Carpal Tunnel Attorney in Anchorage, Alaska 

Workers’ compensation is a state-mandated system of insurance that provides benefits for workers injured on the job or who become ill because of workplace conditions such as chemical toxicity. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system that prevents employees from suing employers and employers from suing employees for accidents that occur at work.  

Note that workers’ compensation insurance is meant to cover all injuries and illnesses springing from accidents or hazards at work. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that affects the hands, wrist, and arms that develops over time, generally from activities that involve repetitive motion. If an employee develops carpal tunnel syndrome – which can take years to show up – due to workplace duties, then the condition should be covered by workers’ compensation.  

Since carpal tunnel can develop from playing musical instruments or even from driving your vehicle, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company may challenge your claim and even order what is called an independent medical examination (IME) to determine the extent of the condition and perhaps where and how it originated.  

If you’re facing difficulties with a carpal tunnel claim in or around Anchorage, Alaska, contact the workers’ compensation attorney at the Law Office of Justin S. Eppler, LLC. We will help you provide the medical and documentary evidence needed to press your claim forward and will deal with the insurance company representatives to protect your rights. We also proudly serve clients in Fairbanks, Juneau, Wasilla, and Palmer, Alaska. 

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What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? 

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says "carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the palm of the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist."   

Compression can cause pain, weakness, and numbness in the hand and wrist. Tingling may develop when you talk on a phone or read a newspaper. The condition can worsen over time if not treated or if the source of the initial compression is not ameliorated or avoided. 

Common Causes of Carpal Tunnel: Professions Affected 

Carpal tunnel stems from repetitive stress trauma, which means that repetitive motion, even of the most ordinary type, can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Though often associated with the use of keyboards at work, that is not the only source. In fact, it is said that assembly line and construction workers are three times as likely to develop the condition. Among the many causes include, beyond typing:  

  • Assembly line work with repetitive motions involved

  • Construction work, such as operating a jackhammer or other vibrating tools

  • Painting buildings and structures 

  • Operating a cash register

  • Slicing vegetables and other foods in a restaurant kitchen

  • Playing a musical instrument like a guitar

  • Repairing locks

  • Performing certain agricultural tasks

  • Sewing

  • Cleaning

  • Meatpacking 

  • Driving a vehicle

Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim for Carpal Tunnel 

You have 30 days to report an injury or illness after its occurrence or onset to your employer to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. However, when it comes to carpal tunnel, a start date is next to impossible to determine, so you must go by the date you are first diagnosed with the condition. This means you must be examined by a doctor or medical group that diagnoses carpal tunnel.   

The workers’ compensation insurance company that your employer has contracted with may likely challenge your assertion in regard to whether it is work-related. When it comes to carpal tunnel claims, having an experienced attorney on your side is a definite plus. 

Benefits Available 

Workers’ compensation will pay for medical expenses and lost wages when you cannot work because of your condition. Lost wages are capped at two-thirds of your average weekly salary, but Alaska also has an overall cap on wage benefits, which in 2022 stands at $1,398 a week. This means that if you make more than $2,097 a week, you will never see a full two-thirds reimbursement.  

To receive pay reimbursement, you must be unable to perform your normal duties and must miss work. Two programs apply here, temporary disability benefits and permanent disability benefits. If you are able to return to your duties on a limited basis, then you are eligible for temporary benefits. If you are so impaired that you will probably never return to your previous position, then you are eligible for permanent disability.  

When it comes to permanent disability benefits, however, your employer may move to adjust your work duties so you can return, or the employer and insurer may provide vocational training so you can move on in your career with new skills.