Repetitive stress injuries are common on the job, with carpal tunnel syndrome being one of the most well-known. However, there is a repetitive motion causing another type of injury to Pennsylvania workers called cubital tunnel syndrome, also known as ulnar neuropathy.
Employees who suffer work related cubital tunnel syndrome should consider their eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits. When doing so, it is very important to understand the specific types of injuries that qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, the process for filing a workers’ compensation claim, the amount of compensation to expect based on the severity of the injury, and the role an attorney can play in the claims process.
If you’d like to file for workers’ compensation, consult our law firm and meet with one of our attorneys. Your initial consultation is free, and we can guide you through each step of your workers’ compensation case.
What Is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?
According to the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, cubital tunnel syndrome is “a condition in the upper extremities that involves pressure or stretching of the ulnar nerve (also known as the “funny bone” nerve), which can cause numbness or tingling in the ring and small fingers, pain in the forearm, and/or weakness in the hand. The ulnar nerve runs in a groove on the inner side of the elbow.”
While carpal tunnel syndrome tends to affect thumbs and the first two or three fingers on your hand, cubital tunnel tends to affect your pinky and ring fingers, leading to problems gripping things, hand weakness, and pain. Elbow pain is also common.
Like shoulder injuries, neck injuries, and back injuries, cubital tunnel syndrome and ulner nerve damage can make it difficult or even impossible to do your job, and prolonged cubital tunnel system can lead to reflex sympathetic dystrophy, also known as complex regional pain disorder, which is a state of chronic and severe pain.
Average Workers’ Compensation Settlements for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
A workers’ compensation claim for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome and ulnar nerve injuries may fall anywhere between $2,000 to $40,000.
Below is a table of estimated workers’ comp settlement amounts based on the NSC claim cost average for both cumulative and hand injuries.
|Severity of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome||Estimated Settlement Amounts||Types of Injury|
|Mild||$1,000- $15,000||Mild hand pain, slight numbness, tingling|
|Moderate to Severe||$15,000- $25,000||Hand pain, numbness, weak grip, muscle weakness|
|Extremely Severe||$25,000- $40,000||Complex regional pain disorder|
Disclaimer: Keep in mind that only a small percentage of cases will see awards exceeding $40,000. Also, settlements will vary on a case by case basis. Estimates are based on national averages for the previous year and are not indicative of any future awards.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome and Ulnar Nerve Injuries
Under the Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act, workers who suffer ulnar nerve injuries on the job due to Cubital Tunnel Syndrome injuries are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits including:
- Wage Loss Benefits (paid in weekly installments or in lump-sum settlements)
- Payment of medical expenses
- Specific loss benefits (loss of limb/use of limb)
- Disfigurement benefits
Weekly compensation loss benefits in Pennsylvania range between 66.6% and 90% of your average weekly wage (AWW) and are capped at $1,025.00 per week.
Your Workers’ compensation benefits are based on:
- Severity of your injury and impairment
- Wage loss due to the injury and your inability to work
- Cost of medical care you incur from your injury
Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, injured workers are eligible for financial protection in the form of lost wage reimbursement, partial disability benefits, or temporary total disability benefits, along with full medical treatment coverage in the event of a work injury.
In Pennsylvania, employers are required by law to purchase workers’ compensation insurance and it is your employer’s insurance company that will provide for the cost of your medical benefits such as specific surgeries or physical therapy vocational rehabilitation necessary for your recovery.
Compensation and coverage for medical bills afforded under the Act, are typically determined by the severity and type of the workplace injury an employee suffers, as well as the amount of lost wages and period the employee is unable to work.
What Causes Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?
Ulnar nerve damage leading to cubital tunnel syndrome has a few potential causes, according to ASSH:
- Pressure: Leaning on the elbow, resting the elbow on an elbow rest during a long-distance drive, or other forms of direct pressure can compress the nerve.
- Stretching: If your elbow is bent for very long periods of time, the nerve can stretch. This sometimes happens, for example, while you’re sleeping.
- Movement: The nerve tends to move back and forth over a bony protrusion in the elbow. Over time, this repeated movement irritates the nerve, cause the soft tissue over the nerve to thicken, and ultimately prevent the nerve from working properly.
How Can You Get Cubital Tunnel Syndrome On The Job?
Cubital tunnel syndrome due to work usually affects people whose jobs require repetitive stress or motion. The types of jobs that may lead to cubital tunnel problems are similar to those that lead to carpal tunnel. Just a few examples include:
- Office work
- Assembly line work
- Manufacturing and factory work
- Meatpacking/meat processing
- Mechanical repair work
- Construction workers and carpenters
- Painters (using sprayers, holding brushes/scrapers)
- Musicians (using a bow, fingering of piano and other instruments)
- Cashiers/retail (using laser scanner at checkout)
- Locksmiths (turning keys)
- Truck drivers and forklift drivers
Workers who develop cubital tunnel syndrome will need strong representation from highly experienced workers’ compensation lawyers—like those at Krasno Krasno & Onwudinjo—because insurers frequently attempt to claim that this problem was not caused by work activities.
Talk to a Workers Compensation Attorney About Your Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Claim
Talking to one of Krasno Krasno & Onwudinjo workers’ comp lawyers about cubital tunnel syndrome- it may be just what you need to start taking care of yourself and getting the compensation you deserve. If you’re worried about costs, don’t be. Your initial conversation is free, and you don’t pay any attorney fees unless we get a recovery for you.