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How Much Is a Workers' Comp Arm Injury Settlement?

Written by
A drawing of the lead workers' compensation lawyer for Atticus.
Victoria Muñoz
Lead Attorney
April 26, 2024  ·  5 min read
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Atticus offers free, high-quality workers' compensation advice to those injured at work. Our team of Stanford and Harvard trained lawyers has a combined 15+ years of legal experience, and help thousands of Americans get the benefits they deserve each year.

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More than 37,000 Americans suffered an arm injury while at work in 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and 35% of them needed a month or more off work to recover.1 If you injured your arm while at work, you could qualify for workers’ compensation, which includes weekly payments for lost wages and coverage for medical bills. You may also be able to negotiate a substantial workers’ comp settlement depending on the extent of your injury and how much work you have to miss because of it.

How much is the average workers' comp arm injury settlement?

Data from the National Safety Council (NSC) released in 2023 shows that workers with arm injuries settled for an average of nearly $49,800. Of that, the insurance company paid $25,800 to cover medical expenses and the remaining $24,000 was an indemnity payment for lost wages.2

Keep in mind, though, that this amount is a national average. Your settlement could be more or less depending on the type of arm injury you have, how it affects your ability to do your usual job duties, and your pre-injury income.

For example, the NSC reports that workers with a dislocation settled for an average of $62,000, while injuries from cuts and lacerations settled for half as much.

You deserve a fair workers' comp settlement. Atticus can help.

Why your arm settlement could be higher

You may be able to get a bigger payout if your job depends upon your ability to make certain arm movements you can no longer do. If your injury affects multiple body parts — like your shoulders, wrists, or hands — your recovery could take longer and allow you to negotiate a larger settlement.

Pre-existing injuries can also complicate your recovery. Older workers need longer to recover on average, so they also tend to receive higher settlements.

Surgery could also increase your payout. As an example, injuries that require amputation result in an average settlement of over $125,000.

Arm injuries that qualify for workers’ comp

Any arm injury can qualify for workers’ comp as long as the injury happened while at work or was a direct result of your work. It also needs to keep you from working for at least multiple day.

Most importantly, you must report your injury to your employer quickly. You have a limited number of days and after that period has passed, it’s much harder — and often impossible — to file a claim. How long you have depends on where you live, but most states give workers three to seven days. Here’s how long you have to report injuries in every state.

Unfortunately, you can’t qualify for workers’ compensation if you’re an independent contractor, freelancer, or gig worker.

Common workers’ comp arm injuries

Every arm injury is different, but you can typically qualify for workers’ comp benefits with any condition that causes weakness, pain, stiffness, loss of motion, or decreased range of motion in your arms. Injuries that occur following a one-time accident or repetitive use both qualify, but workers with repetitive-use injuries have to prove their work either caused or significantly contributed to the condition.

Below are some common examples of eligible arm injuries:

  • Broken arm bones, including the forearm, upper arm, or elbow

  • Bursitis

  • Cartilage damage

  • Cubital tunnel syndrome

  • Cuts and abrasions

  • Dislocations

  • Fractures (including stress fractures)

  • Muscle strains

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Pinched nerves

  • Pseudogout and other types of arthritis

  • Sprains

  • Strain or injury to the biceps or triceps tendon

  • Tendonitis

  • Tennis elbow

  • Torn rotator cuff

  • Twists

Learn more about the types of injuries that qualify for workers’ comp.

When does workers’ comp offer a settlement for an arm injury?

Workers’ comp won’t always settle arm injury claims. You’re more likely to receive a settlement offer if you’ll be out of work for an extended period, especially if you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) and expect to need permanent disability benefits.

Insurance companies commonly offer a settlement for chronic and long-term conditions to avoid needing to send you months or years of payments. Whether or not accepting an offer is in your best interest depends on your case. Consulting with a workers’ comp lawyer is the best way to find out since they can evaluate your whole situation and give personalized estimates.

Learn more about when workers’ comp typically offers a settlement.

What you should do if you get a settlement offer

If the insurance company offers a settlement for your arm injury, you can respond in one of three ways:

  1. Accept the settlement.

  2. Reject the settlement and continue receiving benefits.

  3. Negotiate a better settlement.

Any of the above options could be the best choice depending on your personal circumstances. Your goal is to secure a settlement large enough to cover current and future medical care plus future lost wages and living expenses while you’re out of work. Calculating that amount is complicated, so it’s smart to find a workers’ comp lawyer once you get a settlement offer. A local lawyer will determine a fair settlement amount based on your industry, how much similar arm injuries have settled for, and the cost of medical care in your area. A lawyer also won’t charge anything upfront — you only pay after you get a settlement — so getting started with one is free.

