Compensation for Hand Injuries in the Workplace in New Jersey

February 20, 2023

Employees who Have Injured their Hands at Work May be Entitled to Apply for Workers’ Compensation Benefits in NJ; Learn How With Our Experienced Team of Attorneys

Compensation for Hand Injuries in the Workplace in New JerseyHand injuries in the workplace are relatively common. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), hand injuries are one of the most frequently reported types of injuries in the workplace. The BLS reports that in 2020, hand injuries accounted for approximately 23% of all non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work. Hand injuries can result from various causes, including cuts, punctures, fractures, sprains, and strains. These types of injuries can be particularly problematic for workers who use their hands frequently, such as construction workers, manufacturing workers, and healthcare workers.  Hand injuries are the second most common workplace injury, following back and neck injuries as the most frequent.  Specifically, there are over a million hand injuries in the workplace every year.

Most Common Types of Hand Injuries in New Jersey

There are many kinds of hand injuries. Manufacturing jobs that require repetitive actions such as pulling a bar down, turning a knob, or twisting parts on or off can cause sprains, tendonitis, and strains. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the hand, becomes compressed. It is seen most with those who have to make slight, repetitive movements such as sewing or typing.

Blunt-force trauma can cause broken bones, ruptured tissue, and, at worst, amputation. There are 27 bones in your hand, some of them only a few inches long. Your hand is more fragile than you think. Fractures of the hand, wrist, or fingers are common when heavy tools are used, like on a construction site. Avulsion fractures happen when a small piece of bone attached to the soft tissue, such as a ligament or tendon, breaks off, usually during a fall. Crush injuries are also prevalent on construction sites, mechanic shops, and manufacturing plants.

Burns are common in the workplace as well, especially in the areas of food and beverage services. The most common burns in the workplace are thermal, electrical, or chemical. Similar to burns, skin irritations or allergies can be caused by inflammatory chemical compounds resulting in blisters, rashes, itching, or anaphylaxis.

Ganglion cysts are non-cancerous growths that develop on the tendons or joints of the hand, wrist, or fingers where there is trauma to the hand. They can inhibit joint or digit movement and can sometimes be painful.

Lacerations can be caused by an endless list of examples. Sous chefs, butchers, and farmers are just a few jobs where lacerations are common. What is worse is that it isn’t so much the laceration that is the problem as it is the potential for infection. Additionally, nerve damage can occur if the cut is deep enough.

Workplace Environments with More Hand Injuries

Several injuries are more common in the workplace than in other areas.  Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is also known as cumulative trauma disorder; RSI can occur from repetitive motions, such as typing or using tools in the same pattern for many hours a day.  In addition, cuts and lacerations are the most common hand injuries in the workplace. These injuries often occur in the manufacturing, construction, and food service industries. They can range from minor scrapes and cuts, which usually heal on their own, to lacerations deep enough to require stitches, surgery, or other serious treatment. If there is damage to the nerves or tendons, recovery may require a more complex plan of action.

Punctures are hazardous hand injuries.  Any foreign object that penetrates the skin has the capability of quickly infecting the wound and the hand.  Punctures occur most often in the medical area; fortunately, there are protocols to manage them. Similarly, crush injuries can leave devastating consequences as the hand or fingers are pressed between two objects. Seen most often in manufacturing and construction jobs, crush injuries can leave a hand disfigured or result in amputation.

Burns can occur from hot machinery, chemicals, or electrical equipment in various industries. The most common burns in the workplace are thermal, electrical, or chemical. Similar to burns, skin irritations or allergies can be caused by inflammatory chemical compounds resulting in blisters, rashes, itching, or anaphylaxis. Lastly, blunt-force trauma can cause broken bones ruptured tissue, and, at worst, amputation.  There are 27 bones in your hand, some of them only a few inches long. Your hand is more fragile than you think.

Contributing Factors to Hand Injuries at Work

According to the experts, construction workers, manufacturing employees, cooks, and other restaurant workers, those who work in warehouses, on fishing boats, and those who operate heavy machinery are at greater risk for a devastating hand injury than others in the workforce.

