When many people hear the term “workers’ compensation,” their first thought is of a person being injured in a slip and fall or some other form of on-the-job accident. But did you know that workers’ compensation can also be used to cover workers who develop repetitive strain injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome?
What Is Carpal Tunnel?
Carpal tunnel syndrome, or more commonly referred to as just “carpal tunnel,” is an affliction that affects the wrists and hands when workers are required to perform the same motion over and over, causing the muscles, ligaments and tendons to swell and place pressure on the forearm’s median nerve. When the median nerve becomes compressed, workers can experience numbness, weakness, and tingling in the hand and arm, potentially causing permanent damage and loss of function if left untreated.
Carpal tunnel is common in people working in professions that involve:
- Scanning barcodes
- Assembly lines
- Turning keys
- Assembling small parts
- Strongly gripping objects
It is not uncommon for carpal tunnel to prevent a person from being able to work for months. While mild cases of carpal tunnel can be treated with rest, cold therapy, and wearing a splint, more severe cases may require expensive surgeries to be corrected, potentially costing thousands. Employees who develop carpal tunnel as a result of the duties of their occupation may file a claim under their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance and collect monetary benefits to cover the costs of medical treatments, surgeries, physical therapy, and a substantial portion of their lost wages. Workers’ comp will also provide monetary support if your carpal tunnel should cause you to become temporarily or permanently disabled.
How to File a Workers’ Comp Claim for Carpal Tunnel
If you have developed carpal tunnel syndrome or are just beginning to experience symptoms, notify your employer as soon as possible. Your employer should provide you with a “first report of injury” form to fill out and a list of approved physicians who you can visit for medical treatment. After receiving treatment, you will then need to fill out a DWC-1, Application for Adjudication of Claim, Declaration Pursuant to Labor Code 4906(g), and a cover sheet, and turn them into your supervisor or HR department.
You should receive a response from your employer’s insurance company within 14 days. They may either deny your claim, begin making disability payments, or choose to continue investigations. If they choose to conduct an investigation, they will only have 90 days to do so but must authorize payment for your current treatments, up to $10,000.
Although workers’ compensation may provide invaluable benefits for injured workers, the process of receiving these benefits can be notoriously complex. At Alvandi Law Group, P.C., our knowledgeable Orange County workers’ comp lawyers can help take the guesswork out of your application and maximize your chances of securing the compensation you deserve.
To find out more about how we can assist you, call (800) 980-6905 or contact us today.