Hand and Wrist Injuries Lawyers in Massachusetts
In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, hand and wrist injuries are treated as “specific injuries” under G.L. c. 152 §36.
Hand and wrist injuries can be caused by a variety of sources, including improperly guarded machines, fall accidents, burn injuries, and nerve damage caused by caustic chemicals. Regardless of the reason for the workplace hand or wrist injury, the workers' compensation law provides specific benefits. The amount you may receive depends on the degree of damage. This compensation may be awarded as a lump sum payment separate from any standard workers' compensation award.Loss of Dominant Hand at Wrist
Under Massachusetts law, amputation of the major or dominant hand allows an injured worker to obtain a benefits award calculated at the State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) multiplied by 34.
Our workers’ compensation legal team, can explain, this formula is also used to calculate a total loss of function. Amputation is not necessary to have a total loss. For example, nerve damage is a common cause of loss of motor control and may lead to a total loss of function of a workers' hand at the wrist.
The SAWW is a figure calculated by the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA). It is adjusted every October to reflect the current economic situation in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The DIA oversees the workers’ compensation system in Massachusetts.
Our attorneys understand that the loss of a hand will have physical consequences as well as emotional consequences for the injured worker. Having an attorney representing you during your application for workers’ compensation benefits will allow you to focus on your recovery while your lawyer handles the legal process.Loss of Non-Dominant Hand at Wrist
In a Massachusetts on-the-job accident where an employee loses the use of his non-dominant hand or minor hand, the state workers’ compensation agency fixes benefits at the SAWW multiplied by 29.Loss of Both Hands
In cases where the injured worker loses the total use of both hands, state law provides a workers' compensation award at an amount of the SAWW multiplied by 77.
While the law provides additional benefits for such specific injuries to the hands and wrists, some requirements must be followed to obtain an appropriate benefits award. Speak with your Boston workers’ compensation attorneys about the facts of your particular situation.
It should also be noted that workers’ compensation benefits may be available for cases that do not involve the total loss of a hand.
Additional information about workers’ compensation in Massachusetts can be found on the state’s website.A Look at Specific Hand and Wrist Injuries
Hand and wrist injuries can affect a wide range of workers, from construction workers to office workers. Some common injuries include:
- Loss or amputation of one or more fingers
- Nerve damage
- Overexertion injuries
- Strains and sprains
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Degloving injuries
Overexertion injuries are injuries that occur when workers push themselves beyond their physical limits. According to the National Safety Council, overexertion injuries cause 35% of all work-related injuries and are the number one reason for lost workdays. Workers at risk of this type of injury often work in construction, manufacturing, retail, transportation, and health services.
Many workers are prone to repetitive stress injuries from performing office activities, such as typing or filing. Repetitive stress injuries are one of the fastest-growing occupational injuries. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, repetitive stress injuries impact nearly 2 million workers per year. Costs of repetitive stress injuries are estimated between $17 - $20 billion per year.
Carpal tunnel syndrome, or CTS, is a type of repetitive stress injury that is among the most common work-related injuries affecting the wrist. Workers with carpal tunnel syndrome have a pinched nerve in the wrist that causes them to experience pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and arm. Treatment ranges from ice and wrist splints to cortisone injections and surgery.
According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, workers at risk of carpal tunnel syndrome perform forceful or repetitive job tasks, use tools or equipment that vibrates or use their hands or wrists in awkward positions.
Data analyzed by the CDC found that female workers were three times more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. Industries with high carpal tunnel syndrome rates were apparel manufacturing, food processing, and performing administrative work. Other workers at risk include grocery store workers, movers, and electrical assemblers.
There are more than three million cases of carpal tunnel syndrome in the United States per year, according to the Mayo Clinic. Vulnerable workers can mitigate their risk by taking short and frequent work breaks, keeping their hands warm, and watching their form when typing.
Workers who work with or around hot materials or dangerous and toxic chemicals are at risk of burning their hands and wrists. Fast-food workers and other restaurant workers are at risk, as are welders, factory workers, and construction workers. Burn injuries can lead to amputation, infection, nerve damage, scarring, and damage to muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
In Massachusetts, the Department of Fire Services maintains the Massachusetts Burn Injury Reporting System, which documents information about burn injuries. Of the work-related burns recorded in 2017, 62% involved workers between the ages of 15 and 34, and scalds caused 50 %.
Degloving injuries occur when the skin becomes detached from bones, muscles, and tendons. When these catastrophic injuries become infected, amputation becomes a risk. According to Industrial Safety and Hygiene News, workers in the oil and gas industry are most at risk for degloving injuries. Hand injuries comprise 50% of all injuries in this field, ISHN reported.
To learn more about how our workers’ compensation attorneys can help you with a hand or wrist injury claim, contact The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, LLC today at (617) 367-2900 or using our online form.