Bilateral Carpal Tunnel Results in Workers' Compensation Total Disability


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

“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.” 

By Jon L. Gelman


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