Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Covered by Workers’ Comp?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a repetitive motion injury that can lead to significant pain and suffering and affect a person’s ability to work. Individuals who suffer from carpal tunnel caused by workplace activities should be able to recover compensation through workers’ compensation insurance. However, recovering this compensation can be challenging, particularly when it comes to proving that the carpal tunnel syndrome was caused by workplace activities.

What Does Oregon’s Workers’ Compensation Cover?

The workers’ compensation system in Oregon is extensive and covers just about any type of work injury or illness that occurs. This is considered a “no-fault” type of insurance, which means individuals can recover compensation regardless of whether or not they caused their own injury or illness. There is no need to prove that another individual’s negligence caused the injury or illness.

Workers’ compensation will provide coverage for medical bills and lost wages for most traumatic injuries, occupational illnesses, and repetitive stress injuries, so long as these injuries or illnesses arise as a result of job-related duties.

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure placed onto the median nerve (Mayo Clinic). The carpal tunnel is really a tunnel, though most people do not realize that. It is a narrow passageway on the under portion of a person’s wrist (palm side) surrounded by bones and ligaments. When the median nerve is compressed, individuals can suffer from various symptoms in their hands and arms, including numbness, weakness, and tingling.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is considered a repetitive motion injury, and this injury typically starts gradually and gets worse over time. Carpal tunnel is primarily caused by repeatedly putting pressure on the median nerve through the carpal tunnel, and there are a variety of workplace factors that can lead to this injury. This can include the prolonged use of vibrating tools or work on an assembly line that requires repetitive flexing of the wrist. Additionally, evidence suggests that there is a link between computer use and carpal tunnel syndrome, particularly the use of the keyboard and mouse in a non-ergonomic position.

Is Carpal Tunnel a Legitimate Work Injury?

Yes, carpal tunnel syndrome is a legitimate workplace injury. Individuals should be able to recover compensation if they sustain carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of their work-related duties. However, therein lies the catch. Insurance carriers often put up a fight when it comes to paying out compensation for these repetitive stress injuries that occur. That is because injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome do not typically have a concrete starting point.

When a person breaks a bone because they fall in the workplace, this is fairly solid evidence that the injury occurred at work. However, insurance carriers could argue that the carpal tunnel syndrome began before an individual started working at a facility or happened as a result of a person’s personal life activities and not the workplace.

Securing compensation for carpal tunnel syndrome may be challenging, and we encourage you to speak to a skilled workplace injury lawyer as soon as possible. Individuals in Oregon regularly recover workers’ compensation payments as a result of repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome. This can include coverage of any medical procedures needed to fix the carpal tunnel syndrome, including surgery, physical therapy and rehabilitation, medical devices, prescription medications, and more. Additionally, individuals should be able to recover lost wages if they cannot work while recovering. Contact our Portland workplace injury attorneys today.