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Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a progressively painful hand and arm condition caused by a pinched nerve in the wrist. The pressure may come from swelling or anything that makes the carpal tunnel smaller.  The carpal tunnel is a passage between the arm and hand through which the median nerve is allowed to pass freely in a normal healthy wrist.   CTS can be caused by congenital factors (e.g., hypothyroidism, rheumetorid arthritis, and diabetes, pregnancy, obesity) or by making the same hand movements over and over, especially if the wrist is bent down (your hands lower than your wrists).  Repetitive hand movements are often involved in assembly and manufacturing jobs as well as secretarial positions and musicians.  When CTS is caused by repetitive workplace use it may be referred to as an occupational disease.  The dominant hand is most commonly becomes affected first and produces the most severe pain. Carpal tunnel syndrome usually occurs only in adults. In addition, women are three times more likely than men to develop carpal tunnel syndrome, perhaps because the carpal tunnel itself may be smaller in women than in men.

Symptoms usually start gradually, with frequent burning, tingling, or itching numbness in the palm of the hand and the fingers, especially the thumb and the index and middle fingers. The symptoms often first appear in one or both hands at nighttime, since many people sleep with flexed wrists. A person with carpal tunnel syndrome may wake up feeling the need to "shake out" the hand or wrist. As symptoms progressively worsen, people might feel tingling during the day, as well. Decreased grip strength may make it difficult to form a fist, grasp small objects, or perform other manual tasks. In chronic and/or untreated cases, the muscles at the base of the thumb may waste away. Some people may become unable to tell between hot and cold by touch.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is diagnosed by the history of symptoms, physical exam, x-ray, electromyogram or a nerve conduction study. Some people with mild symptoms can ease their discomfort by taking frequent breaks to rest their hands and by applying cold packs to reduce occasional swelling. If these techniques fail to offer relief within a few weeks, additional treatment options include wrist splinting, medications and surgery. Fortunately, for the majority of people who develop carpal tunnel syndrome, proper treatment usually can relieve the pain and numbness and restore normal use of their wrists and hands.  Sometimes surgery is necessary to open the carpal tunnel to allow for the movement of the nerve.

If you develop carpal tunnel syndrome related to repetitive use in the work place, an experienced workers' compensation attorney may be necessary.  Of course, it is important to report the repetitive use in the work place to your physician as early as possible when symptoms start to develop.   Learn more here.

Are you getting sick of work — literally? Your job site may be less than ideal, but it shouldn’t make you physically ill. Unfortunately, the reality is that your workplace may subject you to regular contact with hazardous conditions that can cause serious chronic illnesses. Employment-related medical problems are called occupational diseases and are often covered by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation System.

You may have an occupational disease if your medical issues resulted from exposure in your workplace to:

Of course, you may have been exposed to any number of hazardous conditions and still not be eligible for benefits. To qualify, be prepared to show that:

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation lists a schedule of compensable occupational diseases that includes:

In addition to the many other diseases on this list, you may also receive benefits for a number of other nonscheduled diseases.

If you think there are a lot of hoops to jump through to recover your rightful compensation for an occupational illness, you are correct. You may be unaware you are being exposed to a hazard until the damage is done. In many cases, the disease may be progressive, i.e., not exhibiting symptoms until long after the exposure has ended.

Speaking to an Ohio workers’ compensation law firm is a good start to putting an end to your exposure and getting compensation for your disease.

If  you worked in the production and testing of nuclear weapons during the Cold War, you may be aware of or filed claims under The Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000 (EEOICPA). This legislation provides a compensation program for civilians who contracted illnesses related to their work in nuclear weapons under the Department of Energy and its predecessor programs.

Here are FAQs, and associated answers, posed by victims filing compensation claims under EEOICPA:

What evidence is required for my claim to be approved?

Your claim must contain evidence of covered employment, a diagnosed medical condition and causation. Causation means a substantiated relationship between the employment, exposure and the diagnosed condition.

I just filed a claim, what happens next?        

The resource center may contact you to complete an Occupational History Questionnaire. Once this is done, the resource center forwards the information to an assigned claims examiner who will handle your case. You may be asked for additional documentation as the claim is being reviewed. You have 30 days to respond to a request for additional information.

What benefits will I receive if my claim is accepted?

There are two parts of EEOICPA under which claims can be approved and paid. Part B provides compensation for workers with radiation induced cancers, beryllium or silicosis. Part E compensates workers for all occupationally induced illnesses caused by any toxic substance. The benefits are as follows:

Part B — Lump sum payment of $150,000, plus medical benefits for the covered illness
Part E — Compensation for lost wages and impairment up to $250,000, plus medical benefits for the covered illness

Some claimants paid under Part B will also be paid under Part E.

