Carpal tunnel syndrome (median nerve neuropathy) is a problem that can develop after a car accident or slip and fall. The mechanism of injury is usually direct injury to the wrist whether it is landing on an outstretched arm to brace a fall or up against the dash-board in a crash. The symptoms can range from pain in the wrist to loss of function in the hand. For some people, the condition can be so debilitating that they are unable to sleep, type, open a door, carry a carton of milk, or button a shirt. Once carpal tunnel syndrome is diagnosed, there are a number of treatment options available to the patient.
As with all medical treatment, it best to start out conservatively and step up to more aggressive treatment if the condition does not resolve.
The first line of treatment can consist of rest, anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS), and physical therapy. If there is some inflammation at the median nerve, this form of treatment may be helpful.
The second line of treatment is a steroid (cortisone) injection in the area of the carpal tunnel. The theory behind this treatment is that the strong anti-inflammatory effects of the steroid will knock out the inflammation around the nerve and the symptoms will resolve.
If there is entrapment of the median nerve and the patient is losing sensory or motor function, the final option will consist of release of the carpal tunnel. This is a surgical procedure. Carpal tunnel surgery of today is not the same as yesterday. Now, the procedure is done in an outpatient facility or surgical facility in the doctors office through a laparoscope. There is no significant scarring and the post-op period is pretty short.
It is difficult to discuss value of a carpal tunnel accident case without knowing the specifics and every case is different depending on the extent of injury, loss of work and outcome of the surgical procedure. In my experience, insurance companies will generally offer somewhere between $25,000 -$50,000 in these cases. However, this settlement range will be adjusted upward or downward depending on the individual factors involved in the specific case including the facts of the accident, the amount of the medical bills, lost wages and the clients response to treatment. For instance, a surgeon who develops carpal tunnel syndrome after an accident and loses her ability to perform surgery will have a much higher settlement value than a lawyer who can dictate their work.
If you have any questions about carpal tunnel syndrome following an accident, give me a call at 352-267-9168 and I would be more than happy to discuss the matter with you.