Hands are key body parts that are crucial to many different types of jobs and central to many people’s daily life. Unfortunately, this means that a hand injury at work can not only cause medical expenses, it can prevent you from doing your job. Workers’ Compensation is designed to cover not just the costs of medical expenses, but also lost wages due to a hand injury at work.
Unfortunately, no automated calculator can tell you the value of a Workers’ Compensation case and looking at averages would not be helpful for your case. Many factors contribute to an overall compensation settlement, from the type of injury to whether your hand is required to do your job. A review of the wide array of hand injuries and the factors that impact a compensation settlement amount shows the range of potential settlements. Ultimately, you will want to focus on a compensation amount that is appropriate for your specific injuries and lost wages.
One of the best ways to learn what you should expect from a settlement offer for a hand injury is to speak with our Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation attorneys at Lerner, Steinberg & Associates. Call us to schedule your free case review today at (215) 355-6400.
Types of Hand Injuries Covered by Workers’ Compensation in Pennsylvania
Hands are made up of many complex parts that have the potential to become injured. Workers’ Compensation generally covers hand injuries that occur while employees do their job. However, discussing the value of a hand injury in a Workers’ Compensation claim is complicated by the vast range of injuries to which a hand can be subjected.
Many minor and moderate hand injuries caused by repetitive, routine movements at a job are the more minor types seen in Workers’ Compensation claims. Arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome are common hand conditions that simple tasks like typing may cause. Workers who are required to manipulate a machine part and frequently stress their hand may suffer from a minor sprain or strain in the hand or fingers. Additionally, countless jobs could result in small lacerations to the hand that require stitches or a burn that requires medical treatment. While these injuries may have a minor impact on a person’s life and job duties, Workers’ Compensation can still cover their treatment.
Other more severe hand injuries can require more significant treatment and surgery to heal. Severe fractures caused by a hand being crushed or a torn ligament requiring surgery can put a person out of work for months. Regardless of the severity of the injury, if it occurs while a worker is performing their job then it may be covered by Workers’ Compensation, but the amount of money offered will vary based on the specifics of the injury. Our Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation attorneys can offer guidance on what amount of compensation
How Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Settlements are Calculated
When an employee suffers from a hand injury, they may be entitled to a few types of compensation. Pennsylvania law allows for reasonable medical expenses stemming from the injury, wage-loss benefits, and specific loss amounts in cases where a hand’s use is permanently lost. When an insurance company calculates a settlement offer, they will look at these factors and the law to determine a fair amount. Our Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation attorneys can review the settlement offer and compare to what you are entitled to under the law.
Workers’ Compensation covers actual medical expenses, so the amount you will be offered under this category depends on the severity of your injury and what kind of treatment is required. More minor injuries may not require significant treatment and thus will have lower medical bills. However, more severe injuries can cause medical bills well into the tens of thousands of dollars.
Wage Loss Benefits
If your hand injury puts you out of work for at least 7 days, you are eligible for compensation to cover wages lost from that missed work. Lost wages are calculated as a fraction of your weekly wages, up to a weekly maximum (which changes annually). If you can return to work, but your injury still causes disability, or you take a lower-paying job that accommodates your injury, you can receive compensation for the difference in earnings. Wage loss benefits are very specific to your circumstances, so speaking with our Bucks County Workers’ Compensation attorneys can provide specific insight to your case.
Finally, if you lose full use of your hand or fingers, you are entitled to a specific loss benefit as defined in 77 Pa.C.S. § 513. The amount of the loss is 66 2/3% of your weekly wage for a specific time, depending on the body part affected. For example, the complete loss of a hand provides that percentage of your weekly wages for 335 weeks. The loss of a finger provides that percentage of your weekly wages for different amounts of time depending on which finger is severed. If several fingers are lost, the individual payment time periods for each finger are added together and the percentage of lost wages are paid for that total amount of time. Partial loss of a finger will half the statutory amount of time that lost wages must be paid for that specific finger. Insurance companies will use this statutorily defined compensation schedule to calculate a lump sum representing the specific loss portion of a Workers’ Compensation settlement.
What Factors Affect the Amount of Workers’ Compensation I Can Receive in Pennsylvania?
Any individual details that affect the amount of the medical expenses you incur, the amount of time you miss from work, or injury details that may trigger a specific loss payment all affect the amount you may receive in a Workers’ Compensation settlement. Our Berks County Workers’ Compensation attorneys are familiar with the facts that impact your compensation and can advise on specific compensation expectations.
More severe injuries are likely to generate high medical bills, and injuries with very expensive treatments like surgery will increase your Workers’ Compensation claim by bolstering the medical expenses compensation category.
For hand injuries, your occupation will significantly affect your claim. Your work at a job that doesn’t rely on the use of hands (such as a call center job) can resume even if a hand is permanently injured. Jobs like a surgeon or a pianist that rely on hand use will increase the value of a claim for a hand injury since the employee may never return to that profession due to the injury.
Call Our Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Lawyers to Discuss Your Case
While it may be difficult to figure out how much your hand injury is worth in a Workers’ Compensation claim, our Delaware County Workers’ Compensation attorneys at Lerner, Steinberg & Associates have experience evaluating the many factors that impact a fair settlement offer. Call us today at (215) 355-6400 to discuss your injury and receive a free case review.