in Illinois Workers Comp
Carpal tunnel is a very common work-related injury. This is often caused by repetitive work, especially using vibrating tools. These injuries are very common in meat-packing plants like Tyson. I have had doctors tell me that other work can cause carpal tunnel, such as typing, sewing or cutting hair. In some circumstances, carpal tunnel can even be caused by a single incident like a fall or a car accident.
When we talk about the value of a workers comp case in Illinois, we look at three different things - how much money you made in an average week before the injury, the part of the body that was hurt, and the nature and extent of the injury. This means how bad the injury was, whether you still have symptoms, whether it affects your ability to do your job, whether you had surgery, etc.
Most parts of the body are assigned a number of weeks. For example, if you had your hand amputated, you would be entitled to 60% of your average weekly wage for 205 weeks. Of course, no one would trade their hand for that amount of money. Workers comp is better than nothing, but it doesn't replace the value of what was lost or what you have had to go through.
Carpal tunnel injuries are considered part of a hand, so an injured worker would get a percentage of what the hand is worth, in other words, a percentage of 205 weeks at 60% of their average weekly wage. In most cases, people recover very well, so the percentage is rather low.
Insurance companies often defend these cases by arguing that the carpal tunnel wasn't related to work. There have been studies that link things like body habitus, sex (carpal tunnel is more common in women) and diabetes to greater rates of carpal tunnel. Of course, just because you have carpal tunnel doesn't automatically mean you got it from work.
One big key to these cases is to report symptoms and that you think those symptoms may be work-related. This can be difficult, as they tend to creep in slowly, and you may not even realize something is wrong immediately.