How much compensation can you claim for a hand injury at work?
More than 18,500 workers reported injuries to their hands in 2014/15, according to provisional figures published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Of these, over 8,250 were injuries to fingers, and just over 5,000 injuries each to hands and wrists.
Injuries reportedly ranged from deep lacerations and abrasions, to bone fractures and crushing, and in severe cases, amputation.
Are you eligible to claim for a hand injury sustained at work?
If the accident that caused your injury was a result of your employer’s negligence then you may be eligible to make a compensation claim.
If, for example, you were attending to some machinery to release a blockage and the safety guard was not functioning correctly and fell down onto your hand, your employer may be liable if the dangerous machinery had not been properly serviced or inspected and the loose guard not recorded or repaired.
If your hand injury was a direct result of an action by a colleague, whether intentional or accidental, your employer may be held responsible for the actions of your colleague. This is known as vicarious liability.
For your claim to be successful you will need to demonstrate that the failure of your employer to implement proper health and safety procedures was the cause of your accident.
How much can I claim for my workplace hand injury?
The claim for your injury will consist of two elements.
- General damages - the amount paid for your pain, suffering and loss of amenity.
- Special damages - the sum to cover your financial losses.
Your solicitor will arrange for an independent medical report to assess your hand injury. This is necessary even if you have already received treatment in hospital or from your own GP. The Court will use this medical report, and any other information from the health care professionals who have been treating you, to assess your compensation award.
Special damages will include financial provision for any equipment or aids you may need to purchase to help you with everyday tasks until the function is restored in your hand, as well as covering the costs of any losses (earnings for example) or costs associated with your injury (travelling to appointments; paying for help with day to day activities such as shopping or cleaning).
If your injury has already caused you financial hardship, for example if you were employed on a zero hours contract and therefore received no income as you were unable to work, your solicitor he may be able to obtain an interim payment on your behalf before your case is settled. This amount would be later deducted from your total compensation award.
How serious must an injury be to claim compensation?
In theory, compensation can be claimed regardless of how serious an injury is, or how fast you recover.
In practice, very minor injuries, such as minor sprains lasting only a few days and which do not impede your ability to work or perform daily tasks, may only equate to small amount in compensation.
Compensation can be claimed for a wide range of hand injuries, including injuries to the bones in the hand that inhibit the ability to manipulate the hand on a temporary or permanent basis.
Other injuries such manual handling injuries like sprains and tears to soft tissues, including muscles, tendons and ligaments, may prevent the hand from being able to grasp or release objects. Any damage to the nerve fibres through laceration may diminish the sense of touch, particularly in the fingertips. The courts will consider the severity and duration of these symptoms, and the impact they have had on a claimant's life, when calculating compensation.