If you suffered a severe injury to your arm or hand in the workplace, you may be entitled to file for workers’ compensation in North Carolina. Workers’ compensation is designed to pay for medical bills for injured workers who cannot return to their job. It also works to provide you with replacement wages while you are unable to work.
After a severe hand or arm injury at work, call the Charlotte workers’ comp lawyers at The Ramsay Law Firm today. Our attorneys represent victims of workplace accidents and on-the-job injuries in Charlotte, NC and beyond. To schedule a free consultation on your case, contact our law offices today at (704) 376-1616.
Finger, Hand, and Arm Amputation and Injury Lawyers in North Carolina
Losing use of a finger, hand, or arm can mean intense pain and complications with your life. In the fortunate case that you do not lose the appendage, you may still lose function, suffer serious discomfort, and need a long time to heal. Fortunately, workers’ compensation may cover your needs while you recover.
If you can return to work, North Carolina’s workers’ comp system has a set of “scheduled” benefits. For specific injuries, this schedule helps you determine what compensation you may be eligible for. First, any necessary medical expenses should be covered as long as they are related to your injury. Second, you may be entitled to receive up to 66 2/3% of your normal weekly paycheck while you are recovering from your injury. The schedule of damages codified in § 97-31 of the Workers’ Compensation Act works as a guide to determine any additional weekly benefits for permanent injuries.
The Workers’ Comp Act lists the following benefits for the loss or injury to any of the following body parts:
- Thumb – 75 weeks
- Index finger – 45 weeks
- Middle finger – 40 weeks
- Ring finger – 25 weeks
- Pinky finger – 20 weeks
- Hand – 200 weeks
- Arm – 240 weeks
These week counts dictate how many additional weeks you will be able to receive your replacement wages after your healing period. Note that the benefits for a hand injury can last nearly 4 years, and arm injuries can get you over 4.5 years of coverage. Loss of both arms or both hands counts as permanent disability and may be mean ongoing wage benefits. However, these scheduled benefits are the benefits for total loss of the appendage (or total loss of function).
If your injury was only partial loss, partial loss of function, or if you recover some use of the body part, your benefits may be reduced. Typically, these “Permanent Partial Disability” (PPD) cases mean partial benefits. They calculate what percentage function you lost, and typically award you proportional coverage. For instance, losing half of your middle finger may result in half the benefits, or 20 weeks of benefits. For injury to multiple fingers, the schedule gives guidance – but the loss of multiple fingers can never exceed the benefits for the loss of a whole hand.
Claiming Workers’ Comp for Arm and Hand Injuries
In North Carolina, workers’ compensation is considered an “exclusive remedy.” This means that, by law, all injured workers are required to file through workers’ comp instead of suing their employer after a serious injury. This means that if you injured your arm or hand or lost a finger during a workplace accident, workers’ comp must be the first option for compensation. There are exceptions, however, that let you sue instead.
If your employer provided extremely dangerous workplace conditions, intentionally harmed you, does not have workers’ comp insurance, or was a federal employer, you may not be required to use North Carolina’s workers’ comp. Some instances of employer negligence are so severe that you could be entitled to additional damages for pain and suffering, and even damages to punish your employer. In these cases, you may be permitted to file a lawsuit. The same is true if your employer or a coworker intentionally harmed you. If your employer does not carry workers’ comp insurance, you may have no choice but to sue for damages. Lastly, federal workers usually use the federal workers’ comp system instead of NC’s system. So, if you work for the post office, a federal courthouse, or another federal employer, you may not use NC’s workers’ comp.
When you file for workers’ comp, you may be entitled to lost wages and medical expenses. This can help you support yourself and your family while you recover from your injuries. Talk to an attorney about how to file and maintain your eligibility. As soon as you are well enough to return to work, you may have your benefits terminated. Talk to a lawyer today about how to maximize your benefits and whether accepting a workers’ comp lump sum settlement may be beneficial in your case.
North Carolina Workers’ Comp Lawyers
If you or a loved one suffered a serious workplace injury and lost (or lost function in) your hand, fingers, or arm, contact a workers’ compensation attorney today. The Charlotte hand and arm injury lawyers at the Ramsay Law Firm, P.A., are available for free consultations. To schedule your consultation with our attorneys, call our law offices today at (704) 376-1616.