There are two ways hand injuries occur. First, they can result from repetitive motion. These types of claims can often be surgically repaired and you can return to work. Second, your hand injury can result from an accident where your hand is crushed, broken or somehow injured in a specific accident. In both of these scenarios you can be left with a hand or hands that no longer function. These types of hand injury claims can be devastating and you can lose your job.
Almost every hand injury case requires you to hire specialized medical experts to testify in your case. These medical experts are required by the Idaho Industrial Commission because the Idaho Supreme Court has repeated held that “a claimant must provide medical testimony that supports a claim for compensation to a reasonable degree of medical probability”. Langley v. State, Industrial Special Indemnity Fund, 126 Idaho 781, 785, 890 P.2d 732, 736 (1995).
You will need an orthopaedic hand surgeon to testify. Most individuals with hand injuries cannot lift over 10 pounds. This type of restriction will only allow you to do sedentary work or office type work. Office work will require you to use your hands frequently to finger and handle papers and files and type on the computer. Most of the time, your hand surgeon will give you a restriction of only occasional fingering and handling. This restriction will effectively eliminate all jobs.
To support your hand surgeon’s opinion you will need an occupational therapist or physical therapist to test your hands to see how much you can lift and how often you can use them. After the testing is completed the occupational therapist or physical therapist will prepare an expert witness report called a Function Capacity Evaluation.
You will need a vocational expert to testify that these restrictions from the medical experts when applied to the labor market in Idaho leave you with no labor market, because all entry level sedentary jobs require frequent fingering and handling. If the Commission believes these expert witnesses, the Commission will likely find your hand injury has left you totally and permanently disabled. You cannot proceed with a hand injury claim if you do not have reports from these experts and their willingness to testify at your hearing.
Most folks don’t have the funds to pay for these experts. If we accept your case, our law firm has the resources to advance the payment for these expert witnesses. As experienced Idaho workers’ compensation lawyers we know the experts who can and will effectively testify in a hand injury case.
This is the deep end of Idaho workers’ compensation law. Make sure you choose your attorney wisely.Treatment for Your Idaho Hand Injury Claim
Repetitive hand injuries may result in numbness or tingling in your hand and down into your fingers. You may also have pain in your hand and fingers. Your primary care doctor or the company doctor will refer you to a specially trained orthopaedic hand surgeon. In your first visit, the surgeon will order x-rays to be taken, MRI scans or CT scans to determine the extent of the damage to your hand. Most hand injuries caused by repetitive motion require surgeries to fix them. Most injured workers are able to return to their former employment after they have the surgery completed and a few weeks of recovery and physical therapy. However, sometimes these injuries cannot be surgically repaired, and you are left with a seriously disabled hand or hands.
In the second case where you break your hand or your hand becomes crushed or injured in an accident, you will be immediately sent to the hand surgeon, probably by the emergency room doctor. The hand surgeon may even be brought into the hospital to repair your hand. Once again, the surgeon will order diagnostic testing in the form of X-rays, MRI scans or CT scans to determine the extent of the damage in your hand. The doctor will offer surgical procedures to be performed on your hand. Then you will complete your recover from your hand injury by working with a physical or occupational therapist that is specifically trained to rehabilitate hand injuries. During your period of recovery, you will receive Total Temporary Disability benefits which are calculated at 67% of your average weekly wage up to a maximum of 90% of the average state weekly wage.Impairment Rating and Restrictions
When you come to maximum recovery, make sure your hand surgeon calculates your impairment rating using the Sixth Edition of the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment. To assist your surgeon in setting your restrictions, talk to them about sending you for a functional capacity evaluation to be completed by a physical or occupational therapist that is specifically trained to complete this type of testing. In Idaho, there is a very small group of people who can effectively perform a functional capacity evaluation that specifically addresses hand restrictions. We will help direct you to the physical therapist or occupational therapist that does this type of testing.Experienced Idaho Worker’s Compensation Attorney
We have successfully represented hundreds of Idaho workers who have injured their hands. You need an experienced Idaho worker’s compensation attorney to find and bring together a winning team of expert medical and vocational witnesses to testify on your behalf. Put me to work on your case today. Call me at 208-232-6101. I will answer your questions for free. No obligation.