An individual’s extremities often play a major role in their ability to perform certain work. The upper extremities or arms, hands and wrists play a key role in everything from manufacturing and medical care to office work. The lower extremities allow people to balance and move efficiently.
A major injury to an extremity can easily happen when someone is at work. In fact, injuries to the extremities are among the most common injuries that lead to trauma care and surgery. What happens after an injury to someone’s arms, legs, hands or feet on the job?
Workers’ compensation will help with their care
An extremity injury may require surgery or trauma care. Injuries may also force people to take a leave of absence from work or may make them dependent on assistive technology to complete even basic job functions. Whether someone accidentally severs their finger due to a timing error in a manufacturing facility or crushes their lower leg in a warehouse incident involving a forklift, the worker can potentially apply for workers’ compensation benefits in response to their injury. A successful claim can cover the full costs of an individual’s treatment expenses for any necessary care related to the injury, including surgery, physical therapy and prescription costs.
While recovering from an extremity injury during treatment or surgery, workers can qualify for total or partial disability benefits. If the injury results in a permanent restriction in the functioning of the extremity, the worker could also be entitled to a lump sum payment award.
If the injury becomes chronic and doesn’t stabilize, the worker may be eligible for ongoing permanent partial disability benefits if they are unable to return to work, or if their return to work results in a reduction in earnings because of the injury.
Workers shouldn’t fear speaking up
Reporting a workplace injury, seeking benefits and requesting doctor-recommended physical accommodations on the job are typically all protected activities. Workers should not have to worry about any kind of punishment or retaliation from their employer when they get hurt on the job and need medical care and possibly a leave of absence.
Seeking legal guidance when applying for workers’ compensation benefits or communicating with an employer about the restrictive impact of a recent job injury can potentially help those who have been hurt at work reduce the lasting financial impact of their injuries.