Carpal tunnel: Can I file for worker’s compensation? Yes, you can file a claim under the Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Act provided that you have the necessary medical evidence. However, keep in mind that the mere filing of a claim for worker’s compensation does not assume that such a claim will be conceded by the worker’s compensation insurance company.
In many states, including Wisconsin, carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition for which injured workers claim compensation. According to the Worker’s Compensation Division (WC Division) of the Department of Workforce Development, in 2012, which is the most recent year from which data was generated, 428 claims for worker’s compensation were made for carpal tunnel syndrome. Also noted by the WC Division in this analysis is that these 428 claims for compensation were made based on a non-traumatic, or occupational cause of injury.
Under the Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Act, two theories of injury can be used to substantiate a work injury: an accidental/traumatic theory or an occupational theory. An occupational theory of injury refers to a period of workplace exposure – i.e., repetitive activities, overuse, exertion during job duties, etc. – that was a contributory cause to the onset or progression of the injured worker’s condition. This latter theory is commonly used when substantiating the work-relatedness of carpal tunnel syndrome.
As a top Milwaukee WI workers compensation lawyer might explain, to substantiate a worker’s compensation claim for carpal tunnel syndrome it is necessary to present medical evidence from a physician. However, it should be noted that there is debate within the medical community as to the link between overuse, repetitive exertion and the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. Even so, under the Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Act, a claim for worker’s compensation benefits can still be filed even if disagreement exists in the medical community.
If you have medical evidence from a physician to support your carpal tunnel as work related, you can file a claim for worker’s compensation benefits. This medical evidence must be provided in the form of a WKC-16-B report completed by your physician in which your physician supports that your carpal tunnel is work related.
Nevertheless, even with this medical evidence in hand, the worker’s compensation insurance carrier for your employer may dispute your claim for worker’s compensation benefits based on its own physician’s WKC-16-B report through a record review or independent medical evaluation. Such a dispute between doctors is resolved through the appeals process with the Division of Hearings and Appeals – Office of Worker’s Compensation Hearings.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Hickey & Turim, S.C. for their insight into workers compensation practice.