Hand injuries are among the most common types of workplace injuries. If you sustained a hand injury at work, you could likely access compensation for your resulting losses through a workers’ comp claim or other possible benefits. An experienced attorney at Recovery Law Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, can help you understand workers’ comp hand injury settlements and other avenues to compensation. Contact our Hawaii workers’ compensation lawyers to begin.
Common Hand Injuries From Work-Related Accidents
Hand injuries can vary greatly in their severity and potential for a full recovery. Some of the most common types of hand injuries from work accidents include the following:
- Broken and fractured bones
- Partial or complete finger amputations
- Puncture wounds
- Burn and crush injuries
- Total loss of the hand
Avulsion fractures are common in fall cases. The injury occurs when someone attempts to break their fall with an outstretched hand, causing tiny pieces of bone to detach from a ligament or tendon.
Hand injuries can occur in virtually any type of workplace. They are most common among construction workers, manufacturing and warehouse workers and people working in the restaurant industry, including cooks and servers.
Prevention of Hand Injuries in the Workplace
Employers prefer to avoid workers’ comp hand injury settlements. So, they commonly provide personal protective equipment to help prevent injuries. This can include appropriate work gloves to create a barrier between the hands and hazardous chemicals, extreme heat or cold, slivers and splinters.
In addition, employees working with sharp objects should have tear-resistant gloves to help prevent lacerations or puncture wounds. If your employer did not provide safety gloves made from suitable materials to protect you from the hazards specific to your job, a workers’ compensation attorney could help you understand how that may impact your claim.
The Role of a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Seeking workers’ comp for loss of a finger or any other hand injury should be a straightforward process. However, an array of factors can impact how a case unfolds, and having a legal representative ensures you have someone knowledgeable to protect you from anyone who may attempt to violate your rights. Here are some ways that an attorney can help you:
- Investigate the workplace accident to find sufficient evidence supporting your claim
- Assist you with all administrative work, such as completing and filing the necessary paperwork, to ensure it is free of errors that could delay your payments
- Review the decision and guide you through the next steps, which sometimes include an appeal process for a denied claim
- Explore the possibility of third-party liability to see if you have a potential personal injury claim
Workers’ compensation claims have a no-fault basis, meaning you can access compensation without the insurance provider or your employer questioning your role in sustaining a hand injury.
Additionally, employers have protection from liability lawsuits under workers’ comp law. However, when the party liable for your injury is someone outside your workplace, you could potentially seek recovery of damages through a local civil court.
Situations Where You Can File a Lawsuit for a Workplace Hand Injury
Sometimes, you can step outside the no-fault workers’ comp system or supplement it by filing a lawsuit. For example, you could sue the manufacturer if you sustained a hand injury caused by defective machinery, equipment, products or tools used for your position.
You may also file a lawsuit against someone unrelated to your job. For example, if you were in a car accident caused by another driver while in transit to perform a task that falls under the scope of your position, you could receive workers’ comp and file a car accident claim against the at-fault driver simultaneously.
Additionally, you may sue someone for causing intentional harm during work hours. For example, if a co-worker hit or pushed you during a heated discussion, causing you to fall and fracture your hand, you could sue the co-worker for damages. With the help of an experienced workers’ comp attorney, you can access more compensation through a lawsuit than a workers’ comp claim.
Types of Compensation You Can Receive
In Hawaii, you may receive temporary total or partial disability benefits or complete total or partial disability benefits. Total disability benefits start on your fourth day of missed work and cover two-thirds of your weekly pay. If your hand injury causes a permanent total disability, the benefits are relatively the same, except for an annual adjustment to your payment in proportion to any changes to the maximum amount of the weekly benefit.
Partial disability benefits
Workers’ comp finger injury settlements may reflect losses from a partial disability. In Hawaii, a temporary partial disability benefit amounts to the difference between pre-injury average pay and current, post-injury pay. So, for example, if your injury requires you to work a lighter job, resulting in a $200 per week pay cut, you would receive a payment equaling two-thirds of that $200.
If you sustain permanent impairment of your hand, a doctor will provide a permanent partial disability rating in the form of a percentage multiplied by 244 and then multiplied again by the maximum permanent partial disability rate to create the total award available. In addition, if your injury resulted in permanent disfigurement, you may also receive a disfigurement award separately.
Recoverable damages from a lawsuit
Workers’ comp finger injury settlements are generally less effective than lawsuits at compensating for all losses associated with an injury. With a no-fault claim, you may only recover medical expenses and a portion of lost income. Through a civil lawsuit, you can recover all lost wages, medical bills, damaged property, replacement services and pain and suffering endured because of the injuries and necessary treatment.
Workers’ Comp Hand Injury Settlements in Hawaii
Hand and finger injuries can significantly hinder a person’s ability to work, regardless of their position before the injury. As a result, they may need financial compensation, and workers’ comp hand injury settlements can provide the necessary compensation.
At Recovery Law Center, you can speak with an experienced workers’ comp attorney about your claim and learn the legal avenues to compensation. Contact our law firm to schedule your free consultation today.