If you worked with nuclear weapons in a Department of Energy program and believe you have an illness related to your exposure, contact Nager, Romaine & Schneiberg Co., L.P.A.  for a consultation. We can determine if you may qualify for EEOICPA benefits and help you with the filing process.

The legal definition of injury is complicated. The Ohio Revised Code defines what injuries are covered under Workers’ compensation. The statutory definition of injury includes any injury, whether caused by external accidental means or accidental in character and result, received in the course of and arising out of, the injured employee’s employment. It is a broad definition and to be construed in a light more favorable to injured workers. These definitional requirements exist due to three concerns. 1) The need to distinguish between injury and disease 2) To eliminate events that just happen-coincidence-for an injury to be compensable it must be caused by the work, 3) And the need for a direct relationship between employment and the injury.

Injuries can consist of an event or a gradually developing injury...a village injury. Medical is needed to establish that an injury occurred.

Injuries must occur to employees. However wages do not have to be received to be an employee.

There are exceptions to a finding of injury. These include events that just happen — idiopathic injuries, and recreational programs. Also a determination will be made on the arising out of employment. When making this determination the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation will look at the hazards of employment, whether the employee was on a personal mission, whether the employee was a fixed situs employee, and whether the event occurred during horseplay.

Psychiatric conditions without physical injuries are NOT covered under workers’ compensation.

If you think you have sustained an injury and need an Ohio comp lawyer,  please call the attorneys at NRS to discuss the facts of the injury. Workers’ compensation is very fact specific so it is important to review all the facts when deciding if an injury occurred.

In the world of Workers' Compensation an injury is an incident or event that causes harm to an individual in the scope of someone's work activities. For instance, someone at work lifts a box and sustains an injury to his back. There is an incident, the lifting of the box, and there is an injury or harm to the person's back. There can also be an injury that occurs over time. For example, if someone's job is to lift many boxes every day and, over a period of days, this person develops back pain, this can be considered an injury. It's important to know that to have an allowable injury in a Workers' Compensation claim there must be a diagnosis from a physician.

A claim cannot be allowed for pain. The Industrial Commission considers pain a symptom of an injury but not an allowable injury. It is also important to realize that a Workers' Compensation claim cannot be allowed for a degenerative process. In general, degenerative substantial aggravation of a degenerative condition can be allowed in a claim if it can be shown that an injury caused a substantial aggravation of an underlying degenerative process. There are also instances where post traumatic arthritis can be allowed in a claim if it can be shown that the trauma or the injury caused the arthritis to set in. It is very important to have clear medical evidence from the doctor that documents the injury.

An occupational disease usually is caused by some harmful exposure. This exposure can be in many forms. For instance, a person that is exposed to certain chemicals at his place of employment may develop a chemical bronchitis. A firefighter who is exposed to smoke may develop a lung disease or heart disease. A person who performs repetitive activities, such as working constantly on a computer keyboard, and is exposed to excessive use of his hands may develop the occupational disease of carpal tunnel syndrome. Again, as in injury claims there needs to a definitive diagnosis by a physician and a clear causal relation statement that links the exposure to the diagnosis

If an injury occurs on the job or if there is a harmful exposure the most important things to do are report it to the employer right away, seek immediate medical treatment. Are you looking for an Ohio comp lawyer who will work for you? Contact the law firm of Nager, Romaine, & Schneiberg Co.,L.P.A.

The dog days of summer are over but the high temperatures can continue through September and October. With this in mind workers should know that heat and heat related illness can be compensable through the Bureau of Workers Compensation.

These high temperature days can best be overcome with a little planning.  First dress accordingly.  Light weight, and loose fitting clothes are good choices for the day.  For people working outdoors a hat or sun visor can help too.  Pack and drink water often.  Frequent water breaks are important to keep the body functioning properly.  At least one bottle of Gatorade should be on hand in case of severe heat symptoms.  Breaks should be taken in the shade or if available in air conditioned environments.

If you do start to feel dizzy, light headed or just sick, get to a safe spot (in the shade or in an air conditioned place) and sit down.  Start sipping Gatorade.  If water is available, wet a scarf or paper towel and place on the forehead/back of the neck to cool the body.  If you do not start feeling better or if you lose consciousness seek medical attention.

If you believe you have a heat related illness, please contact the Ohio workers comp attorneys at NRS by filling out our contact form or call (855)GOT-HURT to discuss the facts.

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