Recent Changes to Carpal Tunnel Coverage Under Illinois’ Workers’ Compensation Law

Settlements and VerdictsDue to reforms to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act in 2011, there have been significant changes to how employees afflicted with carpal tunnel syndrome can receive compensation. Carpal tunnel syndrome is still covered under the new workers’ compensation law, but the amount of compensation has seen some changes.

Amount of Compensation

The guidelines for permanent partial disability are determined in accordance with the American Medical Association’s “Guide for the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment,” as well as factors including the employee’s occupation, age, future earning capacity, and medical records to corroborate the injury in question.

Compensation awarded for carpal tunnel is now limited to 15% of the loss of use of a hand. An exception to this change is if there is clear and convincing evidence of further disability, in which case the upper limit is set at 30% of the loss of use of the hand.

Another exception is if the employee can show that they are not able to return to their previous occupation. The injured worker is then able to attempt to prove they are permanently and totally disabled or that they have suffered a permanent wage loss. However, wage differentials have also been limited. In the event that the employee is required to accept a job that pays less, they are now only able to collect the differential until either age 67 or five years from the date of the award, whichever lasts longer.

The new law does not limit awards for carpal tunnel syndrome caused by crush injuries or blunt trauma, such as one caused by falling on an outstretched arm or by otherwise putting pressure on the palm or wrist.

Contact Rubens and Kress

If you need help navigating the recent changes to the Illinois Workers’ compensation law — whether you’re suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome or another work-related injury — seek top-notch legal representation from Rubens and Kress. As a Chicago law firm concentrating in worker’s compensation cases, we are here to look out for your best interests, and there is no fee unless you collect. Contact Rubens and Kress online, at 312-201-9640, or toll-free at 1-866-890-9640.