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Hand and Wrist Injuries in Workers’ Compensation Cases

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, hand and wrist injuries are treated as “specific injuries” in Chapter 152, Section 36 of the Massachusetts General Laws (MGL).

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 for specific benefits awards, depending on the degree of injury. 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 dominant hand (called the major hand in the statute) can allow for an injured worker to obtain a benefits award calculated at the State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) multiplied by 34.

As the Boston Workers’ Compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffery S. Glassman, LLC can explain, this formula also applies to a total loss of function and not only to cases involving amputation. Nerve damage is a common cause of loss of motor control or loss of function of a workers’ hand at the wrist.

The SAWW is a figure calculated by the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) and is changed when needed to reflect the current economic situation in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Our attorneys understand that loss of hand can not only have consequences at work, but also 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 the case of a Massachusetts on-the-job accident where an employee loses use of his non-dominant hand (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 losses 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, there are certain requirements that must be followed to obtain an appropriate benefits award, and you should 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 appropriate for cases that do not involve total loss of a hand. Some of these injuries include loss or amputation of one or more fingers, nerve damage, carpal tunnel syndrome, and repetitive stress injuries to the hands and wrists. These injuries often result from performing office activities, such as typing or filing, as well as repetitive tasks necessary at many workplaces.

If you are injured on the job in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your workers' compensation claim: 1-(617) 367-2900.

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