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Carpal Tunnel Workers’ Compensation Settlements

Published March 8, 2024 by Matt Fendon Law Group | Workers' Compensation

The modern workplace is often designed for productive efficiency, to increase how much employees can turn out in the shortest time. Unfortunately, that can mean workers engage in repetitive motions over long periods that develop into issues like carpal tunnel syndrome.

While each case is unique, the average cost for carpal tunnel workers’ compensation claims was $34,055 in 2020 and 2021, according to the National Council on Compensation Insurance.

If you believe that you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome or another repetitive stress injury caused by your work, then call the Matt Fendon Legal Group at (800) 229-3880 to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. 

Our Arizona workers’ compensation attorneys can help you understand whether your injury is potentially connected to your employment, help you find treatment, and help you file a workers’ compensation claim if you are eligible.

What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Your forearm and hand have three nerves that run through them. Carpal tunnel syndrome describes what happens when one of these nerves, the median nerve, gets compressed or pinched at the wrist along a passage known as the carpal tunnel.

The median nerve is connected to your thumb, fingers, and wrist, providing the sensation of feeling to your thumb, ring, middle, and index fingers.

what is carpal tunnel syndrome

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

When the median nerve is pinched or compressed in the carpal tunnel, the resulting inflammation can make you feel sensations of pain, tingling, and numbness. It can also lead to weakness in your fingers, wrist, and forearm. These sensations can interfere with your ability to do your job.

You might first experience the effects of carpal tunnel syndrome when you notice any of the following:

  • You begin having trouble grasping objects in your hand.
  • You start dropping things.
  • You feel a burning sensation in your fingers.
  • You feel a sudden electric shock-like tingling that can radiate the length of your arm from the fingers to your shoulder.

Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is often symptomatic of a broader repetitive stress injury. Carpal tunnel syndrome happens to women about three times more often than to men, because women have a smaller wrist structure with a smaller carpal tunnel area. 

Still, anyone can become a victim of carpal tunnel syndrome. If it goes unaddressed, carpal tunnel syndrome can worsen until it requires surgery to repair.

A popular conception of carpal tunnel syndrome is that it comes from spending too much time at a keyboard. And indeed, the repetitive motions involved with typing can develop carpal tunnel syndrome. However, carpal tunnel syndrome can also arise from risk factors and conditions other than repetitive stress. 

Some known causes of carpal tunnel syndrome include:

  • Traumatic injury to the carpal tunnel area of your wrist, like a wrist fracture. This can result from an accident at work, like a fall.
  • Repetitive vibration injuries, like construction workers who use vibrating hand tools or jackhammers.
  • Poor posture, or poor positioning of the hands and wrists. Spending long periods sitting at a computer that is not properly ergonomically adjusted is one example.
  • Medical conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis, can cause nerve inflammation. Other conditions that can increase your risk of carpal tunnel syndrome include diabetes, obesity, and thyroid disorders.
  • Hereditary conditions, specifically having a narrow carpal tunnel.

Types of Occupations Prone to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The workplace is a rich source of carpal tunnel syndrome injury. 

Here is a list of some of the workers our workers’ compensation attorneys have represented for carpal tunnel workers comp claims, in alphabetical order:

  • Agricultural workers
  • Assembly line workers
  • Cashiers
  • Data entry clerks
  • Locksmiths
  • Mechanics
  • Musicians
  • Painters
  • Seamstresses and tailors
types of occupations prone to carpal tunnel syndrome

Can You Make a Carpal Tunnel Workers’ Comp Claim?

Because carpal tunnel syndrome is so often connected with work activities, it is a condition that the Arizona workers’ compensation system covers.

To qualify for carpal tunnel workers’ comp benefits, you will need to receive a diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome and establish a work connection to it. You do not need to prove that your employer was negligent, only that a work connection exists.

How is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Diagnosed?

Diagnosing carpal tunnel syndrome involves reviewing your medical records and performing tests that your doctor will have you undergo during a medical examination. 

These tests will assess your ability to move your wrist, your ability to feel external touch and pressure, and whether you are experiencing numbness or tingling. You can also be subject to X-rays, ultrasound imaging, and laboratory tests.

If these initial tests suggest carpal tunnel syndrome, then the next step in diagnosis will often be a nerve conduction study. Upon conclusion of this study, your doctor should have enough information to definitively decide whether you are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome.

How is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treated?

