The hand and wrist injuries that most often form the basis of a successful workers’ compensation claim include:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) : Excessive typing, regular use of vibrating machinery, or any job that requires prolonged flexion of the wrist can pinch the carpal tunnel – the tube that protects the main nerve to the hand and fingers. CTS causes hand tingling and numbness which can prevent workers from doing their job. A degenerative condition, CTS will continue to worsen over time without medical intervention. Other repetitive hand and wrist injuries include tendonitis and tenosynovitis.
- Hand sprains and strains : Can result from heavy lifting as well as strenuous twisting or thrusting motions. A sprain involves damage to the ligaments that hold the bones of the hand together, while a strain involves an injury to the muscle or muscle sheath. Severe damage to a ligament or muscle in the hand is diagnosed with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These types of injuries can cause swelling and temporary loss of functionality in the hand, wrist, and fingers. Surgery in some cases is required, but most hand sprains and strains will improve with time and rest.
- Fractures : Twenty-seven bones comprise the hand, while an additional eight bones are found in the wrist. Fractures of these small and often delicate bones are common in occupations where heavy objects are not only lifted but also frequently dropped. Additionally, a hand or wrist fracture can occur whenever a worker must repeatedly strike a solid object.
- Amputations : The most costly hand and wrist injury of all, amputations occur acutely at the time of a traumatic injury or subsequently, or in surgery when a finger or hand cannot be saved. Pennsylvania workers who suffer a hand amputation may be eligible to receive approximately $318,585 in workers’ compensation benefits – more than double the $114,930 national average for the same injury. Pennsylvanians generally receive more than workers in neighboring states when a work injury results in an amputated thumb or finger. Workers who use cutting machinery, including hand saws, are most vulnerable to these permanent, disabling injuries.
Do Not Ignore a Hand or Wrist Injury
Regardless of whether a hand or wrist injury occurs suddenly or develops gradually over time, employees should assert their right to workers’ compensation benefits as soon as their injury becomes apparent. According to the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, hand and wrist injuries are particularly pricey for employers, accounting for up to 56% of total production costs. Employers can also expect to pay a premium in indirect costs, including the costs associated with training temporary replacement workers and repairing damaged equipment that caused the hand or wrist injury in question.
An employee who suffers a hand or wrist injury due to an unsafe work environment or negligence by an employer bears an even greater responsibility to file a workers compensation claim. Not only will the successful pursuit of workers’ compensation benefits provide partial pay and medical coverage while the injured employee recovers, but it will also serve as a powerful incentive for an employer to take steps to ensure worker safety going forward.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers of Gross & Kenny, LLP Obtain Compensation for Workers Suffering From a Hand or Wrist Injury
Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers of Gross & Kenny, LLP, are well-versed in work-related injuries of the hand and wrist. If you recently suffered an acute hand or wrist injury on the job or suspect a developing hand or wrist injury, contact us at 215-512-1500, or complete our online form to schedule a free initial consultation at our Philadelphia offices.