The laws on workers’ compensation are typically hard to comprehend for a layperson. Moreover, these laws keeping changing over time, making it hard to keep current. If you are faced with an issue concerning workers’ compensation, you need a professional attorney who is familiar with the system. The Workers Compensation Attorney Group in Orange County is a team of professionals who are knowledgeable and experienced in workers’ compensation laws in California. If you work or reside in Orange County, CA and have developed work-related carpal tunnel syndrome, our attorneys will guide you through the claim process ensuring you get the right kind of compensation you deserve.

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that results in a feeling of numbness, pain, tingling, and frailty in the hand and the whole arm. This condition happens when significant pressure is exerted on the median nerve that runs on the entire length of the arm into a passage in the wrist known as the carpal tunnel. This median nerve is vital as it controls the feeling of your thumb and coordination of all fingers except the pinky finger. Pressure or compression of that nerve results to swelling which narrows the carpal tunnel. This condition can be caused by a variety of factors such as pregnancy, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes or repetitive motions on the wrist. In a workplace environment, repetitive movement of the hands without the proper work gear is the leading cause of carpal tunnel syndrome. If you notice any of the symptoms for this condition such as numbness and pain in your fingers, it is essential that you seek the right type of medication as soon as possible. If the state prolongs without medical attention, its effects can result in severe problems such as:

  • Shrinking of the hand muscle which leads to a weakened grip of the hand,

  • Slowed nerve impulses and,

  • Poor coordination of fingers especially the thumbs.

The following is a list of a few work occupations and tasks that can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome:

  1. Mechanic - Caused by constant pushing of ratchet and screws using a screwdriver.

  2. Painter - The use of a spray gun also can cause the condition.

  3. Cashier - Frequent use of scanners at checkout.

  4. Electronic industry worker - These professionals are exposed to this condition due to work like assembling of small parts.

  5. Factory or agricultural worker- Use of poorly-fitting gloves can cause the condition due to external pressures on the hand.

What is Workers’ Compensation under California Law?

Workers’ compensation provides an exclusive remedy for employees who get involved in any work-related injury. It’s a system of laws that identifies specific benefits that an injured employee should get after an injury in a workplace and the procedures for claiming such benefits. These laws work in almost all states to protect the interests of employees and employers but vary from state to state.

Additionally, it’s always important to understand that there are specific workers’ compensation laws for workers in the federal government and some specific industries, for instance, railroad companies. There are particular acts under California law that protects employees in railroad construction companies and the federal government. They include:

  1. Occupation Health and Safety Acts

    The Occupation Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) came up with this act that states regulations and rules for issues relating to workplace health and safety. Workers in construction companies face the harshest working conditions which expose them to a lot of accidents and other hazards. These risks can harm the said workers if proper precautions are not taken into consideration. Carpal tunnel syndrome is also a common type of work injury in construction sites due to the involvement of the wrist and hands, in general, to lift things and operate machinery.

    According to OSHA, every employer, employee and project supervisor must abide by OSHA regulations. If an employee is injured in a construction site due to the negligence of the employer or project supervisor, they have a right to report the case to OSHA inspectors. These inspectors will then investigate the cause of the accident to determine if there was any violation of OSHA safety and health standards. If any rules and regulations were violated, the company owner would be at risk of facing a lawsuit. According to OSHA, you are entitled to the following rights as an employee:

    • The employer must train you about OSHA health and safety regulations and standards.

    • An employee has the right to request information from their employer about OSHA standards, employee rights, hazards, illnesses and injuries related to that specific line of work.

    • If an employee notices a potential hazard at the workplace, they have the right to request immediate action from the employer to remedy the risk.

    • If the OSHA regulations in the workplace are violated, an employee has the right to file a complaint with OSHA so that they can take the necessary immediate action.

    • An employee has the right to accompany the OSHA inspector during the inspections.

    • An employee can also file a claim for discrimination.

  2. Federal Employers Liability Act

    There are many injuries related to the workplace environment, and railroad workers are not in exclusion. The environment where a railroad worker operates is very prone to potential hazards. Federal Employers Liability Act was passed in 1908 to protect all railroad workers nationwide, and help them legally recover all the benefits supposed for an injury that has occurred in a railroad environment. All injuries that occur in a railroad environment are covered by the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) including injuries sustained by workers who operate in and around trains.

    Any claim that falls under FELA should be directed to the Railroad Company or employer and can also be used as a lawsuit in state or federal court. Orange County Workers’ Compensation Attorney Group comes in handy for you in such a situation to help you legally obtain your full compensation benefits.

Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

It is up to the injured person to explain the real activities of the injury to prove that its work related. Workers compensation covers only damages that are induced by work conditions. Although carpal tunnel syndrome can easily be associated with work activities, other various issues can trigger the development of this hand condition, for instance:

  • Pregnancy

  • Historical hand injuries

  • Musical instruments playing

  • Medical conditions, for example, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, underactive thyroid

Therefore, as soon as you notice symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, it’s always wise to start gathering all possible pieces of evidence that can prove the conditions induced the injury at the workplace. As the injured employee you're supposed to gather a collection of activities at the workplace over the years when the disease began, protective gear provided if any, and general safety and health implications at the workplace in advance. All these are supposed to act as evidence of the causes of the injury. If it is evident enough that the working conditions at the workplace caused your wrist condition, there is a likelihood that even other employees who undertook similar work activities have been affected. In this case, you can be able to bring up a combined workers’ compensation claim against the employer; however, in this situation, you're only looking for proper compensation.

To provide a strong claim basis; medical evidence, working environment details, and witnesses/colleagues statements should be combined. Otherwise, according to California law, if the employer proves that the carpal tunnel syndrome affecting you is not work related you will not get workers compensation benefits. Therefore, it has always been wise to involve a workers compensation attorney in such a situation to get an insight into the law and what you need to do to get the full compensation benefits you deserve. Feel free to contact our Orange County workers compensation attorney group if you want to enjoy maximum benefits out of your claim.

What Happens After Suffering Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

After getting injured, you are supposed to seek quick medical attention from an approved physician and remember to tell them that the injury is work-related. After that, you should file a claim to receive workers’ compensation benefits before thirty (30) days or otherwise you might lose your right to enjoy the benefits as per California labor code (sec 5400). Upon the employer receiving your compensation claim, they are supposed to give you a claim form within one (1) day as per California labor code (sec 5401), although you can still find said workers’ compensation form online. As per the labor code (sec 5405), you will have a minimum of one (1) year to submit the workers’ compensation claim form back to the employer via certified mail or in person and keep a copy for yourself. The employer, after receiving the claim form should immediately authorize the medical treatment of not less than ten thousand ($10,000) dollars before the insurance company approves the employee’s compensation claim or not. (Sec 5402).

When the request gets denied you might want to consider taking the case to court. With all the required documents, you can file a claim after noticing all the involved parties. After that, you can go ahead and file a declaration to show the willingness to proceed. The case will then be scheduled for a legal settlement which means you will need a lawyer. If you are in Orange County California, feel free to contact our workers’ compensation attorney group for legal representation for any type of work injury including carpal tunnel syndrome.

What Types of Benefits Do I Receive as per California Workers’ Compensation law?

  1. Payment for permanent disability

    If a workplace injury causes permanent mental or physical damage to an employee, they are required to get the right type of compensation depending on the extent of the disability. This is following the labor code (sec 4658). For instance, if the employee’s workplace injury causes permanent disability limiting them from resuming work, they are entitled to mandatory monitory compensation for the condition. However, the amount and rates of benefits awarded to the injured employee are always determined by the extent of their permanent disability which affects their ability to perform their employment duties normally.

  2. Payment for temporary disability

    If a work-related injury causes temporary disability to a worker which forces them to take a break from work, they are supposed to receive the first payment ten (10) days after informing the employer about the injury. In short, temporary disability payment is meant for the provision of partial compensation to the worker to cover all wages for the time wasted while recovering; as per the California labor code (sec 4650).

  3. Wage loss benefits

    When an employee secures an injury in a workplace such as carpal tunnel syndrome, they are given a break to recover before resuming work. During this time the employee is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits even if they are not present at work. Per California law, the wage loss benefits plan is categorized into two. They include:

    • Temporary total benefits

      This is a type of compensation benefits paid to employees who cannot be able to resume work again because of the injury sustained, carpal tunnel syndrome in this case. The damage must be severe enough to limit the employee from continuing their duties at work. In the state of California, the number of benefits payable is calculated according to the injured worker’s pre-injury salary to know how much they deserve to be compensated.

    • Temporal partial benefits

      These types of benefits are paid to employees who are experiencing temporary disability caused by the conditions at the workplace but still receiving some salary regardless of the injury. The difference between the workers' pre-injury earnings and post-injury earnings is the amount of benefit the employee receives.

  4. Retraining benefits

    If the injury affects the workers' ability to resume work, they should receive retraining benefits accordingly (sec 4658.7). The employer should pay a full course program in an authorized institution where they can get trained and equipped with skills to resume work.

