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I was diagnosed with cubital tunnel syndrome and workers comp denied my claim. What do I do?

Saint Louis, MO |

I was daignosed with severe cubital tunnel syndrome about a week ago, after experincing pain for 4 weeks prior. I am a cashier, stocker, and tag hanger (putting all the tags on the shelf when the price changes). Everything I do is extremely repetative. I answer calls, one every few minutes, due to my job. The doctor that the company provided said that he doesnt think that its work related but is unusure, and denied the claim. It took them a week to get me the denial letter and now I dont know what to do. His doctors report was contradictive, he said that that my tinels test came out negative, and then two sentences later said that it came out positive(1 example). I can barely use my arm right now because I dont have feeling in two fingers or palm, weakness and pain in my arm. What do I do?

Cubital tunnel syndrome, I found out after researching myself, is a pinched nerve in the elbow and is generally caused from either lifting heavy things, keeping your elbows bent for extended periods of time, or constant bending and straightening of the elbow. Since day one, I have been in severe pain, I wake up every hour or so every night, in extreme pain. Ive called off work because of the pain. I was on light duty up til May 29th, when the companies hand specialist said that Ill prolly have to have surgery, but released me back to full duty and denied my claim. I dont do much stocking, every once in a while, so i cant really say that that stocking at all had anything to do with it, but i consistantly have my elbows bent, because of ringing out customers orders. I have to bag the orders a lot as well, so there is a lot of weight involved with that, and answering phone calls

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

In missouri, cubital tunnel syndrome is considered what is called an occupational disease. This means that it can develop over time from something such as repetitive job duties that stress that part of the arm. Unfortunately, it can be common for employers, and the doctor's that they send workers to for care, to deny these case.

Just because you received a denial from the compan doctor does not necessarily mean your case is over. You have the right to pursue your case. This can include filing what is called a formal claim with the Division of Workers' Compensation or hiring an attorney to have them to that for you. By filing a formal claim, it keeps your injury case alive. To fight this denial, you or your attorney would likely want to obtain your own medical evidence that this condition is in fact related to your work. With a formal claim, there are also different avenues that can be used to try to expediate the employer providing treatment to you, as well.

With cases where treatment is denied, it is often helpful to hire an attorney familiar with workers' compensation. These cases can get somewhat complicated and you want someone on your side familiar with the laws. Typically, attorneys for these cases charge on a contingency fee basis. This means that you don't have a lawyer fee to pay unless they win your case.

There are many good lawyers available here on www.avvo.com or through the Bar Association of St. Louis Referral service at www.bamsl.org.

Use of this information is for general knowledge only and does not establish any attorney-client relationship. You should contact an attorney for any questions regarding the specifics of your case. If you would like to contact our office with further questions, we are available at 636-294-6170.

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Posted

You need to hire an experienced Missouri worker's compensation attorney, who will probably need to litigate this claim for you. Unfortunately, it is not unusual for employers to try to deny these types of occupational disease claims, because there is no specific "accident" that causes the condition, like a fall or a lifting injury. Under the current Missouri statute you have to prove that the work you did was the "prevailing' factor for developing the cubital tunnel. So this gets into questions of whether you ever had any problems with your elbow or arm before this started, how long you have been working for this company, and whether you might have any other medical conditions that could cause cubital tunnel. One thing that concerns me is that you mentioned that it started from the "get go." Does this mean from the first day you started working for this employer? if so, that could be a problem b/c cubital tunnel is considered a "repetitive use" disorder, and some doctors believe it takes a certain period of time for cubital tunnel, and the symptoms it causes, to develop.

I would suggest that you retain an attorney as soon as possible to file a claim and take the necessary steps to try to obtain an award for medical treatment.

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Posted

When i said from the get go, it meant since the pain started. I have been working for the company for almost five years. I started as a bagger and cart pusher, went on to checking and stocking, and now do checking, rarely stocking, hanging tags and working in the service center. The checking portion as well as service center portion(sometimes) requires bagging when no bagger is available which is at least 50% of the time.

Posted

You need to immediately hire a competent workers' comp lawyer to help you.

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