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Whether we are using our hands for work, to drive a car, hold a coffee, or simply to wave hello, we use our hands so much. It is not surprising that workers in manufacturing and construction industries are more likely than workers in any other industry to suffer an injury to their hands. This is due in large part to the type of work being undertaken in these industries, and the inherent risks involved in construction and manufacturing work. 

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However, beyond workplace hand and fingers-related accidents, you can suffer a hand injury in a number of ways. We will discuss some of the more common types of accidents, and go through how you can make a successful claim for compensation with our injury lawyers.

If you have suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence to a hand or to part of the hand, whether at work, while on the road, in a public place, or in some other way, you may be able to make a hand injury compensation. Speak to our Brisbane based personal injury compensation lawyers about how we can help you to achieve the amount of compensation you deserve for your hand injury compensation claim.

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Common hand injuries

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We have noted that workers in construction and manufacturing are more likely than any other type of worker to experience a hand or finger accident at work. You are also at risk of a hand injury while doing something innocuous, such as cycling, driving a car, or working in an office. 

Some of the more common hand injuries include:

  • Broken hands - a broken hand refers to a break to any of the bones in the hand, wrist, or fingers. Broken hands can happen in any number of ways, from being crushed by machinery, through to coming in contact with a fast moving object, or simply from falling over and bracing with the hands. If you have suffered a broken hand seek legal advice from our personal injury solicitor to find out where you stand.
  • Hand crush injuries - similar in nature to a broken hand, a crush injury occurs when your hand gets trapped between two objects and is impacted. Crush injuries can happen in car accidents, at work, while out boating, or while riding your bike and you come into contact with a vehicle, for example. A crush injury may result in broken bones, crushed or torn tendons or ligaments, or even amputation of the hand.
  • Hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) - this is an industry specific injury and comes about as a result of occupational exposure to vibrating hand tools. You can experience a range of symptoms if you have HAVS including numbness or tingling in the hands, loss of movement, or general pain.
  • Nerve damage to the hand - damage to the nerves can come about as a result of a cut, strain, sprain or general injury. A common form of nerve damage is carpal tunnel syndrome, which causes pain, numbness and tingling in the hand and arm.
  • Burns to the hand - burns can be caused by direct or indirect contact with flame or heat, or through chemical burns.
  • Sprains and tendon damage - sprains are common through overuse or over-extension of the hands and involve the stretching or tearing of your muscle fibres or tendons. Tendon damage is a type of strain that can come about as a result of trauma or over-extension. Sprains and tendon damage are common sporting injuries and can come about when catching a ball or using sporting equipment.

Workers compensation settlements for hand injuries

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Some of the most common types of accidents in the workplace are hand injuries. In 2018-19 there were 40,145 upper limb injuries reported and of those, 15,120 were hand injuries which amounts to just over 37% of all upper limb injuries. If you have suffered a hand injury at work you will be able to commence a claim for WorkCover (or claim through your employers insurance, if your employer is self-insured, to ensure you have compensation for any medical expenses and payment for time missed while you are recovering from your injury.

When commencing a claim for worker’s compensation you should follow these steps:

  1. Report your injury to your employer as soon as you are able to do so
  2. Seek medical attention for your injury and obtain a certificate
  3. Lodge your claim for worker’s compensation

You have six months from the date of your injury to lodge your WorkCover claim.

Professions and industries with high risk of hand injuries:

Some professions are more at risk of hand injuries than other workers. This is due to the nature of the work performed and the tools or machinery used for work. 

These professions include:

  • Welders
  • Mechanics
  • Construction workers including carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and labourers
  • Meat processors, abattoir workers and butchers
  • Road workers
  • Factory workers

Of course, you can also suffer a workplace injury from employment such as office work, retail, hospitality and a range of other industries. If you have been injured at work, it is important that you seek legal advice as soon as you are able to, so that you know where you stand.

Common causes of workplace hand injuries

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Workplace injuries can be caused in a number of ways, but some of the most common workplace hand and fingers injuries include:

  • Cuts from sharp objects such as saw blades, cutting devices such as box openers, knives for meat processing, power tools, or hand-held machinery.
  • Broken hands due to circumstances such as getting your hand trapped between two objects, getting your hand stuck in machinery, workplace accidents due to human error.
  • Crush injuries from heavy objects being dropped on the hand, for example while working in a warehouse, or while working on a production line.
  • Burn injuries due to heat exposure such as through using a furnace or a welder.
  • Chemical burns due to exposure to corrosive chemicals such as strong cleaning products or while working on a mine site and using explosives.
  • Mechanic entanglement in circumstances such as working in a warehouse, driving heaving vehicles and loading products, for example/
  • Sprains and tendon injuries due to improper workplace setup at your desk or in your office.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome due to a lifetime of injury and lack of treatment.

In some cases, your hand injury may be the type of accident that has been caused due to your employer’s negligence. For example, sometimes you will be asked to complete a task that you have not been trained in correctly, or will not have the right equipment to perform the task, or you might have faulty equipment. If this is the case and your accident occurred through no fault of your own, or partly through your employer’s negligence, then you may be able to seek a compensation payment which will be tax-free and pursued on a no win, no fee basis.

How are hand injury claims calculated

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When calculating a claim for hand injury compensation there are a number of factors that are taken into consideration. These factors include any loss of past and future earnings, loss of superannuation, any associated medical costs, current and future care needs, your pain and suffering, care provided by family members, and anything else that is considered a reasonable cost associated with your injury.

For example, say you are injured and your wrist is broken in a car accident. You did not cause the accident; it was caused by a driver who admits to not paying attention and driving negligently. In the accident, your arm was crushed between the steering wheel and your body, breaking your wrist and spraining some tendons. You are unable to work for three months while your hand recovers, and you also have associated medical bills and physiotherapy to help you recover. You would be able to make a claim against the at-fault drivers’ compulsory third party insurance provider for your loss and damages suffered. The total amount payable would take all of the associated losses, loss of income, medical expenses and any other reasonable costs into consideration.

If you would like to know more about how injury compensation claims are calculated, you are welcome to speak to our personal injury solicitors and find out more about where you stand.

Time limits for hand injury claims

Personal injury time limits

As an injured person, you have three (3) years from the date of your injury to commence your no win no fee claim for compensation. If you are commencing a WorkCover claim you must commence your work injury claim within six (6) months. You can also find out more about time limits for personal injury claims on our time limit information page here.

Ultimately, if you have been injured as a result of a workplace accident, or due to the negligence of another party, you may be able to make a claim for compensation. Speak to our personal injury lawyers today to find out more.

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