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Claiming Workers Compensation for Carpal Tunnel – Your Guide.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common problem that can be caused by repetitive hand and wrist movements and activities that involve gripping. In the workplace carpal tunnel has become less common due to good ergonomic practices and regular breaks, however, certain people such as factory and warehouse workers and machine operators are at greater risk. 

Woman holding her wrist in pain after experiencing carpal tunnel workplace injury

Wherever you work, if your job has caused you to develop carpal tunnel, you could be eligible for potentially significant workers compensation payouts. The key is proving the link between your work and carpal tunnel problems. 

Read on to learn how to get the evidence you need and claim everything you’re entitled to, including any lump sums.

Claiming compensation for carpal tunnel at work – what you need to know.

The first thing you need to do is to visit your GP for a medical assessment and then report their findings to your employer. It’s then your employer’s duty to report this to their workers compensation insurer.

Once this claim has been lodged many people come to us for help with one of the following three situations:

1. You’re receiving benefits for your carpal tunnel injury, but you want to know if there are additional benefits or lump sums you’re entitled to.

This is a very common question. Although weekly benefits are most common for carpal tunnel, there is potential, in some cases, for lump sum payouts. Read on to see if you could be eligible.

2. You’ve been receiving carpal tunnel injury compensation benefits, but you’ve had part of your claim denied or benefits cut off.

This is also a common situation. We’ve had many clients come to us because they’ve had essential surgery or treatment denied by an insurer.

3. Your carpal tunnel workers compensation claim was rejected.

Claims are often rejected on the basis that the carpal tunnel injury wasn’t caused by work or was a pre-existing condition.

If you’re about to submit a claim, or if you fall into one of these three categories, read on to find out how to get all the entitlements you’re eligible for.

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Workers compensation – carpal tunnel injury compensation payouts.

If you’ve got a carpal tunnel injury from work in NSW and you make a claim for workers compensation, the following table outlines what you may be eligible to claim:

Workers Compensation Payments NSWDescription
Weekly paymentsThese are payments to compensate you for lost income while you’re off work due to your carpal tunnel injury.
Medical expensesPayment of your medical, hospital, ambulance, rehabilitation (including home help) and travel expenses.
Permanent impairment payoutA lump sum compensation payout to cover a permanent impairment as a result of your carpal tunnel.
Work Injury Damages payoutAlso known as a common law claim, this is a lump sum payout for damages if your carpal tunnel injury was caused by your employer’s negligence.

Permanent impairment and work injury damages for carpal tunnel syndrome are not paid to you automatically; you need to apply for them separately, even if you’re already receiving weekly benefits.

Common jobs and situations that can cause carpal tunnel and may qualify for workers compensation settlements / payouts.

We’ve settled hundreds of workers compensation carpal tunnel injury claims. Here are some of the most common jobs and situations we’ve come across that can cause it or make it worse:

Assembly line and factory workers.

Repetitive tasks involved in assembly line work and use of tools, such as in manufacturing or production environments, are one of the most common work environments for carpal tunnel wrist injury claims.

Construction workers, carpenters and mechanics.

Construction workers who frequently use vibrating tools, such as jackhammers or power drills, can increase their risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. 

For carpenters, repetitive use of hand tools, such as hammers and screwdrivers, can put strain on the wrist.

Mechanics often have to work in awkward positions doing tasks that involve repetitive movements with tools and equipment.

All these jobs could cause carpal tunnel problems that are eligible for compensation payments.

Healthcare workers.

Activities like continuous typing of medical records or awkward hand positions during patient handling can increase the risk of wrist injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, which would be eligible for workers compensation.

Retail and service industries.

Continuous scanning and handling of items, as well as repetitive movements during cash transactions can cause wrist injuries for cashiers. 

Hair stylists’ frequent use of scissors, hairdryers, and other tools can strain the wrist.

For food service workers, such as cooks or chefs, frequent gripping and repetitive motions, such as chopping or slicing, can be a factor in wrist injuries which are eligible for workers compensation.

