Approximately 10% of all accident and emergency department visits involve a hand injury but it is difficult to give an exact figure because of the different types of hand injury suffered. What we do know is that hand injury compensation claims are fairly commonplace across an array of different industries which include construction, agriculture and catering to name but three. If you believe you have received a hand injury as a consequence of negligence by either your employer or one or more other third parties, you may have a valid hand injury claim for compensation.
Different Types Of Hand Injury
There are many ways in which you can injure your hand at work or indeed outside of work. These include hand injuries and conditions such as:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome where the hand is injured as a consequence of vibrating tools.
- Cramp of the hand brought on by repetitive movement over a prolonged period of time.
- Dermatitis which often occurs where the claimant is exposed to chemicals or other potential irritants.
- Hand arm vibration syndrome which occurs due to the regular use of percussive or vibrating tools which can damage the nerves in the hand.
- Tendonitis is a condition which can be extremely painful and is often brought about by manual work.
In general the vast majority of hand injury claims can be covered by four injury groups which include:
- Breaks, fractures and crush injuries.
- Sprains, strains and muscle tears.
- Damage to the nerves.
- Burn injures.
The details of any hand injury will obviously have a major impact upon the potential to claim hand injury compensation. There is a need to prove negligence on behalf of one or more third parties whether this is your employer, a driver in a road traffic accident or even a deliberate injury in the event of a physical confrontation. Once negligence has been proved it is simply a case of assessing the severity of the injury, the short, medium and long-term impact and calculating the relevant level of compensation.
Proving Negligence In Hand Injury Compensation Claims
There are a number of common threads which run through the vast majority of hand injury compensation claims. They seem to be work related, slips, trips or falls or road traffic accidents although whatever the situation it is vital you are able to prove negligence in order to pursue a compensation claim.
Road Traffic Accidents Causing Hand Injuries
There are many dangers on the road and road traffic accidents still make up the majority of personal injury claims in the UK. These can range from broken bones to cuts and bruises, severed limbs to fatalities. There will be occasions when the potential defendant did all they could to avoid an accident and therefore carried out their duty of care to other road users. However, we have also seen many incidents where careless driving, badly maintained vehicles and speeding have led to accidents resulting in severe hand injuries and sometimes involving multiple victims.
Slips, Trips And Falls
Slips, trips and falls in the workplace or outside of the workplace are extremely common with many people pursuing hand injury compensation claims as a consequence of injuries received. They could involve anything from a badly maintained workplace to a slippery floor in a shop to icy paths not treated by the local authorities or highways and byways which have not been maintained correctly. Whether an employer, property owner or the local authority is negligent, and you can prove this, you will be able to pursue a hand injury compensation claim.
Hand Injuries In The Workplace
While there are an array of acts of Parliament covering regulations in the workplace and the protection of employees from hand injuries, the duty of care which every employer has towards their employees supersedes everything. This duty of care legally obliges employers to look after the health and well-being of their employees including issues such as maintaining a safe working environment, providing the relevant safety equipment, training courses and simple hazardous signage. There are so many regulations and guidelines regarding safety in the workplace that very often this is one of the easier cases of negligence to prove.
There will be instances where more than one party is potentially liable in a hand injury claim. Claimants are often under the misapprehension that they need to clarify the individual level of negligence when numerous third parties are involved. This is not the case, the claimant simply needs to note all of the potentially negligent parties and it will be up to the courts to arrive at a decision. The situation is different where there is only one potentially negligent party and negligence will need to be proven beyond reasonable doubt.
Compensation Available In Hand Injury Claims
The loss of hand control/grip/movement can have an extremely detrimental impact upon a person’s private and working life. The physical aspects of such injuries can be challenging although in many cases it is the mental anguish which goes untold. There are two different types of compensation available in hand injury claims where negligence has been proven, referred to as general damages and special damages.
