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Is Carpal Tunnel Covered by Workers’ Comp?

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The emergence of corporate work culture has increasingly exposed us to tasks involving screen time, typing, or carrying out desk tasks that require so much wrist movement. Before we know that we are developing the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, we are already suffering from this disease. The Missouri Department of Labor classifies carpal tunnel syndrome as an occupational disease, and it is covered under workers’ compensation. Understanding the implications of carpal tunnel syndrome is crucial to why it happens and what to do about it on personal and legal levels if you are suffering from this disease. 

Learn how to file workers’ comp for carpal tunnel, and understand the process, eligibility, and average settlement for claims related to this work-related condition with Royce Injury!

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?


According to the definition of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the compression of the median nerve of the wrist that controls arm movement, actions, touch sensitivity and evaluation, and brain signaling that regulates the arm and hand motion. The median nerve lies between the carpal tunnel of the wrist that connects the finger bones and motor muscles of the hand. The carpal tunnel is an occupational disease, and employees apply for carpal tunnel workers’ compensation if they develop CTS at work.

Root Causes of CTS

The major culprit behind CTS is multiple nerve compression due to prolonged repetition of work activities that put a strain on your arm, back, and neck. The CTS does not develop overnight. It is also important to understand that compression of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel is just one indication of underlying compression of nerves at multiple points in the cervical spine. It simply means that if you suffer from CTS, you are also likely suffering from neck and back pain. For this reason, it is crucial to understand the nature of your CTS to get the right treatment. 

Symptoms of CTS

The common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include numbness in the fingers. Numbness can occur in all four fingers except the little finger. Sometimes, numbness is accompanied by an electric shock, especially while performing tasks such as driving, holding objects like mobile phones and similar stuff, etc.

Shaking out the hand and clench-and-squeeze moment can help in relieving the numbness and pain. Patients of carpal tunnel syndrome often feel weakness while lifting objects and may drop them due to sudden pinching sensation in the hand muscles, which are controlled by the median nerve. When assessing how much does workers comp pay for carpal tunnel, the severity of these symptoms and their implications for the employee are crucial elements to analyze.

Is CTS Recognized as a Work-Related Condition?

Is carpal tunnel considered workers comp? The simple answer is, yes. CTS is an occupational disease and a work-related condition. Like other occupational diseases, carpal tunnel syndrome can also develop due to work-related tasks on the job by prolonged wrist activities. It can be lifting stuff, typing, laptop work, etc. CTS takes time to develop, and even light tasks over a prolonged period can result in carpal tunnel syndrome. In some patients, the severity is mild and can be treated by physiotherapy or wrist exercises along with pain and numbness relieving medicine. Some patients might even need surgery to restore the normal functioning of their arms and hands.

How Can You Demonstrate That Carpal Tunnel Is Work-Related? 

To establish that your carpal tunnel syndrome is developed at work, you have to show that the symptoms of the disease started showing after the job. Any pre-job symptoms of the carpal tunnel do not qualify. If you’re thinking should I file a workers comp claim for carpal tunnel, you have first to make sure that your condition has resulted from work-related activities at your job. This is the essential first step, to begin with your CTS compensation claim.

Does Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Qualify as a Disability? 

Yes, under the Americans with Disability Act, carpal tunnel syndrome is a disability in almost all states in the USA. CTS is classified as a disability as it affects the working capacity and workability of the workers. Additionally, CTS, like other occupational diseases, has long and short-term financial and work-performance implications for the employees. Therefore, it entitles them to make a worker’s compensation claim to cover wages, medical treatment, and additional support during the recovery period. 

Short-Term vs. Long-Term Effects of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: What to Expect? 

Short-term implications of a CTS are that you may have to take medicines and physiotherapy to recover from the symptoms. 

Long-term implications include the effect on earning capacity and workability. You will also need a recovery period if your CTS is severe, and you need expenses for surgery and post-surgery recovery period compensation as an employee.

Which Professions Are More Likely to Develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? 

People who are associated with professions in which the use of the wrist and hand is frequent are likely to develop CTS much quicker than people in other professions. CTS is observed in people who are associated with the professions like:

  • Construction work
  • Tailoring
  • Desk job involving the use of a computer 
  • Factory and assembly-line jobs
  • Music
  • Painting
  • Cashier
  • Farmers 
  • Workers operating tools that vibrate 
  • Paralegals
  • Lawyers

Is Carpal Tunnel Covered by Workers Comp?

Yes, carpal tunnel is covered under workers’ compensation as it is an occupational disease and classified as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employers are required to have employee insurance to cover any occupational diseases that may arise under workers’ comp. Therefore, only employees are entitled to receive worker’s compensation. People providing freelance services or independent contractors hired for the job are not covered by CTS.

Carpal tunnel syndrome varies in severity among patients, depending on how they have developed it during their work. If you have sustained CTS on your job, you are entitled to compensation in the form of medical expenses for treatment, paid leaves, and reasonable accommodation for your work by the employer after the recovery period.  

What’s the Average Settlement for Carpal Tunnel Claims? 

After we have established that is carpal tunnel covered under workers compensation, let’s move on to how much you can claim for CTS in your claim. The average compensation for a CTS varies for each state in the USA. However, on average the CTS claims range between $30,000 to $70,000, depending on the duration of the recovery period. For workers who have undergone surgery for CTS, it may take up to 16 weeks before they can start working again. For mild to severe CTS, it is medically recommended to rest your arm and hand as much as possible and always wear arm support to avoid straining the nerve again.

Legal Strategies for Sedentary Work-Related Injury Claims

It is crucial to understand the fundamental elements of a CTS claim if you want to succeed in getting compensation for it. The prerequisite of a CTS worker’s comp is to establish that the condition was developed over time during your working hours. 

It simply means that you got CTS due to your job, and not before it. In carpal tunnel syndrome workers’ compensation how to prove carpal tunnel is work related is the trickiest part. The best strategy is to consult an expert medical practitioner to obtain a detailed examination of your CTS. Give them insights about your working conditions, posture, and other relevant factors that can help them analyze the short-term as well as long-term impact of your condition and its implications on your working ability, earning capacity, and the minimum recovery period. Analyzing these factors is essential to making a winning CTS workers’ comp claim.

How Can Attorneys Assist With Carpal Tunnel Work Injuries?

Workers compensation attorneys are equipped to assist you with filing the CTS claim on time, negotiating with your insurance company so that you are compensated fairly, and providing you with an apt legal representation. They have the expertise to weigh your claim based on the multifaceted factors that should be analyzed when coming up with the claim amount for compensation. They have the skills to negotiate fair terms with the insurance company so you’re not robbed of your fair legal rights. They can help you safeguard your legal rights as an employee, keeping the insurance companies and the employee at par with the legal regulations of the Workers’ Compensation Act.

Sedentary work-related injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome are compensable under the workers’ compensation claim. Employees who work for a prolonged time on tasks that involve repetitive wrist movements daily may often develop CTS. The condition can get worse if it is not treated properly and timely. Workers’ compensation covers CTS. It is essential to get a thorough medical diagnosis before you move forward with your claim. Our expert worker-compensation lawyers at Royce Injury have years of expertise in such claims and can assist you with winning the fair CTS workers’ compensation that you deserve!

Jason Royce Allen

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