Data entry and typing.

Jobs that involve frequent repetitive hand and wrist movements, like constant typing on a keyboard or extensive use of a computer mouse, are common causes of carpal tunnel syndrome. These can qualify for workers compensation payments.

Lack of breaks.

Insufficient breaks or not allowing enough time for rest during repetitive tasks can contribute to the development of carpal tunnel injury.  This situation could result in a lump sum payment if an employer is found to be negligent in not providing sufficient breaks.

Poor safety training.

Lack of training by your employer about proper ergonomics, hand positioning, and the importance of taking breaks can also play a role. If your employer has been negligent you could be eligible for a work injury damages lump sum payment.

Carpal tunnel that was made worse by your job.

It’s also important to note that if you already have carpal tunnel syndrome from another cause, but it’s been made worse by your job, you may still be eligible for workers compensation.

What’s the average payout for a carpal tunnel injury at work?

In the last financial year, 100,688 workers compensation claims were submitted in NSW, and $4.57 billion was paid out in benefits and lump sums. That’s $45,433 for every new claim submitted.*

However, for carpal tunnel injuries that are less serious, you’re most likely to be eligible for weekly benefits to cover time off work and treatments.  But, there are two lump sum payments that you could be eligible for.  Read on for details.

*According to SIRA Open Data, July 2023

Can I claim a lump sum for my carpal tunnel injury?

There are two ways you may qualify for lump sums:

Permanent impairment lump sum – you can claim this if your permanent impairment rating is assessed as 11% or more.

Many people with carpal tunnel injuries miss out on permanent impairment lump sums because they don’t meet the impairment rating threshold of 11%. But if your assessment wasn’t done correctly and fails to consider the full impact of your injury, it could be incorrect.

Work injury damages – a lump sum payout for damages if your carpal tunnel injury was caused by your employer’s negligence.

To make a work injury damages claim for a carpal tunnel injury, you need a workers compensation lawyer with experience in carpal tunnel injury claims to build the evidence that your employer’s negligence caused your accident.

If you think you’ve missed out on a lump sum you’re entitled to (for example, your permanent impairment wasn’t assessed correctly) or you need help with your claim you can call 13 15 15 for free legal advice.

Common questions and answers on carpal tunnel workers compensation.

  • Carpal tunnel claims should generally be submitted within 6 months
  • This can be extended to 3 years in certain circumstances
  • This can be more than 3 years if it relates to an injury resulting in serious and permanent impairment
  • If a period greater than 3 years has passed then a claim may still be made with SIRA approval

Firstly you need to get a medical assessment to identify the cause of your carpal tunnel pain. Once you have a diagnosis, you’ll need to show that your work caused the injury or was a contributing factor to be eligible for workers compensation.

If you have to stop work entirely, you may be eligible for an additional lump sum through your superannuation. Most Australians are covered, although many don’t realise they have this insurance included in their super.

If you’re not sure whether you’re covered, you can call 13 15 15 and we’ll find out for you. It’s a free service.

If your carpal tunnel injury claim is denied, there are ways we can dispute the insurer’s decision for you. We have a strong track record in getting claim denials overturned and you can get free legal advice on your options by calling 13 15 15.

Carpal tunnel injury workers compensation lawyers.

Carpal tunnel injury claims can be complicated. In some cases, carpal tunnel injuries lead to other complications, and some can worsen over time. So it’s important that your injuries are assessed and your claim is prepared carefully to make sure you receive absolutely everything you’re entitled to. If you need help with your claim, you can call us on 13 15 15 and speak to a specialist workers compensation lawyer. We’ll work for you on a no win no fee basis, and we win over 99% of our cases.

Chantille Khoury bio pic

Chantille Khoury


A Doyle’s Guide listed personal injury law professional and one of the country’s preeminent workers compensation specialists, with over 15 years’ experience in delivering optimal outcomes to injured Australians.