Many people have heard of carpal tunnel syndrome but not so many people know what it actually is. It occurs when a nerve in the wrist is compressed and that causes numbness, pain, and tingling. It can actually create a lot of discomfort and make work seem hard or impossible. Here are some cases where it was the subject of the controversy. For more information on Illinois workers compensation cases involving carpal tunnel, look here.
2015; Alabama; $40,000 Settlement:
The employee in this case worked at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. After visiting the doctor, he learned that he had carpal tunnel syndrome in both of his hands. He filed a workers’ compensation claim with Goodyear. It alleged that this condition was created by the work and environment of his employment. The lawyers for Goodyear complained that his carpal tunnel was not the result of any work there but they did reach a settlement acceptable to the claimant for $20,000.
2014; Illinois; $1,700,000 Jury Award:
The plaintiff in this case was a veteran of a railroad company for over ten years. His suit, brought under the Federal Employees Liability Act, suggested that the nature of his work degraded and reduced his health. He presented testimony from doctors that illustrated he had carpal tunnel syndrome, herniated discs, and canal stenosis in his spine. For all of these items, he sought damages. The defendant returned these allegations with some of his own: the plaintiff himself was negligent, he failed to mitigate his own damages, and he did not bring the suit within the applicable statute of limitations. The plaintiff passed all of the procedural hurdles that his opponent threw at him but they could not substantively agree on the extent of his injuries so they went to trial. The jury found that the workplace did contribute to his injuries including carpal tunnel syndrome and awarded him $1,700,000 for the following damages:
- Lost Wages:
- Pain and Suffering:
- Emotional Distress:
2011; Alabama; $62,743 Settlement:
Here, a middle-aged woman complained to be suffering from arm and hand numbness and pain. Doctors later diagnosed her with carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands. She attributed the birth of this condition to her employment and in her subsequent workers’ compensation claim she stated that she was permanently disabled because of it. Lawyers for the employer denied that her employment caused these injuries. However, the woman was still able to extract $62,743 in benefit from the company for her carpal tunnel syndrome.
2012; Iowa; $940,905 Jury Award:
This dispute started in the early 1990s. Russell Phillips was on the maintenance staff at the Chicago, Central & Pacific Railroad Company. Pursuant to his employment, he was required to complete such tasks as evening ground, installing rails, welding machinery, and moving heavy objects the rail yards. Eventually, he realized that he had developed health issues from this work including carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, and other serious medical conditions. He sued the railroad company under the Federal Employers' Liability Act. His suit alleged that the company should have made him aware of the risks involved with working there and taken better precautions to ensure the working environment was safer. The lawsuit sought damages for past and future medical bills, lost wages, disability, pain and suffering, and loss of normal life. The defendant shot back that the plaintiff was contributorily negligent and, because of that, it was blameless. While the jury found that both parties were in fact negligent, they still returned a rather high award for the plaintiff of $940,905.
2012; Illinois; $1,100,047 Jury Award:
A machinist was going about his day at work when he suddenly fell off of the elevator he was riding. The incident seriously hurt him. He sustained a broken wrist, traumatic arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and extensive nerve damage. He sued his employer pursuant to the Federal Employees Liability Act for failing to provide a safe work environment. In particular, the suit alleged that they should have placed handrails and other protections on the elevator in question. The defendant denied that they did anything wrong and stated that, contrary to the plaintiff’s cries, his injuries were only temporary. Failing to find common ground, this dispute proceeded to trial where the jury found for the plaintiff in the following fashion:
- Lost Wages:
- Pain and Suffering:
2010; Texas; $420,000 Jury Award:
This story unfolded on a large dredge ship off the cost of Texas. The victim was working on a machine in a confined space when he slipped and fell trying to remove a nut from a socket. He had two men helping him but he thought that was not enough. He sued his employer under the Jones Act for failing to provide him with proper assistance and a safe working environment. Due to their actions, he alleged that he suffered carpal tunnel syndrome and other injuries. His employer countered that he was contributorily negligent and that his damages were not as much as he claimed. The jury disagreed with the defense, they awarded the plaintiff $420,000 for his injuries.
2008; Arkansas; $935,000 Jury Award:
The setting of this dispute was a famous grocery store: Kroger. An employee was cleaning up one of their stores-mopping at the end of the day-when a box fell off the shelves and hit him in the head. The force of this object sent him straight to the ground. He braced his fall with his wrists. He sustained a concussion, torn rotator cuff, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Not long after this incident, he filed a claim for compensation with his employer and, without denying they were responsible, still criticized the amount of damages that he sought. So the issue was tried and a jury arrived at $935,000 as the appropriate amount.
Have Questions About a Carpal Tunnel Case?
Carpal tunnel cases are regularly disputed from both a causation and damages perspective. Our law firm has experience representing individuals in these cases and knows how to substantiate the extent of these injuries in court or before the Workers Compensation Commission. If you or a family member has a carpal tunnel injury, we invite you to contact our office for a free review of your case an legal options for recovery.