notes should include the types and severity of their symptoms, the effects of these symptoms on their daily activities, any home or professional treatments administered, and the dates and times for all of the above.

4.    Evidence From the Accident

Evidence from the accident can be used to show the type of collision that occurred, its severity, and how it may have caused injury to a victim's wrists. This evidence may include police reports, photographs, videos, and witness statements.

If you are experiencing carpal tunnel symptoms in the days, weeks, or months after a car accident, consider speaking with an experienced car accident lawyer. The attorneys at Labrum Law may be able to assist you in gathering evidence to build a strong case.

Compensation Available for Carpal Tunnel Caused by a Car Accident

Once it has been proven that a car accident caused carpal tunnel syndrome, a victim may be eligible for the following types of compensation:

  • Medical expenses for past and future treatment related to the condition
  • Lost income and income potential caused by a victim being unable to perform their job
  • Pain and suffering caused by the injury and its long-term effects

How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

Claims for carpal tunnel injuries caused by a car accident face tough scrutiny by insurance companies, and it is not uncommon for them to be denied. A skilled car accident lawyer may be able to assist you in gathering the necessary evidence to put together a strong case and successfully pursue the compensation you deserve. If you are dealing with the pain and suffering caused by carpal tunnel symptoms and are asking yourself “can a car accident cause carpal tunnel?”, contact the experienced attorneys at Labrum Law at (615) 338-9500 for a free consultation to discuss your case.

About the Author

Harlene Labrum

Harlene is focused and passionate about helping those injured in car wrecks.  She earned her J.D. at Nashville School of Law and her Bachelor's degree at State University of New York at Albany, awarded with the highest GPA and high honors.  Harlene began her career in law as a personal injury par...

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