Hand and finger injuries are two of the most common causes for workers’ compensation claims. Not only do these injuries occur often, but because of their nature, they can make it virtually impossible for a person to do any work – and they can take a very long time to heal.
Today, we are going to look at the ins and outs of making a claim for compensation if you sustain an injury to your hands or fingers while in the course of your job duties.
Common injuries to hands and fingers
You can suffer debilitating hand or finger injuries in an office setting, while driving, farming, and even teaching in a classroom. Workers’ compensation claims can be filed for various hand and finger injuries, including:
- Broken bones
- Crushing injuries leading to amputation
- Nerve damage leading to permanent loss of feeling or chronic pain
Is carpal tunnel considered a work injury?
Yes, carpal tunnel is considered a work injury. Despite this, it can be difficult to succeed when filing a workers’ compensation claim. Many insurance companies will do their best to deny claims for carpal tunnel, saying that the injury might have been present when the employee was working elsewhere or that the employee suffered it at home.
Carpal tunnel syndrome often affects both hands at the same time, but one hand can experience more severe symptoms than the other. Professions that see carpal tunnel injuries the most include construction workers, data entry, factory/assembly line workers, workers who use a computer all day long, musicians, and more.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include the following:
- Tingling, numbness, burning, or prickling sensations in the hands.
- Difficulty gripping, holding tools, using a computer mouse, typing, or squeezing anything with your hands.
- Pain or discomfort when performing everyday activities that require the use of your hands.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is often treated with anti-inflammatory medication, a hand splint to limit the movement of the wrist, and surgery (for the most severe cases). Depending on the method of treatment required, you could miss months of time at work in order to recover.
Factors that impact a hand and finger injury claim
There are a variety of factors that go into the success of a hand or finger-related workers’ compensation claim in Tulsa, including the following:
- Which hand (dominant or non-dominant) was injured
- Whether your work is reliant upon use of your hands
- The cause of the injury
- The medical report
- If surgery was required to repair your injury
- The level of permanent impairment from the injury
- Whether or not you suffer scarring and/or disfigurement
What kinds of benefits can I receive for hand and finger injuries?
Suffering an injury to your hand or fingers can force you to miss work for an extended period of time and sometimes permanently, depending on the severity of the injury. If you are going to file a workers’ compensation claim for such an accident, you can calculate the compensation based on the maximum values set forth by the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission for permanent and partial disability related to the hands, fingers, and arms.
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD). If you cannot work at all, you can collect TTD benefits – 70% of your weekly wage, up to $923.53 – for up to 104 weeks (depending on the severity).
- Permanent Total Disability (PTD). If your injury is permanent and leaves you unable to work, you may be entitled to receive the same $923.53 per week until you are old enough to collect Social Security benefits or for 15 years, whichever is longer.
- Permanent Partial Impairment (PPI). These benefits are for workers who are injured, but still able to work in some capacity. They’re capped at $350 a week but can often be commuted into one lump sum. The length of time you can collect varies by injury:
- Arms and legs: up to 275 weeks
- Hands and feet: up to 220 weeks
- Thumb: up to 66 weeks
- First finger: up to 39 weeks
- Second finger: up to 33 weeks
- Third finger: up to 22 weeks
- Fourth finger: up to 17 weeks
Rates for injuries incurred before January 1, 2021 can be found here.
Why would a hand and finger workers’ compensation claim be denied?
It’s not uncommon for a hand and finger workers’ compensation claim to be denied. However, you can reduce the chances that this happens by working with a Tulsa workers’ compensation attorney prior to filing the claim. Reasons for a claim being denied include the following:
- The disability rating has been disputed
- You have a pre-existing condition
- The injury was not witnessed by anyone else
- The injury was not reported immediately
- A workers’ compensation claim was filed after you were laid off or fired
- Drugs were discovered in your system
- Discrepancies are present between the medical report and the accident report
Workers’ compensation or personal injury lawsuit?
Because of the catastrophic nature of a permanent hand or finger injury, you may be better served by filing a personal injury lawsuit instead of filing for workers’ compensation, especially if there is third-party liability. If, for example, your injury was the result of a defective product – such as a malfunctioning press, a faulty power tool, or a defective airbag that crushed a hand – then filing a personal injury lawsuit may be the better option. You may also wish to file an injury lawsuit if your injuries were the result of someone else’s negligence. These are options we can discuss during our initial consultation.
Did you suffer an injury to your hand or fingers while at work? If so, Biby Law Firm can help point you in the right direction for experienced workers’ compensation help or assist you in filing a third-party personal injury claim. Contact us in Tulsa at 918.574.8458 or fill out our contact form. Your initial consultation is free.
Jacob Biby has spent his legal career helping folks just like you get the resources they need after an injury. He completed his undergraduate degree at Oklahoma State University and earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Tulsa in 2008. Jacob is licensed to practice in all Oklahoma state and federal courts, and has limited his career to representing individuals and families who were injured by the negligence of other people or corporations. Learn more about Jacob Biby.