If you believe that you have suffered a finger injury as a consequence of negligence on behalf of a third party then you may have a finger injury compensation claim.
Common Finger Injuries
The severity of finger and thumb injuries which occur both inside and outside of the workplace can vary significantly in severity. They take in injuries such as:
- Soft tissue and ligament damage
- Lacerations which can affect the skin, nerves, muddle, tendons and blood vessels
- Breaks and fractures
- Finger amputation
Many people fail to recognise that a finger injury can have a significant impact on a person’s working and personal life. Indeed we have heard instances where employees who have suffered serious finger injuries are still in significant pain even after a decade.
Common Reasons For Claiming Finger Injury Compensation
Over the years we have seen various patterns in thumb and finger injuries many of which continue to this day. Some of the more common reasons people claim finger injury compensation include:
- Tendon, ligament and muscle damage as a consequence of dangerous machinery in the workplace.
- Repetitive strain injury caused by repetitive actions such as use of a keyboard without relevant wrist supports and break time.
- Vibration white finger/carpal tunnel syndrome was a serious problem many years ago, especially with the mining industry. There are still a number of claims going through the system from years gone by and while steps have been taken to prevent new instances of vibration white finger they do still occur from time to time.
- Injuries received as a consequence of a slip, trip or fall.
- Very often your first reaction, when involved in a road traffic accident, is to put your hands up to protect yourself which can lead to finger and hand injuries.
- Injuries in schools and nurseries are more commonplace than you might think as it is extremely difficult to keep an eye on individual children all of the time.
- Finger and hand injuries as a consequence of sporting activities such as football, rugby and cricket are extremely commonplace
While many people assume that the type of finger injury will primarily dictate the level of compensation awarded, this is not necessarily the case. Any compensation awarded would be based upon the severity of the finger injury and the long-term impact on the claimant’s life. The first action when looking to pursue a finger injury compensation claim is to prove negligence on behalf of one or more third parties and then negotiate liability and compensation.
Putting Together A Finger Injury Compensation Claim
It goes without saying that your first action in the event of a finger/hand injury should be to seek out medical attention where applicable. In cases where there are severe lacerations or broken bones this can actually save the finger and due to advances in medical science even amputated fingers can sometimes be reconnected. The fact that any medical examination and treatment received will be noted on your medical file should not be forgotten as it can be used as evidence when pursuing a finger injury compensation claim. If the injury occurred in the workplace, or while on work duties, it should obviously be noted in the company’s accident book and the relative authorities notified.
It will obviously depend upon the severity of any finger/thumb injury but photographs of the location of the accident, injuries incurred as well as witness statements and copies of the works accident book where possible, can help to strengthen your case. Traditionally there is a three-year window of opportunity in which to lodge a claim for compensation (although this can be extended where the injury is only diagnosed until years down the line) but it is sensible to pursue a finger injury claim sooner rather than later. Even over a few months the exact details of the incident and the day it occurred can become blurred which can in some circumstances weaken a previously strong case. It is also advised that you put together a timeline of events before and after the accident so that you are able to give an expanded explanation to the defendant and the courts where applicable.
Time Limit For Claiming Compensation
The window of opportunity in which to claim for finger injury compensation is traditionally three years. However, over the years we have seen instances of for example vibration white finger not diagnosed until many years later. As a consequence, the three-year window of opportunity in this instance will only begin once the diagnosis has been made and received by the injured party. In a perfect world, you would claim straightaway for any finger injuries incurred but due to medical treatment, personal circumstances and in the event of for example vibration white finger, this is not always possible.
It does, however, clarify the fact that because the traditional three-year window of opportunity in which to lodge a claim for compensation may have passed, that does not necessarily mean the end of the story for your finger injury claim.
Establishing Liability In Finger Injury Claims
It is the legal responsibility of all employers to protect their employees. While the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is the one most referenced when pursuing compensation for broken finger at work as an example, as it is more general and covers the overall obligation of employers, there are many specific acts which have been brought in to protect specific workers.
In basic terms, in order to pursue a finger injury compensation claim, you will need to prove that:
- The accident was caused due to negligence by a third party.
- The accident directly caused the finger injury.
- The accident led to the worsening of a previous finger injury.
One thing to bear in mind is that even if you are not sure which of a number of parties was directly negligent and liable for the finger injury, this does not impact your claim. You should simply lodge a claim, with the supporting evidence, citing all of the possible negligent parties and it will be down to the courts to rule on negligence which may be shared amongst various parties.