General damages are discretionary compensation awards which are based upon a number of different factors including:
- Pain and suffering from the hand injury.
- Mental trauma.
- Life changing injuries.
The wide array of hand injuries, and the individual circumstances surrounding accidents, can make it very difficult to arrive at a suitable hand injury compensation claim. Thankfully, the Judicial College publishes regular guidance which takes into account an array of potential hand injuries and the range of hand injury compensation to consider, based upon past court cases. These guidelines are in no way legally binding but they have proven to be extremely useful to the courts and insurance companies when looking to arrive at a suitable compensation award. There is a degree of discretion in the award of general damages but more often than not the courts and insurance companies will stick fairly closely to the Judicial College recommendations.
For an expert evaluation of what hand injury compensation you might be entitled to claim please contact us today.
The second type of compensation is known as special damages and is basically reimbursement of costs incurred as a consequence of the hand injury and funding for future liabilities. This takes in an array of different matters which include:
- Loss of earnings because of the hand injury.
- Loss of future earnings.
- Medical expenditures.
- Future medical expenditures.
- Counselling if required.
- Adaptions to your home.
- Future transport expenses.
When you begin to work through the list of different elements of hand injury compensation it is very easy to see how quickly they can build up. The hand is an integral part of everyday life and even the slightest reduction in mobility can have a significant physical impact as well as mental repercussions. There is no discretion with regards to the award of special damages which are recompense for past and future costs.
There may be some instances where a hand injury has aggravated an existing injury to the extent that it is having an impact on the claimant’s working/private life. In this instance it may also be possible to claim compensation even though the underlying condition may have been known for some time. When proving that a negligent action (or inaction) aggravated an existing condition this will obviously involve medical advice.
Pursuing A Hand Injury Compensation Claim
The first thing to do when you receive a hand injury is always to seek medical assistance whether it is a simple cut, possible fracture or more severe injury. In this situation not only will you receive the relevant hand injury treatment as soon as possible, avoiding any repercussions further down the line, but details of your hand injury, treatment and the accident itself will be noted on your medical records. These are records maintained by an independent third-party and hold significant sway in the courts if hand injury compensation is pursued.
There are also other elements of supporting evidence which can prove extremely useful including photographs of the accident site, injuries incurred as well as witness statements if available. It will initially depend upon the severity of the hand injury as to how quickly this supporting evidence can be gathered but it is extremely useful in the longer term. The whole idea of creating a report about the accident and the hand injuries received is to paint a broader picture of what happened, when it happened, where it happened and why it happened. Where injuries have occurred in the workplace there may be supporting evidence in the company’s accident book which show if similar incidents have happened in the past.
A personal injury solicitor will be able to look through the report on your accident and consider the supporting evidence and circumstances of the incident. It is worth noting that not all accidents are as a consequence of negligence because there are situations when third parties can prove they did everything possible to avoid such an accident. In this situation they would need to prove they delivered on their duty of care to their employees in order to avoid paying compensation.
If you have a valid case for a hand injury compensation claim you will likely be offered a No Win No fee arrangement. This ensures there are no upfront legal fees and any compensation received will be from where the solicitors fee is paid from, on a predetermined basis. While this No Win No Fee arrangement often attracts criticism, it does allow those who may lack funding to pay legal fees upfront to pursue and hold to account negligent parties who caused their hand injury. We also know that companies held to account in the law courts are more likely to make changes to their working practices and improve the safety of their workplace as a consequence of financial penalties.
Lodging Your Hand Injury Claim
The process of lodging a hand injury claim for compensation involves forwarding details of the accident, injuries incurred and supporting evidence, together with a compensation claim, to the law courts. The defendant will also receive a copy of the report and where negligence is obvious they will likely seek to negotiate an out-of-court settlement. Where negligence has been contested, or there is more than one party involved, the claim will likely go before the courts.
If you think you have a case to make a hand injury compensation claim you can contact us today for a free assessment.