Did you know hand injuries are Australia’s most common workplace injuries, accounting for 38% of all work-related hospitalisations? As the host to 27 bones, as well as nerves, tendons, muscles and ligaments, our hands are majorly at risk when working in hazardous environments.
Unfortunately, hand injuries are usually painful and debilitating, with hefty medical costs and strains on your daily domestic routine. If your hand injury was sustained in the workplace, you may be eligible to receive compensation from your employer to cover the costs and damages.
Types of Workplace Hand Injuries
There’s a wide range of common workplace injuries to our hands and fingers. Trauma, sprains, and overuse can all cause hand injuries and usually require medical attention, time off, and physical therapy.
The types of hand injuries usually sustained at work include:
Broken hands are usually the result of a blow or fall to the hand, leaving it sore, swollen, and usually immobile. Treatment typically involves medical and hospital care, including x-rays, casts, and medications. Depending on the severity, broken hands can need surgery and rehabilitation.
Hand crush injuries
Hand crush injuries are experienced when the hand is crushed with force and weight. It’s often very serious with damage to the nerve, bones and tissues. In more severe cases, amputation of the fingers can happen due to significant loss of blood supply. Complex and lengthy medical treatment involves recovery, surgery, and rehabilitation.
Hard Arm Vibration Syndrome
Hard Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) occurs after multiple years of using vibrating machinery or tools. Exposure to vibrations can lead to permanent numbness in the fingers, muscle weakness, and a white finger. Whilst symptoms can be eased, HAVS can have a debilitating effect on the mobility and strength of your hands permanently.
Nerve damage can happen due to overuse, such as carpal tunnel, as well as trauma to the hand. Symptoms can be mild to severe, resulting in hand weakness, numbness, and even temporary or permanent paralysis. Medical care and rehabilitation can help treat nerve damage.
Hand burns are the result of scalds, chemicals, or fire. Depending on the burns’ degree, the injury can take upwards of 3 weeks to heal. In serious incidents, it could require lengthy skin and rehabilitation treatment to return to normal.
Sprains and strains
Sprains/strains affect the ligaments or tendons in your hand which can get sprained or strained from overuse or trauma td. In most cases, these sprains and strains can be healed with rest and simple strength training. However, in severe cases, x-rays and surgery could be needed.
Common Causes of Workplace Hand Injuries
These injuries can happen due to several different factors across a wide range of industries.
How do hand injuries happen in the workplace?
- human error
- accidents and falls
- lacerations or puncturing of hand
- getting caught, crushed, jammed or pinched in between machinery
- electrical, chemical or fire burns
- excessive exposure to power tools
- overuse or repetitive movements
People most at risk of hand injuries include welders, mechanics, construction, road workers, and factory workers. Their jobs require physical labor and dangerous machinery, increasing the risk of hand injuries.
Employers have a duty of care to maintain a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. If the hand injury has been the result of negligence and a failure to keep this duty of care, you may be eligible for compensation.
Am I Eligible To Make A Hand Injury Compensation Claim?
Your hand injury must be the result of your employer’s failure to maintain a safe and healthy workplace to claim compensation. If your employer has failed to uphold their duty of care or negligence has caused your injury, you are likely eligible for compensation.
You must provide evidence to support this case such as witness statements, medical evidence, photographic evidence, and accident reports.
The injury should have been reported to your employer and confirmed by a medical certificate of capacity to make the claim.
How Long After The Workplace Hand Injury Can I Claim?
In most instances, workplace compensation claims must be made within six months of the injury. However, in certain circumstances, this timeframe can be extended to three years.
In cases of latent onset hand injuries, you must make the compensation claim within 12 months of diagnosis.
We understand workplace hand injuries are often stressful, painful, and frustrating. If you believe your injury is the result of negligence, you should reach out to legal support as soon as possible to help understand your eligibility and the evidence you need to keep.
What Does Workplace Compensation Cover For A Hand Injury?
What Does Workplace Compensation Cover For A Hand Injury?
- Medical expenses and fees associated with receiving treatment and rehabilitation for your injury.
- Weekly wage payments whilst you are unable to work. This will be paid to you like your wages normally would.
- A lump sum payment is used to cover the ongoing costs, upcoming costs, and emotional damages of a latent onset injury.
- Domestic assistance payments cover the cost of domestic and daily care in cases where the victim is unable to care for themself due to the injury.
Compensation is determined based on the costs of general damages and special damages. General damages refer to compensation for pain and suffering and loss of quality of life the injury has caused. These are calculated case by case, depending on the severity and impact of the injury, whereas special damages cover the defined expenses of medications, procedures, and hospital bills.
How To Make a Hand Injury Compensation Claim
We understand the impact hand injuries can have on your ability to work and your overall quality of life. That’s why its important to understand what compensation you may eligible for after your workplace hand injury.
At GC Law, we can help you understand the amount of compensation you’re eligible for and your claim options throughout what could be a stressful time. Receive a free consultation with a GC Law Gold coast workplace injury lawyer to discuss claim options.