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Can you receive workers’ compensation for carpal tunnel?

| Mar 3, 2015 | Workers’ Compensation

Developing an occupational illness can be a traumatic experience for Illinois workers. This may be especially true when an illness conflicts with the ability to perform work that puts food on the table. For workers who use their hands on the job, developing carpal tunnel syndrome qualifies as one of those experiences. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, carpal tunnel syndrome is the fastest-growing occupational illness in the country.

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

The carpal tunnel is a passageway of ligaments and bonds at the base of the hand. This passageway hosts tendons, as well as something called the median nerve. The median nerve is what controls sensations to the palm side of the thumb and fingers. It runs from the forearm into the palm of the hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome represents the case of the median nerve becoming compressed or otherwise traumatized.

Carpal tunnel syndrome may develop, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, from a congenital disposition. In brief, one person’s carpal tunnel may simply be smaller than another person’s. A wrist injury that involves a sprain or a fracture could also lead to carpal tunnel.

However, carpal tunnel syndrome may also result from repetitive motions required to perform a job. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, workers in some industries are at a higher risk of developing carpal tunnel than others. Any workers’ compensation attorney in Illinois is aware that manufacturing, sewing, finishing, cleaning and meatpacking are among those. Carpal tunnel is also commonly associated with the occupational activity of frequent typing on a keyboard.

Workers’ compensation coverage

Carpal tunnel syndrome is covered under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation and Occupational and Occupational Diseases Act. This law enables workers to receive compensation for illnesses that arise out of and in the course of employment. In other words, if a causal relationship can be established between the workplace and carpal tunnel, this illness may be compensable for Illinois workers.

As a workers’ compensation attorney in Illinois would know, a revision to the law in 2011 effected an important change to coverage for carpal tunnel syndrome. Specifically, as per Section 8(e)9 of the Act, a cap was created for awards on the basis of carpal tunnel. Before the revision, no cap applied to the compensation that could be awarded in carpal tunnel cases. It should be added that this cap only applies to repetitive carpal tunnel, not trauma-induced carpal tunnel.

Navigating the workers’ compensation process can be difficult, especially while suffering from the effects of an illness. For this reason, Illinois workers who have developed carpal tunnel syndrome may wish to consult with a workers’ compensation attorney in Illinois.