Visitor Question

Can I file a claim for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Submitted By: Sheri (Fredericksburg, VA)

I am a federal employee and I have been complaining off and on for two years that my finger tips go numb at any given time. If I massage the tips of each finger (both hands) it finally gets better. I think I may have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Last night I awoke in extreme pain, more in my left hand (I am left handed) than my right, both of which were numb on the tips. I got my right hand back rather quickly, but my left thumb took me 7 minutes of massaging to get rid of the numbness and pain. Today both of my hands hurt so badly I can hardly bend them finger to wrist.

I was at work typing and biting my lip because of the pain. I am soon to be 49 yrs old and I have been at my federal job since 2003. I started out as a police dispatcher and now I am in facilities. I still type quite a bit. I started dispatching in 1995.

Would I put in a workers’ comp claim through my present employer? I am hoping one of the doctors I saw will have documentation of my complaints of numbness in my finger tips. I was never treated for it by doctors since the symptoms weren’t so bad. I just dealt with it and moved on. Can I file a claim now? Or is it too late? Thanks.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Sheri,

It is not too late to file a workers’ compensation claim. While you have been suffering for two (2) years, you are still experiencing substantial pain, apparently directly related to your work duties as a federal employee.

Once you have filed a claim you will be sent to a government-approved physician who will be referred to as your primary care physician (PCP). He or she will likely request your medical documentation from the doctors you have already seen for your pain, or you may take copies of those records with you when you see the PCP.

Once you have seen the PCP, it is likely he or she will refer you to an orthopedic surgeon who will further evaluate you and your symptoms. Then whatever treatment he or she recommends will be offered to you at no cost and as part of your workers’ compensation benefits.

Once you have seen those physicians, they may recommend you not be assigned to work duties which include typing or otherwise using your hands to enter data. As a result, you may be assigned to other less hand-intensive duties. Moreover, if you are not able to work at any capacity while treating or recovering, you will be entitled to about 2/3rds of your lost wages.

Learn more here: Federal Workers' Compensation Claims

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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One comment on “Can I file a claim for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

  1. Jennifer says:

    I am a mail carrier. I fell on ice in 2014 and herniated two discs. One was worse than the other so my doctor only requested surgery for the bad one. OWCP approved surgery and I had it, recovered and went back to work in July of 2015.

    In the fall of 2016 I began having symptoms again. Thinking it was a pinched nerve, I waited to see if it would feel better. It didn’t so I went back to the surgeon. After an MRI, injections and a disco gram, it was found that my second herniated disc was worse. The Doctor requested surgery.

    While waiting to hear about surgery, I had pain that I believed was neck related (at the base of my throat) while working on July 5, 2017. My doctor told me to get a pain shot but by the time I got home the pain had dulled, so I decided to wait until my husband could take me. I stayed home from work the next day and the pain hit me again. My husband took me to the hospital and it was determined I’d had a heart attack.

    I ended up having 5 bypasses and being off work for three months. OWCP sent me to a referee doctor and that doctor said he could find nothing wrong with me neurologically, so OWCP denied my surgery. I sent everything in for reconsideration which ended today. My doctor requested an EMG because I’ve been having bad numbness, tingling and pain in my arms. OWCP approved the test and I had it done today.

    Turns out that along with the neck issues, I also have severe carpal tunnel. To add insult to injury, OWCP owes me over $58,000 in back pay because of restrictions. I really don’t know what to do now!

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