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Steering Wheel Injuries

Burdine & Brown Oct. 22, 2019

Insurance adjusters continue to deny liability in automobile accident claims when a driver receives orthopedic treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). The evidence is quite clear linking the injuries to the automobile accident.

In a Medical-Legal Flyer Bi-Monthly, Dr. Don Capofferi of the Spine and Injury Center states:

“In automobile accidents, the steering wheel can be considered a “blunt instrument” that can create bodily injury. The one thing in common for virtually every driver is that they are holding onto the steering wheel during an accident, leaving their hands and wrists exposed to injury. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is one of the most common steering wheel injuries. Conservative care is indicated as soon as possible, often with favorable outcomes, yet many victims are left with permanent loss of function, even if treated. In Trauma Series # 5 CTS is examined in detail, explaining that the median nerve is entrapped by the overstretched trans carpal ligament. In “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Motor Vehicle Accident” by Ames E. L (1196), it is concluded that “Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome developed in 96 patients within 2 months after an automobile accident. Forty-four (46%) of these 96 patients underwent carpal tunnel release-surgery” (p.223)”

Again, if you were experiencing CTS pain BEFORE your automobile accident and especially if you were being treated by your family doctor or an orthopedic doctor for CTS, as Ricky Ricardo said: “Lucy, you have a lot of ‘splainin' to do'!”

Having no prior treatment will give you a 50-50 chance of successful “linkage”. Prior treatment will give you a 20% chance only. You will need not only a good lawyer but a doctor who will be willing to look closely at all the evidence and be able to withstand the scrutiny of a deposition in this difficult issue.