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Work Restrictions for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in California (2024)

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a repetitive motion injury that is caused by repeated strain on the hands and wrists. The condition can be debilitating and can even require surgery in severe cases. It is often the result of doing the same motion every day long-term. For example, a worker who performs a job that requires an excessive amount of daily typing could potentially, over time, develop carpal tunnel syndrome, with the conditioning gradually worsening each day until it becomes noticeable. Eventually, with repeated and prolonged use, it can become unbearable.

Work-related injuries that occur over time are called accumulator trauma or cumulative injuries, and they can be covered under workers’ compensation. To get the most out of a workers’ comp claim for carpal tunnel syndrome, speaking with an experienced California cumulative injury attorney is an ideal place to begin.

Working and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

In many cases, employees are able to continue working after they’ve been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome. They are oftentimes able to receive partial disability or workers’ compensation while their injuries heal or throughout their recovery, even if they can’t perform their full previously held job duties. They are often still competent and able to perform light-duty work that has significantly less hand movement, or they may be able to work in a different job, occupation, or position.

Accommodations for Disabled Workers

Carpal tunnel syndrome is recognized as a disability, and disabled workers are protected under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). It requires employers to make certain accommodations for workers with disabilities. This includes the following reasonable accommodations in the workplace:

  • Allowing time off for employees to go to doctor’s appointments to receive medical treatment for their disability
  • Providing technological equipment that relieves stress on the injury, such as standing desk options
  • Understanding that disabled workers may need more breaks
  • Allowing disabled workers to work flexible hours when needed
  • Allowing a change of occupation to prevent further injury

There are, however, reasons deemed acceptable under the FEHA for employers to deny accommodations. These exceptions include the following reasons:

  • Accommodating the disability costs too much.
  • Small businesses can’t afford to make expensive accommodations.
  • The work that is required to perform the job does not allow for accommodations.

Carpal Tunnel Work Restrictions

In accommodating disabled workers suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, whether a work-related injury or not, workers should exercise caution in accordance with their doctor’s orders. Doctors’ orders may restrict certain movements and actions while working. This can impede the progression of carpal tunnel syndrome so that the injury can begin to recover. There are also restrictions following surgery that can help facilitate recovery. These must be followed according to the patient’s post-surgery instructions that are provided by their surgeon or primary care physician.

Some of the most common restrictions that workers suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome may be recommended to follow are listed below. Employers should recognize these restrictions and accommodate disabled workers under FEHA guidelines. If they do not, they could be held liable for violating FEHA regulatory laws for disabled workers.

Employees with carpal tunnel syndrome may not be able to perform or participate in the following duties:

  • Repetitive movements of the hands or wrists
  • Excessive writing
  • Prolonged typing
  • Repetitive actions that require the wrist to flex
  • Using tools that vibrate and put ongoing stress on the median nerve
  • Job duties that originally initiated the injury
  • Gripping, holding, or carrying items
  • Intricate work that involves constant hand use
  • Assembling products with small parts

FAQs About Work Restrictions for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in California

What Are the Work Restrictions for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Some of the most common work restrictions for workers suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome include carrying objects or grasping items, prolonged typing or texting, and performing jobs that require repeated actions with the hands and wrists, These include soldering circuit boards, sewing, or assembling products that have intricate parts or pieces.

Can You Get Workers’ Comp for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in California?

Yes, you can get workers’ compensation for carpal tunnel syndrome in California, as the state’s workers’ compensation system acknowledges carpal tunnel syndrome as a disability. Therefore, it is a compensable medical injury that is covered by workers’ comp as long as the injury developed as a result of performing job duties.

How Much Disability Will I Get for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

If you are able to prove that you are disabled due to ongoing carpal tunnel syndrome by providing a medical diagnosis from a doctor, you can potentially get disability payments worth up to $3600 for SSDI, or $914 per month for SSI, if you meet all other eligibility requirements of the Social Security Administration.

Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome a Disability According to the ADA?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does recognize carpal tunnel syndrome as a disability under federal law. Consequently, it is also identified by the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) as a disability, and the rights of those who are diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome are, therefore, protected under both the ADA and the FEHA.

How Much Is the Average Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Claim in California?

It may be difficult to prove to the courts that you are disabled due to your carpal tunnel syndrome injury in California. You must provide substantial proof in the form of medical records, doctor’s statements, and other forms of documented proof of your carpal tunnel injury. If you have this proof, you could, with the help of an attorney, potentially get a settlement that averages between $30,000 and $70,000, which is typical across the state.

Employing the Help of a California Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Attorney

If you have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, or have reason to believe that you have carpal tunnel and are unable to perform your normal work duties as a result, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation if your injury developed or worsened while performing job duties. If your injury was not a result of your job duties, you may still be eligible for disability. To learn more about your options, contact Canlas Law Group today and speak with an experienced attorney about your rights as a worker. We can give you sound, honest legal advice and represent you in whatever capacity your case requires.

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