Appointing A Personal Injury Solicitor
When you have put together all of the evidence and the timeline of events you should then seek the advice of a personal injury solicitor. If required, they will have access to independent medical third parties who may need to re-examine your finger injuries to clarify the strength of your case. After reviewing your case, if the personal injury solicitor believes you should lodge a finger injury claim they will almost certainly recommend a No Win No Fee arrangement – removing the liability of the claimant to cover the solicitors’ legal fees. However, they will request a “success fee” which is based on a percentage of any compensation awarded which in our case will be clearly explained and agreed with you prior to starting a claim.
Even though No Win No Fee arrangements have attracted more than their fair share of criticism over the years, for many people they are the only route to pursue negligent parties for finger injury compensation to which they are entitled. In the longer term, it is also the ability to hold negligent parties to account which will improve safety for others going forward.
Lodging A Finger Injury Claim
After you have appointed your personal injury solicitor they will put together a report which will be lodged with the courts and a copy sent to the defendant. This will show all of the evidence you have gathered to prove negligence for your finger injury and in the vast majority of cases, where negligence is fairly straightforward, the defendant will likely pursue an out-of-court settlement. This benefits all parties because any finger injury compensation is received much sooner, the defendant reduces their potential legal fee liabilities and an often challenging situation for all parties is brought to a head as quickly as possible.
There will be instances where there is potentially shared negligence, which the courts may need to decide upon, or an individual party disputes the negligence claim. In these instances, the evidence will be presented to the courts and the judge will make a ruling of negligence and the overall amount of finger injury compensation awarded.
Finger Injury Compensation Amounts
It may surprise many people but different fingers are given different values when looking at compensation claims. Guidelines published by the Judicial College summarise past finger and thumb injuries and past compensation awards which are often used as a basis for new finger injury compensation claims. These guidelines have no legal standing but they are recognised as extremely useful by law firms, the insurance industry, and the courts. The following guidelines will give you an idea of the general levels of finger injury compensation.
- A minor fracture to a finger would likely see a compensation payout of up to £4,055.
- £3,370 – £5,000 compensation for the partial loss of a little finger.
- £7,380 – £10,440 compensation for the amputation or loss of a little finger.
- £7,780 – £10,440 compensation payout for a fracture of an index finger where grip function is impaired.
- £10,380 – £15,990 compensation for partial loss of an index finger where grip or dexterity is impaired.
- £12,700 – £13,940 for a serious injury to either ring fingers or middle fingers.
- Around £18,620 compensation settlement for the amputation or loss of ring fingers and little fingers.
- Around £21,320 compensation for the amputation or loss of the terminal phalanges of the index or middle fingers.
- Up to £31,350 compensation for severely fractured fingers that might result in an impairment of grip.
- £24,740 – £52,810 compensation where several fingers may have been amputated.
- £52,810 – £77,430 compensation for the amputation of middle, index, ring fingers.
- £82,040 – £93,540 compensation where all fingers have been lost or amputated.
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While these figures are not set in stone they are widely respected by the courts and insurance companies and reflect historic payments for similar finger injuries in relation to general damages.
Different Types Of Compensation For Finger Injuries
It is worth noting that there are two specific types of compensation in finger injury claims which are generally available to those pursuing compensation. The first is known as general damages and relates to financial compensation reflecting:
- Pain and suffering from the finger injury
- Mental anguish/trauma
- Life-altering finger injuries
There is a degree of discretion/variation when it comes to general damages for finger injuries in order to reflect the severity of the injury and the situation surrounding the claimant.
Special damages is the second type of compensation in finger injury claims. Special damages are best described as financial redress for costs incurred as a consequence of the injuries and funding requirements going forward. This takes in an array of factors such as:
- Medical expenses due to the finger injury
- Future medical expenses
- Loss of the claimants’ earnings
- Future loss of the claimants’ earnings
- Additional transport expenses
- Adaptions to the home
There’s no discretion/variation on special damages which are simply reimbursement of costs incurred and relevant funding requirements going forward. If you take general damages and special damages together they can create an overall substantial compensation award. The elements of discretion/variation have been introduced to allow the court/insurance companies to reflect the severity of the injury and the circumstances surrounding changes to the claimant’s life.
Please contact us today to discuss your finger injury and what compensation you might be entitled should you have a finger injury claim.