Workers' Compensation Hand Injuries
If you or a loved one has a work related injury, or you have contracted a workplace illness, it is vital that you contact a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. A workplace accident is covered by workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation covered the cost of medical treatment, lost wages, potential lost earnings, death benefits, etc.
Insurance companies want to give you as little money for your claim as possible, in order to keep their profits up. They have extensive legal teams, and use the complexities of the workers’ compensation process to give injured workers less compensation, or none. The attorneys at Bellotti Law Group, P.C. have over 38 years of experience in workers’ compensation cases, and will fight to ensure you receive the maximum compensation possible. There are NO FEES unless we win. Call 617-225-2100 for a free case evaluation today.
How Much Does Workers’ Compensation Pay for a Hand Injury
The amount you can receive depends on the specifics of your case. If you have been released for full duty work, the average workers’ compensation settlement for hand injury claims is usually $15,000 to $35,000. If you are unable to return to your pre-injury job, or if you have suffered additional injuries in the accident, then you may be able to recover $85,000 or more.
If your hand injury involves your thumb finger, index finger, or your middle finger, you will probably be able to settle for more money than any injuries affecting the little or ring fingers.
Factors That Influence the Amount in a Workers’ Compensation Settlement
There are many factors that determine a fair workers’ compensation settlement.
One factor is one’s occupation, such as the degree to which your hand is needed to fulfill your job’s duties. The increased expectation of frequent handling can increase the amount of the potential settlement.
Injury to Dominant Hand
If the injury has been made to your dominant hand, and this increases the difficulty at work then this also can increase the settlement value of the hands. Workers’ compensation payments can also be determined by your pre-injury average weekly wage.
The amount your job or workplace duties has caused your hand injury can also determine your settlement amount. Causation is a legal term, which refers to the connection between a workplace accident and workplace injury.
Treating Physician’s Opinion
Orthopedic surgeons treat injuries to the hands. If your treating physician were to write a report that would support your case. In instances where a doctor gives an injured worker a supportive report, the claim of that worker is likely to have a higher settlement value.
A supportive medical report is one that contains a causal link between your workplace accident and the hand injury. Supportive medical reports may also include work restrictions, permanent impairment rating, or a summary of any potential future medical expenses. In cases where the treating physician is not supportive, the workers’ compensation claim would be weaker.
The Independent Medical Examination (IME)
Some workers’ compensation insurance companies will ask you to attend an IME. An IME is an examination that is conducted with a doctor chosen by your employer’s insurance company. This evaluation is solely for litigation. Most of the time, the IME doctor’s report is not supportive of your claim. However, a favorable report would increase the value of your settlement.
Workers’ Compensation Award Letter
The Workers’ Compensation Commission will send you a workers’ compensation award letter when your case has won at trial, or if the insurance company has accepted your claim. This letter can be used to negotiate fair hand injury settlement.
Medical Treatment/Hand Surgery
If your hand injury required surgery, you would likely receive a higher impairment rating, which results in a higher amount for a workers’ compensation settlement.
If Medicaid or a private health insurance paid for treatment for the work injury before the settlement, then your claim is entitled to a higher potential settlement amount.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
Hand injuries that develop CRPS may require further medical treatment. Medical treatment for chronic pain will likely increase the workers’ compensation settlement.
Level of Impairment/Restrictions
Impairment is the loss or deformity of the body or its functioning. A bigger permanent impairment rating increases the settlement value of the injury. When maximum medical improvement for the hand injury is reached, the treating physician may refer you for Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE).
The purpose of this evaluation is to determine any permanent restrictions due to the nature of the injury. If any permanent restrictions occur that do not allow you to carry out the job you had prior to your injury, you are more likely to have a higher settlement amount.
The symptoms of your hand injury also affects your ability to work, and additionally, this can increase the value of your settlement. Additionally, recurring symptoms may cause you to need additional medical treatment, which may also be able to increase the value of your settlement.
Scarring or Disfigurement
Payments for certain scarring or disfigurement are given to injured workers. Hand injuries that result in the buildup of scar tissue are eligible for additional compensation.
Certain employers require resignation as a part of the settlement. If your employer has asked for resignation as a condition of the settlement, your settlement will likely increase and release the employer from any employment law claims associated with you.
Future Medical Treatment
In most workers’ compensation settlements, there may be a clause about a buyout out of future medical care. The amount of medical treatment that is required affects the amount of your settlement. The more treatment that your hand injury needs, the higher the settlement value of your case. Surgery, physical therapy, occupational therapy, prescription medication, and vocational rehabilitation will all affect your settlement amount.
Mental Health Problems
You may develop post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, or anxiety from the workplace injury. Workers’ compensation may cover these mental health issues, if they are accompanied by a physical injury. The cost of treatments for these conditions affects settlement negotiations.
Third Party Cases
You may be able to make a third party civil action arise out of your workplace injury. If someone else caused the hand injury, you may have a third party claim for additional settlement compensation.
Maximum Compensation for Permanent Loss or Loss of Use for Hand Injuries
The Workers’ Compensation Act stipulates maximum values for permanent partial disability benefits. The maximum amount of money you can receive for certain body parts vary:
- Arm: 200 weeks of compensation
- Hand: 150 weeks of compensation
- Thumb: 60 weeks of compensation
- Index Finger Injury: 35 weeks of compensation
- Middle Finger Injury: 30 weeks of compensation
- Ring Finger Injury: 30 weeks of compensation
- Pinkie Injury: 15 weeks of compensation
Common Hand Injuries
Many hand injuries include lacerations and cuts, as well as punctures, chemical exposures, burns, sprains, crush injuries, fractures, amputations, nerve injuries, repetitive motion injuries, strains, etc.
How to File a Workers’ Comp. Claim for a Hand Injury
It is crucial to begin the workers’ compensation claims process as soon as possible, and that your claim is filed properly. Meeting deadlines and filing the correct paperwork can greatly influence the success of your compensation claim.
Report the Injury to Your Employer
As soon as you can, you should notify your employer about a work related injury. You should report your injury within the first 21 days of the incident. If you report your injury after the first 21 days of the incident, you are still eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. A work related injury or illness needs to be reported within the first 120 days of the incident in order to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Seek Medical Attention
For your own health and safety, you should seek out a medical professional as soon as you can so that your injuries can be treated properly. If you see a medical professional for your injuries, documentation for the injuries can be used as evidence to support your workers’ comp claim.
Contact an Attorney
Workers' compensation covers medical treatment associated with the injury, vocational training and rehabilitation, scarring or disfigurement, lost wages, death benefits for surviving family members, and disability benefits. The workers’ compensation attorney at Bellotti Law Group, P.C. have over 38 years of experience and will ensure that you receive the maximum compensation possible for your case. The lawyers at Bellotti Law Group, P.C. fight aggressively for their clients, and there are no fees unless you win! Call 617-225-2100 for a free consultation today.