Read more: What Does a Workers’ Comp Lawyer Do That I Can’t

How much workers’ comp pays if you don’t settle

In most states, workers’ comp offers payments worth up to two-thirds (66.67%) of your average wages if you don’t settle. Your initial payment amount won’t vary based on your injury, but where you live does impact your payments. Check workers’ comp pay rates in your state for a more accurate estimate.

Workers’ comp insurance will also pay any medical expenses you need in order to recover, but it will pay out directly to your medical providers. If you need medical care that insurance says it won’t pay for, that’s a good time to contact a lawyer.

How long payments last if you don’t settle

Workers’ comp payments almost always last until you either reach MMI, return to work, or settle with the insurance company. You can automatically transition to permanent workers’ comp payments if you’ve recovered as much as possible but you’re still unable to return to work. How long permanent payments last depends on the disability or impairment rating your workers’ comp doctor assigns and the type of injury you have. If you lose complete use of your arm, hand, or wrist, you may be eligible for lifetime payments.

Find how long workers’ comp lasts in your state.

Do you need a workers’ comp lawyer?

You don’t need a workers’ comp lawyer, but having one can streamline the process, particularly if you need to negotiate a settlement. An experienced lawyer is trained in your state and local laws, so they know how to calculate a fair payout based on your specific arm injury.

Even if you never run into an issue, a lawyer will work as your advocate to get you more independent medical care, prevent insurance from taking advantage of you, and anticipate issues that could arise later in the process.

Cost doesn’t have to be a concern, either. Reputable workers’ compensation lawyers offer free consultations and won’t ask for payment upfront. You’ll only pay after you get your settlement. Since the average settlement with an Atticus lawyer is double what people get on their own, you’re still making money after paying the lawyer fee.

To connect with a local lawyer and get your questions answered today, complete our 3-minute workers’ comp quiz or call us at the number below.

Get workers' comp help today.

Common questions about workers’ comp arm injuries

Who qualifies for workers’ comp?

Most full-time and part-time workers can qualify for workers’ comp, but independent contractors, consultants, and freelancers don’t usually qualify.

Can an arm injury qualify for workers’ comp?

If your arm injury is serious enough that you need to miss work and you report it to your employer quickly, you could qualify for workers’ comp benefits. Here’s how long you have to report a work injury in your state.

How much will my settlement be for an arm injury?

The average workers’ comp settlement for an arm injury is about $50,000 nationally, you could get much more or less depending on your situation. If you want to maximize your settlement, talk with a workers’ comp attorney. Settlements are twice as high with an Atticus attorney, on average.

Should I accept a workers’ comp settlement?

It depends on your personal situation. Negotiating is best in many cases, but we recommend getting a lawyer’s opinion before you make any decision. They can help you negotiate enough to cover your current and future medical expenses, lost wages, and other bills while you’re out of work.

Will surgery increase my workers’ comp settlement?

It depends. Surgery could increase your potential settlement if you have complications or need a long recovery. But it could decrease your potential settlement if it greatly improves your symptoms. Get a more detailed answer in our guide to when surgery increases workers’ comp settlements.

Will I pay tax on my workers’ comp settlement?

No. Workers’ compensation settlements aren’t taxable, with only very rare exceptions.

What if I can’t return to work after my arm injury?

You may qualify for permanent workers' comp benefits or long-term benefits through a program like SSDI. Learn more about your options if you can’t return to work after an injury or illness.

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Related resources:

How Much a Workers' Comp Lawyer Costs

A hand draw portrait of a smiling, helpful lawyer.
By Victoria Muñoz

5 Common Questions About Workers' Comp Lawyers

A hand draw portrait of a smiling, helpful lawyer.
By Victoria Muñoz

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  1. 1.
    Bureau of Labor Statistics, Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities,” U.S. Department of Labor, accessed January 26, 2024, https://www.bls.gov/iif/.
  2. 2.
    Workers’ Compensation Costs,” National Safety Council, accessed April 30, 2024, https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/work/costs/workers-compensation-costs/.
A drawing of the lead workers' compensation lawyer for Atticus.

Victoria Muñoz

Lead Attorney

Victoria Muñoz is an attorney on Atticus’s Workers' Compensation team. She’s a licensed attorney, a graduate of Stanford Law School, and has counseled hundreds of people seeking workers' compensation. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and spending time with her pup.
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