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Bilateral Carpal Tunnel Results in Workers' Compensation Total Disability
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Bilateral Carpal Tunnel Results in Workers' Compensation Total Disability

Workers" Compensation

A New Jersey Court of Appeals upheld an award for total disability workers' compensation benefits.  The injured worker suffered from bilateral carpal tunnel injuries. The 61-year-old punch press operator was deemed unable to work due to the repetitive motion injury.

Odd Lot Doctrine

The trial court, on remand, found that the injured worker was unemployable, taking into consideration the injuries and personal factors under the Odd Lot Doctrine. This law was adopted from the British common law.

Additionally, the trial court, under NJ State law, held that injuries to both hands were to be evaluated regarding his entire bodily function.

The Appellate Division approved the award, which included an additional fee to be assessed against the employer for the injury to his hands. The injured worker is eligible to receive benefits for his entire life. Rambough v. C.V. Hill Refrigeration, 2011 WL 1675195 (N.J.Super. A.D.) Decided May 5, 2011. Not reported in A.2d.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Repetitive Motion Trauma

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) and Repetitive Motion Trauma (RMT) are two common conditions associated with repetitive and prolonged use of the hands and wrist, especially in the workplace. Both of these conditions can cause chronic pain, tingling, and numbness in the hand and wrist, making it difficult for people to perform their duties.

CTS is a condition where the median nerve, which runs from the forearm to the hand, is compressed as it passes through the wrist. This compression can cause numbness, tingling, and pain in the hand and wrist. The symptoms of CTS can be temporary or permanent and are usually made worse by repetitive motions such as typing, writing, or using power tools.

RMT, on the other hand, is a general term used to describe the cumulative damage that can occur from repetitive motions and sustained awkward postures. This can result in various conditions such as CTS, tendinitis, and tenosynovitis, which can cause pain, inflammation, and a limited range of motion in the affected area.

CTS and RMT are commonly found in workplace environments where employees perform repetitive tasks with their hands and wrists, such as in offices, factories, and construction sites. The risk of developing these conditions can be increased by poor ergonomics, including workstations that are not designed to fit the user’s size, repetitive motions that are performed without proper technique, and inadequate breaks.

Workers' Compensation Benefits for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome 

“Disorders due to repeated trauma have significantly increased in number and proportion of total injuries to almost half of all reported occupational illnesses. These injuries are the result of repeated motion, vibration, or pressure. The New Jersey Supreme Court has recognized that the modern workplace is technologically sophisticated and that ergonomics present new situations which have generated an epidemic of repetitive stress injuries. This illness category includes carpal tunnel syndrome, synovitis, tenosynovitis, and bursitis.” Gelman, Jon L, Workers’ Compensation Law, 38 NJPRAC §9.2 (Thomson-Reuters 2022). Matter of Musick, 143 N.J. 206, 670 A.2d 11 (1996). 


The author, Jon L. Gelman, practices law in Wayne, NJ. He is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (Thomson-Reuters). For over five decades, the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900 have represented injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

© 2022 Jon L Gelman. All rights reserved.

Recommended Citation: Gelman, Jon L.,  Bilateral Carpal Tunnel Results in Workers' Compensation Total Disability, (2022),

© 2001-2023 Jon L Gelman. All rights reserved.

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