Hand injuries can lead to a variety of complications in both your professional and personal life. We use our hands for just about anything that comes to mind. An injury to your hands is an injury that can be life-changing and cause long-term physical and mental pain. Hand injuries can occur to individuals performing stressful repetitive tasks that put the strain on the soft tissue and bone structure of the hand. Often times people working with their hands develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) or other illnesses that affect the hand movement. In addition, hands are susceptible to cuts, burns, and amputations that result from the usage of heavy or faulty equipment. Whatever the case may be, in a work-related accident you are covered by the State Workers’ Compensation insurance.
Workers in construction, administration, medicine, and other industries heavily rely on their ability to work with their hands. If you suffer a work-related injury that has affected your hand movement and abilities you are entitled to seek workers’ compensation insurance. When filing a workers’ compensation claim, it is crucial that you consult with an attorney to determine if you are capable of filing for additional compensations. While workers’ compensation provides medical and wage loss benefits, you may be entitled to compensations from a third party. Your hand-related injury may have resulted from additional factors that cannot be attributed to employer negligence. In these cases, if you suffer a hand injury as a result of an equipment malfunction, you may pursue a lawsuit for additional compensations aside from those provided by your company's workers compensations insurance.
The Orange County Workers’ Compensation Attorneys understand how important hands are for everyday activities especially for those who rely on their hands to perform job-related tasks. Your hands have developed skills unique to your trade that have made you a valuable worker. Our attorneys understand that after a hand related accident, your hand may never regain its motion, sense of touch, grip, and the ability to perform daily tasks. The Orange County Workers’ Compensation Attorneys are determined to help you win different compensations to assure you get the most out of your hand injury. Damaging your hands can have drastic financial repercussions if the injury is great enough to keep you from working.
If you suffer from a repetitive motion injury or other hand-related injuries caused by work-related stress or other work-related factors, you are entitled to the benefits under workers’ compensation. In addition, if you are disabled for a period of time, you are protected from discrimination at the workplace by the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) along with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The FEHA and ADA law attempts to support and draw guidelines to facilitate the daily lives of people living with a disability. In many cases, you are entitled to reasonable accommodations at the workplace to help reduce the amount of stress on your injury.
If you choose to work while you recover, you are entitled to ask your employer for accommodations at the workplace. Your employer is obligated to fulfill your request unless the accommodation would provide undue hardships to the company. To learn more about your rights as an employee suffering from a hand-related injury, please contact our offices at 949-423-3212.
The Orange County Workers Compensation Attorneys are ready to help you through this devastating time assuring that you receive some form of compensation for your work-related injury. We practice law to ensure that all California employees receive the medical and financial attention they require so that they can focus on recovering rather than on financial stress.
Hand Injuries at The Workplace
The Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S Department of Labor, released in their 2015 report that hand injuries were among the most common types of injuries that occur in the workplace. Hand and wrist injuries across the private, local, state and government sector amounted to 181,420 reported non-fatal hand injuries at the workplace. In the same time, hand tools injuries amounted to 44,350 work-related injuries. There a several types of ways in which an individual can develop a hand-related injury: a repetitive stress injury, a slip, trip, or fall, equipment malfunctions, burns, electrocution, employee distraction or carelessness.
RSI and Workers Compensation
Repetitive stress injuries (RSI) otherwise known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) can affect different parts of the body depending on the type of motion, the duration of the physical activity, and the amount of stress the activity puts on your joints and musculoskeletal system. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2014 there were (across the private, local, state, and government) 365,580 MSD/RSI work-related injuries. Repetitive stress injuries in the hand can lead to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome which is the swelling of the tendons that run through the carpal tunnel (a small bone at the base of our palm). This swelling of the tendon can affect the movement of your hand and cause extreme joint and muscle pain which can make it difficult to perform daily activities. Other injuries that result from stress to the musculoskeletal system in the hands are DeQuervain's tenosynovitis, trigger finger, and tendonitis of the wrist.
People who are prone to a repetitive strain injury in the hand are construction workers especially those working with power tools, chemicals, or fire (such as roofers). People in nursing, maintenance, administration and other general work that requires constant hand movements are prone to hand injuries too. In general people may be subject to an RSI if they:
- Work for a long period of time with improper posture such as using the wrong tools for the job or typing without using the right ergonomic tool for the job.
- Work with computer keyboards, power tools, or other equipment that utilizes the hand muscles
- Work for long periods of time without taking breaks
- Have a medical condition such as diabetes or arthritis
People working with their hands should provide enough resting time between work periods so that their hands do not develop an RSI. If you develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), DeQuervain's tenosynovitis, trigger finger, and tendonitis of the wrist you may need surgery or prescribed medicine to correct the damage in your hands. Whether you decide to receive medical treatment or simply wish to recover with time, you are entitled to file a workers’ compensation benefits claim that will allow you to take the time and resources you need to recover.
