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Cubital Tunnel Syndrome in Airline Baggage Handlers

Workers’ Compensation Attorneys for Chicago Area Employees

Airline baggage handlers face many different risks of injury while on the job. These injuries can include spinal cord damage, herniated disks, repetitive stress injuries, broken bones and fractures, and joint injuries. Among the injuries they may suffer on the job is cubital tunnel syndrome. Even if the harm you have suffered at work constitutes an aggravation of a condition you had prior to starting your job, you may be eligible for benefits under Illinois law. If your cubital tunnel syndrome developed or got worse while you were serving as an airline baggage handler, you should discuss your situation with a seasoned Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer.

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Cubital tunnel syndrome occurs when the ulnar nerve is harmed and becomes swollen and inflamed. This nerve traverses the cubital tunnel, which is comprised of ligament, bone, and muscle. The condition can occur when an airline baggage handler frequently bends his elbows while lifting and pushing baggage. However, it can also occur because of prior dislocations or fractures. Symptoms include hand pain, weakened grip, tingling, numbness, and aching on the elbow’s interior.

Seeking Benefits for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome in Airline Baggage Handlers

Although the workers’ compensation system was set up to make it easier for workers to obtain benefits, in practice, it can be difficult to get the compensation you need. Insurers may put profits ahead of paying you the benefits to which you’re entitled. They may try to argue that your cubital tunnel syndrome is the result of an activity other than working as an airline baggage handler. In some cases, they may conduct surveillance to try to figure out whether an activity outside of work could have caused your cubital tunnel syndrome. For example, they may hire an investigator to follow you in person or on social media to see whether you lift weights in your spare time or do other recreational activities that place stress on the elbow.

In some cases, workers’ compensation insurers look at claimants’ medical records and deny the claim on the basis of a pre-existing injury. For example, if you fractured your elbow playing basketball two years ago, and then suffer cubital tunnel syndrome working as an airline baggage handler, insurers may deny your claim. However, you should be aware that a pre-existing injury to your elbow does not mean that your claim should be denied. The critical issue is whether work aggravated the injury to your elbow, causing cubital tunnel syndrome. The aggravation to your elbow should be work-related and traceable to a particular job-related activity. A dedicated work injury attorney can help you contest any arguments that your injury was not caused or aggravated by your job.

Medical Treatment for Work Injuries

It’s important to seek treatment for work-related cubital tunnel syndrome. Treatment can include stopping the activities that aggravate the problem, along with the use of anti-inflammatories, braces, and exercises. In some cases, surgery is necessary. You should seek a doctor’s services as soon as possible and let the doctor know that your symptoms are work-related. You should also notify your employer as soon as you realize that work caused or aggravated your cubital tunnel syndrome. Delay can result in a denial of workers’ compensation benefits.

Available Benefits

Workers’ compensation benefits can include medical benefits, temporary total disability benefits, permanent total disability benefits, partial disability benefits, and vocational rehabilitation benefits. The amount of these benefits varies depending on the nature and extent of your injury. While you can choose your own doctor for treatment, there are certain restrictions an employer and insurer may impose. Your employer may belong to a preferred provider network, in which case you will need to select your doctor from this network. You will have two choices within this system. For instance, you can choose to see a general practitioner who may then refer you to a neurosurgeon or hand surgeon. This counts as a single choice. You will have an opportunity to make a second choice of another provider within the network if you are not happy with the specialist.

Retain a Seasoned Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Chicago

Those who suffer cubital tunnel syndrome as airline baggage handlers in Chicago should talk to the skilled attorneys of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. We can represent airline workers in Quincy, Champaign, Aurora and Rockford, along with Winnebago, Kane, Adams, Sangamon, and Cook Counties. Contact us at 312-263-6330 or 800-444-1525 or via our online form.