Is carpal tunnel considered a workplace incident?

The wrist and hand pain you have dealt with over the last few months now has a diagnosis. The doctor says you have carpal tunnel syndrome and that your repetitive hand movements at work have something to do with it.

While not a workplace accident, carpal tunnel syndrome is attributable to your job and thus should fall under the coverage of your employer’s insurance coverage. Find out more about how that works below.

How does your employer handle a repetitive injury claim?

Once your doctor ties your injury to your job, he or she should fill out a first report of injury. This document should give the workers’ compensation insurance company the details about your injury, the diagnosis and recommended course of treatment.

Repetitive or overuse injuries do fall under the purview of workers’ comp when the doctor traces them back to work. Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common work overuse injuries. Part of this is because many jobs require the constant use of hands and wrists. Typing is one of the most hand-intense activities and a frequent cause of carpal tunnel. Other jobs include:

  • Factory assembler
  • Seamstress
  • Construction worker
  • Hairstylist

Any type of job where you need to use your hands intensively can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.

What will the insurer cover?

Once the insurer accepts your claim, it should start paying for your treatment. For carpal tunnel, this may include medication, physical therapy and surgery if warranted. The workers’ comp insurer should also reimburse you or your medical insurance company for any bills already paid.

Carpal tunnel syndrome causes discomfort and pain but is treatable if you receive the medical intervention needed.


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