Hand Injury at Work
If you have sustained a hand injury at work in an accident, or are suffering from a repetitive strain injury brought on by your employment, you may be entitled to claim hand injury at work compensation for your pain and suffering and to recover loss of earnings and other expenses. Severe hand injuries such as the loss of a hand or fingers in an accident can lead to substantial loss of amenity, long periods of absence from work, and may even affect future job prospects. Even relatively minor hand injuries can be severely debilitating and painful, and can have long term implications for health and wellbeing.
Any accident at work in which a hand injury is sustained can result in a successful claim for hand injury at work compensation, provided that the injury was caused by the negligence of an employer and could have been avoided had proper health and safety procedures been adhered to. As long as the accident which caused a hand injury at work was not entirely the fault of the victim, it should be possible to claim hand injury at work compensation against an employer’s liability insurance policy.
Reasons for Claiming Hand Injury at Work Compensation
It has been estimated that approximately ten percent of injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms are for injuries sustained to the hands, and that 25 percent of injuries are caused due to accidents at work. There are many health conditions which affect the numerous muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones in the hand, many of which can result in a successful hand injury at work claims being made. The most common reasons for making hand injury at work claims include:
- Repetitive strain injuries
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Vibration white finger
- Fractured or broken bones
- Crushing injuries
- Muscle and tendon damage
- Severed fingers and hands
- Sprains, strains and tendinopathy
- Lacerations and contusions
- Nerve damage
- Dislocated joints
- Skin reactions
Eligibility to Make a Hand Injury at Work Claim
Under the Health and Safety at Work Etc Act (1974) an employer has a legal responsibility to conduct regular risk assessments in the workplace. Any hazards must be eliminated when it is practical to do so, and staff must be given appropriate training to reduce the risk of injury. Any worker who is at risk of sustaining a hand injury at work must be given the appropriate health and safety equipment to ensure that duties can be performed safely. Work equipment and machinery must have appropriate safeguards to avoid trapping hands or clothing, such as machine guards, and power cut off switches should be installed. Those at risk of sustaining a hand injury at work due to repetitive actions or contact with substances that may cause dermatitis should be advised of the hazards associated with their jobs and provided with personal protective equipment or training on the safest way to avoid injury.
Should a hand injury at work be sustained by a member of staff which could have been avoided had better care been taken by an employer, a claim for hand injury at work compensation should be possible. However, in order for a hand injury at work claim to be successful, it must be demonstrated that an employer has been negligent and has failed in his duty of care to protect employees from coming to harm. If an employer has not complied with health and safety legislation and a worker has sustained a hand injury at work as a direct result, a claim for a hand injury at work will be possible and should have a strong chance of being successful.
Hand Injury at Work Claims for Repetitive Strain Injuries
The loss of a finger, thumb or hand in an industrial accident is an obvious reason for making a hand injury at work claim; however employees suffering from much less dramatic injuries are still entitled to claim hand injury at work compensation. Repetitive strain injuries can be highly debilitating and painful, and may even prevent an employee from being able to work for extended periods during recovery. When repetitive activities have to be completed as part of an employees work duties, an employer has a legal responsibility to ensure the risk of repetitive strain injuries are kept to a minimum level. An employer must provide training on how to avoid repetitive strain injuries, Health and Safety Executive booklets must be made available to staff, and regular breaks should be provided and tasks rotated between staff members to reduce the risk of injury.
Long term use of vibrating tools or even small twisting movements from operating machinery can easily lead to repetitive strain injuries being suffered. Typists and data entry staff are at a particularly high risk of suffering from repetitive strain injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, and an employer should be aware of the risks of these conditions and take steps to help staff from sustaining a hand injury at work. When repetitive strain injuries are suffered due to an employer not taking adequate precautions to reduce the risks to staff, it may be possible to claim hand injury at work compensation.
Awards of Compensation for a Hand Injury at Work
A claim for a hand injury at work is often necessary to recover loss of earnings and the costs of medical treatment; however many other expenses can be included in a hand injury at work claim. It is possible to claim transportation costs if your hand injury prevents you from driving, changes to the home which are necessitated by an injury and any expense which can be directly attributed to an injury. All expenses and costs are made in a hand injury at work claim for Special Damages. When a personal injury solicitor calculates how much compensation for hand injury at work can be claimed, an assessment will be made as to whether an expense can be included under special damages.
The second aspect of a claim for hand injury at work compensation covers any pain and suffering caused by the injury, and loss of amenity caused by temporary or permanent loss of function of the hand. Loss of amenity can be considerable with claims for permanent loss, such as amputation of a finger, thumb or hand. General damages for a hand injury at work are highly variable, and the calculation of compensation amounts can be highly complex. For an accurate assessment of your full entitlement to hand injury at work compensation you should allow a personal injury solicitor to fully assess your claim.
Summary of Compensation for a Hand Injury at Work
Whether you have sustained cuts and bruises in an accident at work, contracted a repetitive strain injury or dermatitis, or have lost a hand in an industrial accident you should contact a personal injury solicitor for legal advice about claiming hand injury compensation. You will be able to recover compensation to cover financial expenses and should receive recompense for any pain and suffering. Provided that you have sought medical attention for your hand injury, and the accident has been recorded in your employer’s accident book, a hand injury at work claim should be possible.
All articles are written or edited by Eoin Campbell.