A repetitive stress injury occurs very often due to the reality that hands are essential for just about any activity imaginable. For this reason, bringing a repetitive stress injury claim to your employer may result in some pushback if your employer believes the RSI developed in part due to other daily activities. The Orange County Workers Compensation Attorneys believe RSI are very serious injuries that can have long-term effects on an employee. An RSI should not be regarded as simply normal wear and tear, RSI develop over long periods of strenuous working conditions.
Our attorneys believe that if you experience a work-related stress injury you should be entitled to workers’ compensation that will help aid your recovery. There are many factors that are considered when filing workers compensation for an RSI which is why you are advised to seek medical attention as soon as your pain begins. It is important to keep medical records of your injury so that you have proof of your claim when filing for workers’ compensation. If you are denied your workers’ compensation benefits, we are ready to help you claim at the very least some form of medical coverage so you are freed from your medical bills which can easily add up.
Slips, Trips, and Falls and Workers’ Compensation
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released that in 2014 there were approximately 360,650 reported work-related injuries that resulted from slips, trips, and falls (STF). Slips, trips, and falls can lead to a number of hand-related injuries including broken bones, damaged soft tissue, sprains and sometimes amputation depending on the severity of the fall.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), there are certain regulations that exist in a workplace that aim to prevent slips, trips, and falls. In a nutshell, NIOSH has put in place regulations that encourage employers to: create a floor cleaning program so that liquids and obstructions are removed when detected, maintain dry floors, provide awareness posters that explain cleaning procedures and work-related hazards, provide slip-resistant footwear to all employees in the working facility, and most importantly, employers should train all employees so that they know the dangers of the workplace.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, on the other hand, provides a wide array of regulations that are applicable to workplaces in different industries. Under OSHA, your employer has the obligation to keep you, your hands, and everyone else safe and free from any work-related hazard. Having this huge responsibility means that employers need to take certain steps to ensure the workplace is safe. Employers can provide a safe working environment by:
- Employing people who know how to perform a task without injuring themselves. For example, if you are employing for construction, your employee should know how to use power tools and other heavy-duty equipment to avoid hand injuries.
- Allowing their employees to ask for safety inspections. Under OSHA, an employer cannot discriminate against an employee for requesting an inspection. As an employer, you should take the request seriously and if possible correct the hazardous situation immediately.
- Providing all employees with reasonable gear to prevent work-related injuries. Workers in construction should wear protective hand gear to avoid chemical burns from concrete mix and other substances.
- Providing continuous inspections of power tools to ensure the tools provided are safe to use. Tools malfunction very often which is why employers have the responsibility to provide tool maintenance and frequent inspections.
Your employer has the task to keep everyone safe in a workplace to prevent slips, trips, and falls, that may damage a part of your body. Keeping your hands free from hazardous conditions is a responsibility that rests on your employer's shoulders. If you suffer a work-related injury as a result of falling or slipping while on the job, you are entitled to seek workers’ compensation benefits.
As mentioned earlier, your employer has the responsibility to follow the codes of conduct established above to keep safe walking environments and ultimately provide a safe working environment for all employees at the workplace. Any violation of the regulations stated above that lead to a work-related injury is reason enough to file a workers’ compensation claim. Cases that involve slips, trips, and falls are processed much easier than RSI claims.
Equipment or Machine Malfunction and Workers Compensation
People working with their hands have most likely experienced a hammer to the hand, electrocution, cuts, and in some cases burns. Sometimes your own carelessness can result in your hand injury, however, there are times when your hand injury is a result of equipment/machine malfunctions. Injuries that result from using power tools or other heavy duty equipment have greater repercussions than for those who have suffered a hand RSI or other hand-related injuries. When equipment malfunctions it can permanently disable an employee and in greater tragedies, equipment malfunction can cause a person their life.
If you have been exposed to faulty machinery or equipment that has led to a work-related injury, you are able to seek workers’ compensation benefits. It is easier to prove employer liability in accidents resulting from slips, trips, and falls, or equipment and machinery malfunctions than with RSI cases. Our attorneys are ready to assist you with a workers’ compensation claim and provide you with additional options to pursue supplementary compensations from third party members.
If your machine or equipment malfunction lead to the amputation of your hand or has severely damaged your soft tissue and bones, you may be entitled to seek reparations from the manufacturer. Our attorneys explore all the possible ways that you can receive additional compensations.
Hand injuries can have devastating effects on a person's professional and personal lifestyle. It can prevent you from enjoying life activities which may cause you psychological and physical stress. The Orange County Workers Compensation Attorneys believe that hand injuries are a very serious issue which is why we deal with every hand injury case with the highest level of professionalism. If you are seeking legal representation and guidance on your hand injury case, please contact our offices at 949-423-3212.