  5. Medical care

    An employee who suffers work-related injured is entitled to proper medical attention. The treatment is required to relieve them of the effects of the injury they are experiencing until they recover fully. All the hospital bills, round trips for medical check-ups and medical prescriptions after an injury in a workplace should be paid accordingly by medical treatment compensation (sec. 4600). Some workers’ compensation plans allow the employee to enjoy the company’s doctor’s services for a period of less than thirty (30) days.

  6. Vocational rehabilitation

    If the carpal tunnel syndrome condition prevents an employee from getting back to their work duties, they will receive assistance to help them seek another job or vocational rehabilitation to acquire new skills for a new job. Vocational rehabilitation has typically a limit of the number of financial benefits the worker should receive in respect to the filed workers' workers compensation claim. It can also otherwise be replaced if the employer offers the employee another job.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Insurance Companies

Although some states don’t provide workers compensation for repetitive motion injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, the situation is different in California. Employers are required to pay all the necessary benefits to their employees for carpal tunnel syndrome condition. To some extent, these claims can get very expensive for some insurance companies; hence they tend to challenge the employee. They might argue that the condition was caused by activities that are not work-related or rather the situation is a result of pre-existing medical conditions. Even though the insurance company might accept the claim, they might dispute the level of disability using their favorite strategies. For instance, they might send a physician of their choice to conduct an Independent Medical Examination (IME) on you. Such a doctor will always work in favor of the insurance company; therefore, the results may not be accurate as supposed.

The insurance company will try many strategies to get the number of your benefits reduced or deny the claim altogether. As much as they may regard the request as minor, carpal tunnel syndrome can limit or undermine the employees' ability to work like a normal person. If you develop carpal tunnel syndrome, it's always wise you get an attorney as soon as possible to get the full compensation benefits you deserve. Orange County Workers' Compensation Attorney Group is familiar with all these strategies that many insurance companies use to deny compensation claims or limit benefits for their employees. Our attorneys have enabled many clients within the state of California to obtain a full settlement for carpal tunnel syndrome.

Frequently Asked Questions about Workers’ Compensation for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  1. Does workers’ compensation cover carpal tunnel syndrome?

    If carpal tunnel syndrome is developed due to a work-related environment, the employee is entitled to receive full compensation benefits under California law. Treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome varies depending on the extent of the injury. Some injuries will require corrective surgery, whereas others will require just simple steroid injection to reduce or ease the compression. Regardless of the medical treatment chosen by your doctor, all medical services offered to rectify carpal tunnel syndrome condition should be covered by workers’ compensation.

  2. Is hiring a lawyer for a workers’ compensation claim for carpal tunnel syndrome injury critical in receiving benefits?

    Just like any other compensation claims for work injuries, you cannot underrate the need for a workers’ compensation lawyer when suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. Navigating through the various laws of workers’ compensation can be quite challenging for a layperson. If you ever find yourself facing such challenges consult with a professional attorney to help you recover your full benefits with ease.

  3. Can I still receive workers’ compensation benefits for carpal tunnel syndrome regardless of what I did in the workplace because it’s a “no-fault” system?

    One is not allowed to act in the manner they want in the workplace simply because there are workers’ compensation benefits. The workers’ compensation insurance does not cover self-inflicted injuries or injuries resulting from workers’ negligence for instance; when an employee is intoxicated, and they get injured on their line of duty. An employee is therefore required to provide concrete evidence that their current condition was induced by the conditions of their employment even if they don’t work for the responsible employer anymore.

  4. Can I still receive my workers' compensation benefits for carpal tunnel syndrome after retiring?

    Yes, an employee can still receive workers compensation benefits after retiring, but only if they had an open compensation case about the issue. If the employer or supervisor is aware of the situation, the retired employee can continue with their treatment and all the medical bills paid until the employee fully recovers from carpal tunnel syndrome. However, workers compensation does not cover the employee’s pain and suffering during that time.

  5. Can I sue my employer for my carpal tunnel syndrome condition caused by the conditions at the workplace?

    Workers’ compensation provides an exclusive remedy to prevent the employee from filing a lawsuit against the employer. You can only sue your employer if they are not self-insured or they don’t have workers’ compensation insurance to provide compensation coverage to injured employees. California law requires all employers to obtain workers’ compensation insurance to protect their employees.

Find a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Specializing in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Near Me

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a severe work injury that affects many workers in California. Many employees might not notice they’ve suffered an injury until later on when symptoms start to appear. The Workers Compensation Attorney Group is a team of attorneys located in Orange County serving people with work-related injuries. Our lawyers are experienced in matters relating to California workers’ compensation and we have provided legal representation to many clients suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome specifically. Many of our clients if not all, get the full compensation they deserve. Feel free to contact our Orange County workers compensation lawyer at 562-485-9694 and speak to our attorneys regarding your carpal tunnel condition.