How Much Is a Workers' Comp Finger Injury Settlement?
January 31, 2024 · 5 min read
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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than 75,000 workers injured their fingers, including fingertips, fingernails, and nail beds in 2020. About 22% of those injuries resulted in more than a month of missed work.1 If you suffered a work-related finger injury, you could qualify for wage replacement, medical coverage, and possibly a settlement through workers’ compensation.
How much is the average workers' comp finger injury settlement?
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the average workers’ comp settlement for finger injuries is just over $26,000. This includes about $14,500 designated for medical expenses and an additional $11,700 indemnity payment from the insurance company.2
These average payouts are a good gauge of what you could get, though your actual settlement amount could vary widely based on the type of injury you have, how serious it is, what your job is, and how much you get paid. A finger injury that impacts other body parts — like your hand, wrist, or arm — could increase your possible payout. Thumb injuries could lead to higher payouts as long as they impact your ability to do your job. If you have a preexisting condition or any other condition that complicates recovery, you may be able to negotiate an even higher settlement.
Looking more broadly, NSC data shows that injuries involving a fracture, crush, or dislocation settle for more than $60,000, on average, while injuries that primarily involve cuts or abrasions settle for less than half as much. Surgery could also increase your settlement in some cases.
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Do all finger injuries qualify for workers’ comp?
Any finger injury can qualify for workers’ comp as long as it happened while doing your job and it caused you to miss work to recover. One-time accidents and conditions that develop over time (like repetitive-strain injuries) also qualify. Since workers’ comp is a no-fault program, it doesn’t matter who caused the injury.
Independent contractors, freelancers, and gig workers don’t qualify for workers’ comp in most cases, regardless of what their injury is.
Examples of workers’ comp finger injuries
If your injury causes weakness, pain, stiffness, or decreased range of motion in your fingers such that you can’t do your job, you can qualify for workers’ comp. Many people who receive workers’ comp have injuries that affect multiple fingers or also their hands, wrists, and arms.
Below are some of the most common finger injuries that qualify for workers’ comp:
Cuts, abrasions, and lacerations
Fractures, including stress and hairline fractures
Ligament damage, including skier’s thumb
Loss of any part of a finger or thumb
Loss of finger nail
Subungual hematoma, when a clot forms under the nail
When does workers’ comp offer a settlement for a finger injury?
Workers’ comp doesn’t always end in a settlement. If the insurance company is going to settle, it’ll likely make an offer immediately after your benefits start or after you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). For an insurer, settling immediately helps them avoid the payments or medical bills that could result from a complicated or unpredictable injury. Waiting until you approach MMI gives insurance time to more accurately gauge whether you’ll return to work soon or if you’ll need more treatment and payments. Chronic conditions that make it difficult to ever return to work commonly lead to settlements.
If insurance offers a settlement for your finger injury, you can respond in a few ways:
Accept the settlement offer as is.
Reject the settlement offer (and continue receiving benefits).
Negotiate a higher settlement amount.
Any of the above could be the right choice for your injury, so we recommend discussing any settlement offer with a workers’ comp lawyer to ensure you’re getting a fair payment. A local lawyer will know what an appropriate payout is for your injury, your job, and the cost of medical care in your area. One of the primary advantages of working with an experienced lawyer is that they’ve handled similar cases and know medical professionals who handle workers’ comp claims and will provide the care you need.
What is a good settlement offer?
Your priority should be to secure a settlement that can cover your lost income from being unable to work, your current and future medical expenses, plus any other expenses you’ll have because of your injury. These costs can be difficult to calculate yourself, but helping you create an accurate estimate is one key task a workers’ comp lawyer can do for you. A lawyer will also know how to effectively negotiate with the insurance company and work with your doctors to secure necessary care. Luckily, a lawyer also won’t change anything upfront, so you don’t need to pay anything until after you get a settlement payment.
Payments usually come weekly or every other week. They last until you reach MMI, return to work, or settle with the insurance company. If you reach MMI but can’t return to work and don’t agree to a settlement, you can qualify for long-term payments called permanent disability benefits. Your workers’ comp doctor will give you a permanent impairment rating when you reach MMI. That rating is used to calculate the value and length of your long-term checks. Full disability payments could last for the rest of your life, though most people’s benefits won’t last that long.
Workers’ comp will also pay for any necessary medical care as you work toward MMI, including costs like copays and travel expenses, but the insurer will generally pay your medical providers directly.
You don’t need a lawyer, especially if your injury isn’t severe or you have a clear idea of how long it will take to heal. For example, a cut on your finger that was treated quickly and is expected to heal normally over a couple of weeks probably won’t require a lawyer’s help.
However, there are some clear situations when a lawyer can help. If insurance denies your claim, your employer is rushing you back to work, or your doctor says you can go back to work before you think you can, a lawyer can help fight for your rights as an injured worker. Lawyers are especially helpful if you or your insurance wants to agree to a settlement offer.
Even if you don’t run into any issues, it doesn’t hurt to consult with a lawyer about your case. Your initial call is free and if there’s no need for legal help, you can continue will your previous recovery plan.
Call us to get help with your workers' comp claim today.
Common questions about workers’ comp finger 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.
How much will my settlement be for a finger injury?
The average workers’ comp settlement for a finger injury is about $26,300 nationally, but you could get much more or less depending on your situation. If you want to maximize your settlement, contact an Atticus workers’ comp attorney. Settlements with our attorneys are twice as high as claims without an 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 finger surgery increase my workers’ comp settlement?
It depends. Surgery could increase your potential settlement if it doesn’t lead to a quick recovery or if you have complications. But it could decrease your potential settlement if it greatly improves your symptoms or recovery time. Get a more detailed answer in our guide to when surgery increases workers’ comp settlements.
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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