Depending on the severity of the repetitive stress injuries, treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome can be conservative or surgical.

Conservative treatment often involves identifying what is causing the carpal syndrome symptoms and taking corrective actions. These can include making ergonomic changes to your work environment and other workplace accommodations, and measures you can take to reduce nerve inflammation, like wearing a wrist brace or receiving corticosteroid injections.

About half of workers who suffer from a carpal tunnel condition will require carpal tunnel syndrome surgery to treat the condition.

What Workers Comp Benefits are Available for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

The workers’ compensation benefits you can receive for carpal tunnel symptoms vary, but can include the following:

  • Reimbursement for reasonable and medically necessary treatment costs
  • Temporary partial disability benefits
  • Temporary total disability benefits
  • Permanent partial disability benefits
  • Lifetime medical treatment benefits
  • Rehabilitation benefits
  • Reasonable accommodations

You can receive Arizona workers’ compensation benefits as part of a standard settlement or as a full and final settlement. 

The difference between the two is that it can be possible to reopen a standard settlement based on changes in your condition and added medical bills, while a lump sum settlement usually pays more than a standard settlement at the outset but cannot be reopened later for future medical treatment.

An experienced Arizona workers’ compensation lawyer can help you understand the benefits available to you, and whether it is in your best interest to seek a full and final settlement offer from your employer’s workers’ compensation policy.

How Much Can You Receive in Workers’ Comp Settlement for Carpal Tunnel Claims?

The workers’ compensation benefits you can receive for a carpal tunnel claim must take into account several factors that your workers’ comp lawyer can help you sort through. These factors include:

  • How much you were earning before the work-related injury.
  • How much you can claim in lost income.
  • Your age and occupation.
  • Whether your work-related injuries include more than carpal tunnel syndrome, including mental health consequences.
  • The medical evidence available to support your carpal tunnel diagnosis.
  • How long it takes to recover from the condition.
  • Whether you are subject to permanent work restrictions that prevent you from going back to work.
  • Whether your carpal tunnel condition has reached the point of maximum medical improvement.
  • Whether your carpal tunnel condition is part of a broader complex regional pain syndrome.

Talk to an Arizona Workers’ Compensation Claim Attorney Today

There are two situations in which it is helpful to have a workers’ compensation lawyer on your side in a carpal tunnel workers’ comp claim: when you are preparing your initial claim, and if the insurance company challenges or denies it.

If you are making an initial workers’ comp claim, then especially before you accept a full and final settlement, it often pays to have a workers’ compensation lawyer review it for you to make sure it covers everything it needs to.

Reasons why the insurer might deny your carpal tunnel claim include procedural objections (for example, claiming you did not file your workers’ compensation claim for carpal tunnel syndrome in time), or balking at the need for surgery and its costs.

In other cases, especially if you do not opt for a full and final settlement lump sum, the insurance company could seek to cut off your benefits before it should or claim that you can go back to work when you cannot.

The Matt Fendon Law Group Difference

At the Matt Fendon Law Group, our highly skilled and compassionate workers’ compensation lawyers are ready to help you with all aspects of your carpal tunnel workers’ compensation claim.

We can help you to:

  • Understand the workers’ compensation claim process. The process of obtaining workers’ compensation benefits can be stressful and complicated. It’s critical that you have an experienced Arizona workers’ comp lawyer on your side.
  • Negotiate with the insurance carrier. Workers’ compensation insurance companies are less likely to give you the run-around when you have a skilled and aggressive attorney in your corner.
  • Receive the compensation you deserve. While you recover from your carpal tunnel injury, workers’ compensation benefits pay a portion of your lost wages, as well as your medical expenses. Our attorneys will fight to get you the benefits you need and deserve.
  • Represent you at the workers’ comp hearing. A hearing before an administrative law judge could be necessary to your claim. When that is the case, our attorneys will represent you and argue on your behalf.
  • Handle your appeal. If your workers’ compensation claim is denied, then our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers can help you put together the strongest argument on your behalf within the tight 90-day appeal deadline.

Call us today at (800) 229-3880 to schedule a confidential, free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation claims lawyer in Phoenix. Or, if you prefer, you can contact us online to ask a question or to schedule a free consultation.

We have offices in Phoenix, Prescott, Flagstaff, Scottsdale, and Tucson. Let us show you how we can help you with your Arizona workers’ comp case. We will provide straightforward advice and effective legal representation, and help you understand your legal workers’ compensation options.

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