Will Workers’ Comp Pay for Carpal Tunnel Surgery?


Margot Lester

Today, we’re answering a question from reader Cheri about a surgical procedure she needs because of a work-related injury. She writes: “I have carpal tunnel syndrome and need surgery. My job is the cause. Can I make them pay the bills after insurance?”

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Can I Make my Employer Pay for Carpal Tunnel Surgery?

Repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome are common in the workplace. While you can’t sue your employer for this type of injury, you can file a workers’ compensation claim.

Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that more than 4,000 American employees reported carpal tunnel injuries in 2019, making the condition a leading source of workers’ comp claims.

What Does Worker’s Comp Insurance Cover?

Workers’ comp insurance is regulated and managed by each state; the federal government oversees coverage for its employees nationwide. The system covers additional medical care and provides income protection to employees with work-related injuries or illnesses. Reimbursement typically covers between $4,000 and $12,000 in injury-related bills and lost wages.

Depending on your state’s rules, workers’ comp can help you defray certain carpal tunnel surgery costs, including:

  1. Medical expenses, including hospital costs and prescription drugs. Doctors often prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce swelling and pain associated with carpal tunnel.
  2. Lost wages from workdays missed during surgery and recovery. You may need to modify or reduce your normal work tasks for several weeks post-surgery.
  3. Costs for ongoing care, like physical therapy. You may need to work with a physical therapist or ergonomics expert to reduce the damage and learn techniques to avoid a recurrence.

Do I Need an Attorney for my Workers’ Comp Claim?

In most cases, the answer is yes. The workers’ comp system is complicated and making your case can be challenging — especially if you have a pre-existing condition that could have contributed to or made you more susceptible to carpal tunnel. For example, your carpal tunnel surgery case will be harder to make if you:

  • Have another job or side hustle that requires similar repetitive motions
  • Play sports or musical instruments
  • Live with diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Experience a sudden injury

The onset of repetitive strain injuries like carpal tunnel can be hard to pinpoint because the damage occurs gradually. As soon as you believe the symptoms are work-related, see a doctor. This is important for three reasons:

  1. There are time limits for filing a claim. These differ from state to state.
  2. You may need to provide more evidence than coworkers bringing other claims, since carpal tunnel syndrome isn’t an obvious injury. Your medical records and doctors’ notes are important pieces of evidence that support your claim.
  3. It’s the best way to start getting relief from your carpal tunnel pain.

Because of these complications, it’s smart to hire a workers’ comp attorney who knows your state’s rules (including statutes of limitations). You also want one who has experience making successful claims. Getting the compensation you deserve after carpal tunnel surgery can be a complex task. Working with a qualified and skilled attorney can ease the burden so you can focus on recovery.

Ready to see if you may qualify? Complete your free online workers’ compensation case evaluation now!

Margot Lester
CEO at The Word Factory | + posts

Margot Lester is the CEO of The Word Factory, a content marketing agency based in North Carolina that provides services for international healthcare brands, tech companies and SaaS developers. An award-winning business and brand journalist, she writes for daily and weekly newspapers and business journals, national magazines, in-flight publications and leading websites. Margot is also an in-demand writing coach and organizational communications trainer, helping individuals and teams write more effectively. LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/margotlester.