What is the value of a Hand injury claim?

First, it is important to understand what is considered part of the hand for Maryland workers’ compensation benefits.

Under the law, injuries to some parts of the body are worth more than injuries to other parts.  For example, an arm is valued higher than a hand, and a hand is valued higher than a finger.   For whatever reason, the law does not consider the wrist to be its own separate and individual body part, like it does for hands, arms and fingers.  Instead, the wrist is considered to be part of the hand, and not part of the arm, for purposes of workers’ compensation.  This is to the detriment of injured workers.

How much are hand injuries worth?

The value of a workers’ compensation claim for a hand injury in Maryland depends on the severity of the specific injury and the amount of treatment required.  Surgical cases are worth more than cases requiring only physical therapy.

There are a variety of ways that a hand can be injured.  Hands can sustain contusion injuries with lots of swelling, or they can be crushed, broken, and lacerated.  Sometimes, surgery is required if there is damage to the tendons or ligaments, or if a fracture requires insertion of hardware like plates and screws.

Another common injury involving the hand and wrist is carpal tunnel syndrome.   This is an occupational disease that develops slowly over a period of time, generally because of repetitive motions or activities during the course of one’s employment.  This could including typing, driving, cooking, squeezing, or any other type of hand or wrist movement that a job may require to be performed over and over again.  Treatment for carpal tunnel can vary, it may include the use of a brace or splint, anti-inflammatory medication, and in some cases, even surgery.

Value of comp claims involving the Hand

According to the Comp Pinkbook, which tracked Maryland workers’ compensation claims over an 18-month period during 2011 and 2012, the average permanency award for hand injuries was $9,835, while the average Settlement award was $11,548.

The Pinkbook also documents hand injuries in combination with other injuries.  For example, for claims involving injuries to both the hand and arm, the average award was $18,484.  For cases involving separate and distinct injuries to the wrist as well as  another part of the hand, the average award was $16,146.