Hand and finger injuries may seem minor compared to other types of injuries. In reality, these injuries can have significant implications for your life, even if only for the short term. You may be unable to work, you may need help at home with your most basic needs and you may find you can no longer take part in your usual hobbies and sports.
Your hands are a critical part of your body and we use them without really thinking about them. If you’ve suffered hand injuries following an accident or incident that was someone else’s fault, you should be able to claim personal injury compensation.
To find out whether you can claim, get in contact with a legal advisor on 0800 234 6438 for free, with no obligation to start a case.
After suffering from a hand injury, the expenses can quickly start to build up. Because so many jobs require you to be able to use your hands, you may have needed to take time off work. During your time off, you might have received reduced pay or no wage at all for a long period of time.
You may also have needed someone to look after you while your hand/s were out of action, as well as having to pay the costs of extra childcare, for instance, while you recover from your injuries.
Personal injury solicitors look at each case on an individual basis – their aim is to make sure you receive the amount of compensation you need so that you can start to get things back to how they were before your injury. This means it isn’t possible to say exactly how much you could claim before you start your claim, because it varies from case to case. Every hand injury and its consequences are different.
As well as claiming for the injury itself and recovering your lost earnings, your solicitor will make sure you receive the money you need to pay for any private medical treatment. They’ll take into consideration any other expenses, such as:
As an example, minor hand injuries could attract general damages of between £700 and £4,000 while at the other end of the scale, for example, if fingers or a thumb has been amputated, compensation could be £80,000 or more. And this amount could be significantly increased by the ‘special’ damages you could be awarded for your actual financial losses, such as loss of earnings.
For a guideline of the amount you could receive for your hand injury, for example a vibration white finger claim, visit our compensation calculator page.
You can make a hand injury claim on a no win no fee basis which means if you don’t win, you don’t have to pay any money out.
When you speak with a solicitor, they’ll be able to let you know whether they think your hand injury claim will be successful. But if you don’t end up getting any compensation, a no win no fee promise means that you won’t have to pay them any money.
With no win no fee, there aren’t any upfront charges or hidden costs either. If you do win your case, your personal injury solicitor will charge you a ‘success fee’ as a percentage of the compensation you receive, but this will only take up a maximum of 25% – so you’ll still get to keep most of it.
Almost all work requires you to use your hands – for example, if you work in an office, a hand injury can make it difficult or even impossible to type or use a computer. A common office injury is carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition which can be caused by repetitive work involving the wrist, and can make your work very difficult.
If you work in construction, it might take even longer to get back to work because of the strain you put your hands under every day. On top of everything else, you may not be able to drive until you recover, and might be having trouble gripping or picking up objects.
Some hand injuries can be particularly severe. For example, damage to the nerve endings in the fingertips can permanently reduce your sense of touch. This can make it difficult to use your hands and, in the worse cases, can stop you doing your usual work altogether.
And what about your life away from work? Your hands may be so useless for a while that your partner or someone else is having to care for you – they may have had to take time off work to look after you.
Serious injuries can also have cosmetic affects – such as scarring, or amputation of one or more fingers. As your hands are visible, this can affect your confidence in the long-term.
Hand injuries can happen as a result of many different types of accident. Whatever the cause, if your injury happened in the last three years and was somebody else’s fault, then it’s likely you can make a compensation claim.
Road traffic accidents can often lead to hand injuries, especially for the driver of a car or motorcycle. The sudden impact of a collision can cause damage to the muscles, ligaments and tendons in the hands or wrists as you’re gripping the steering wheel or handlebars. Broken glass and debris can cause cuts and bruises, which can take a long time to heal.
Slips, trips and falls can cause damage to the wrists. If you land with your weight on your hands, then this can cause your wrist to bend beyond its normal range causing bone fractures and soft tissue injuries.
When you go to work, whether in a factory, office, etc. you have the right to expect that you’ll be kept safe and free from injury. After all, it’s in your employer’s best interests to keep you safe because if you get injured and cannot work, your employer will have to find cover.
All employers have a legal duty of care to make sure you’re kept safe while at work. What this means for you depends on your particular work, but could include providing you with protective gloves to reduce the chance of burns or cuts, ensuring safety guards are used to avoid your hands getting caught up in dangerous machinery and making sure your desk and chair are at appropriate heights to minimise the risk of strain.
If you were injured or have a condition as a result of faulty or inadequate work equipment, your solicitor should be able to help you make a no win no fee claim. Compensation can make a real difference to your financial situation and help you get back on your feet.
Unsurprisingly, you’ll need evidence to help make your hand injury claim. The stronger the evidence, the stronger your case will be and the more likely your solicitor will be able to settle your compensation claim quickly.
Your solicitor will therefore need all the details and evidence possible about the incident that led to your hand injuries, and the severity and effects of them. They’ll also need details of lost earnings or any costs and expenses you’ve had to pay out as a direct result.
Your solicitor will arrange for you to have a medical assessment by a medical expert. But don’t worry about the cost involved as this will be covered by your no win no fee agreement.
To make a successful claim following any injuries, your solicitor must first prove on balance that the other party breached its duty of care towards you. This isn’t always straightforward, but your solicitor will consider all the circumstances of the incident that led to your injury to decide if the defendant owed you a duty of care.
Often a duty of care is clear, for example if you were at work your employer automatically owes you a duty of care; or if you were in a supermarket and you slipped over on a spillage – the supermarket owed a duty of care towards you as a lawful visitor.
You will also need to show that your injuries were a direct result of that breach.
You may not be sure about whether the other party was negligent, but don’t worry – your solicitor will have the expertise to build a strong case to prove there was negligence and that this caused your injuries.
Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.
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If you win your case, your solicitor's success fee will be taken from the compensation you are awarded - up to a maximum of 25%. Your solicitor will discuss any fees before starting your case.