Workers who perform repetitive actions on a computer keyboard or on an assembly line are known to develop tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome and require physical and occupational therapy.

Those who work with sharp objects such as blades, broken glass, or scissors can be at risk for deep cuts or lacerations. Something as mundane as cutting fabric at a sewing store can cause a serious injury.

Heavy machinery or falling objects can cause broken bones. Also, a worker who slips and falls will frequently use their hands to balance their fall, which can result in hand or wrist fractures.

Workers who handle hot materials, liquids, or machinery can get burned. Chemical spills and faulty electrical systems are also dangerous, especially in manufacturing.

When workers use tools that vibrate (jackhammers, for example), they are prone to develop nerve injuries or impact injuries if they use them for prolonged periods. The manufacturers of this machinery provide guidelines to avoid nerve damage, but they are not always followed.

Steps To Protect Your Hands From Injuries in a Work Environment

Wearing gloves is helpful because it puts a defensive barrier between you and the hazards that can harm you. Also, focus on having good posture when doing something repetitive. Try to keep your wrist in a relaxed, neutral position. Also, some have found that using a wrist brace helps keep their wrists in the correct position.

Choosing proper tools that are neither too small, too big, or too heavy can protect your hands and cause less fatigue. Avoid putting too much pressure on your grip, or you risk a sprain or hairline fracture. Regular stretches during breaks are critical in mediating joint stiffness caused by extended use.

When unusual sensations such as numbness, tingling, or discomfort occur in your hands, inform your employer immediately that the necessary measures be taken promptly.

Seek Compensation for Your Hand Injuries in the Workplace with our Workers´ Compensation Lawyers in Monmouth County, NJWho Is Liable For Avoidable Workplace Accidents that Cause Hand Injuries?

Employers are responsible for protecting their employees from hazardous conditions.  They are required to provide proper training to follow rules and regulations and safety guidelines.  Cutting corners or failing to prioritize the health of their employees could lead to unnecessary injuries. In some cases, a third party may be at fault if a provider knowingly delivered faulty equipment or goods, resulting in an injury, or a manufacturer created defective products that injured a worker’s hand in the course of their duties.

Options You May Have if You Suffered a Hand Injury at Work in NJ

If you experienced a hand injury while on the job in New Jersey, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance system that provides financial and medical benefits to employees who are injured or become ill due to their job. In particular, you may be eligible for benefits such as medical expenses, temporary disability benefits (if your injury causes you to miss work), permanent disability benefits (if your injury results in a permanent impairment), and vocational rehabilitation services (if you need help retraining for a new job).

It’s essential to report your injury to your employer as soon as possible and to follow the proper procedures for filing a workers’ compensation claim. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney at Chamlin, Uliano, and Walsh can help you navigate the claims process and work to ensure that you receive the full extent of the benefits you are entitled to.

Importantly, we also investigate and handle potential claims against third parties when negligence contributes to a workers’ hand injury on the job. We have the knowledge and experience to assess your case and ensure that you pursue all of the legal avenues available to you to recover monetary compensation for your injuries.

Talk to Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Regarding Your Job-Related Hand Injuries in West Long Branch

When you are injured at work, you need someone in your corner to represent your side and get the help you need during a stressful time.  Our workers’ compensation lawyers at Chamlin, Uliano, and Walsh are ready to go to bat for you.  We know your concerns about paying your bills, fulfilling your financial and other obligations, and taking care of your family. Your priorities and obtaining the rightful compensation you need are our number one priorities as well.

Our highly-skilled attorneys are prepared to assist with your hand injury claim in Belmar, Freehold, Red Bank, Howell, Colts Neck, Wall, Middletown, and throughout Monmouth County and Ocean County. We have successfully handled countless workplace injury cases to assist our clients economically as they recover.  You deserve everything you are entitled to under the law.

Please contact us at (732) 440-3950 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation at our office in West Long Branch, New Jersey.