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How Much Is a Workers' Comp Wrist Injury Settlement?

Written by
A drawing of the lead workers' compensation lawyer for Atticus.
Victoria Muñoz
Lead Attorney
January 26, 2024  ·  4 min read
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The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that more than 34,000 Americans injured their wrists while at work in 2020, and 38% missed at least a month of work because of it.1 If you injured your wrist, you could qualify for workers’ compensation, which includes weekly payments, wage replacement, and medical coverage. Depending on how serious your injury is and how long it keeps you out of work, you may also be able to negotiate a big workers’ comp settlement.


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

Based on 2023 data from the National Safety Council (NSC), the average workers’ comp settlement for wrist injuries is $26,284. That breaks down to $14,576 to cover medical expenses and an $11,708 indemnity payment from the insurance company.2

That said, this amount is a national average and your individual settlement could be more or less. Your personal settlement amount will come down to the type of wrist injury you have, how serious the injury is, and what you do for work.

According to the NSC, people with fractures receive an average settlement of $62,240, while cumulative injuries (such as arthritis) result in an average payment of $16,763. Surgery could increase your payout too. Injuries that require amputation settle for about $126,000 on average.

Why your wrist settlement could be worth more

If you work in a job that requires you to use your wrists or hands throughout the day, you may miss more work time and get a bigger payout. Injuries that affect additional body parts — like your arms, hands, fingers, or thumbs — could complicate recovery and allow you to negotiate a higher settlement. A preexisting injury could also complicate your recovery. Older workers also tend to receive higher settlements because they need longer to recover on average.

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

Do all wrist injuries qualify for workers’ comp? 

Any wrist injury can qualify for workers’ comp if it happened on the job, it keeps you out of work for days, and you report it to your employer.

You have a limited number of days to report your injury to your employer. Most states give you three to seven days. After that period has passed, getting approved becomes very challenging if not impossible.

Unfortunately, independent contractors, freelancers, and gig workers rarely qualify for workers’ compensation.

Examples of workers’ comp wrist injuries

No two wrist injuries are the same, but anything that causes weakness, pain, stiffness, loss of motion, or decreased range of motion in your wrists could get you workers’ comp benefits. You can qualify with conditions resulting from one-time accidents, and repetitive-use injuries, though you may need to prove that your work caused or significantly contributed to the condition.

Below are some common examples of eligible wrist injuries:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Cartilage damage
  • Cuts and abrasions
  • Dislocations
  • Fractures (including stress fractures)
  • Ganglion cysts
  • Sprains
  • Strains
  • Tendonitis
  • Twists
  • Pseudogout (CPPD)
  • Osteoarthritis and other types of arthritis

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


When does workers’ comp offer a settlement for a wrist injury?

A wrist injury won’t always lead to a workers’ comp settlement. The insurance company is more likely to settle if you’ll be out of work for an extended period of time, especially if you’ve reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) and will need to move to permanent disability benefit.

Settlements are more common for chronic injuries that will interfere with your work indefinitely, or conditions requiring complicated medical care. In both situations, agreeing to a settlement allows the insurance company to avoid months or years of payments. Whether or not you should accept an offer at a certain point depends on your claim details and we recommend talking with a workers’ comp attorney

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


What should you do if you get a settlement offer?

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

  1. Accept the settlement offer.
  2. Reject the settlement and continue receiving benefits.
  3. Negotiate for a better settlement.

Depending on your situation, any of the above could be the right choice. You ultimately want to secure a settlement that can easily cover all your current and future medical expenses plus other costs of living while you’re not working. Those calculations aren’t usually easy so any time you get a settlement offer, it’s a good time to find a workers’ comp lawyer. A local lawyer will know what fair compensation is based on your industry, your specific wrist injury, and the cost of medical treatment in your area.

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


How much does workers’ comp pay if I don’t settle?

If you don’t settle, you can expect workers’ comp payments worth up to two-thirds (66.67%) of the average wages in most states. The type of wrist injury you have doesn’t affect your initial payment amount, but where you live does so check workers’ comp pay rates in your state. Insurance should also pay for all medical care you need while recovering, but it will pay your medical providers directly.


How long will payments last if I don’t settle?

Workers’ comp payments will almost always continue until you either reach MMI, return to work, or settle with the insurance company. If you’ve recovered as much as possible but you still can’t return to work, you should automatically transition to permanent workers’ comp payments. How long those last depends on your disability impairment rating (assigned by your worker’s comp doctor) and the specific injury you have. In cases where you lose total functionality of your wrist, hand, or arm, lifetime payments are possible.


Do I need a workers’ comp lawyer?

Having a workers’ comp lawyer can make the process much easier — especially if you need to negotiate a settlement — but you don’t need one. Lawyers can better determine what an appropriate payout is for your specific wrist injury and the area where you live. If you run into any issues, like if your payments end or insurance refuses to pay for medical care, a lawyer can fight for the benefits you deserve.

Cost isn’t a barrier, either. A reputable workers’ compensation lawyer will offer a free initial consultation and won’t ask for upfront payments. You’ll pay nothing until after you get your settlement. Atticus can connect you with a lawyer in your area.

Call us to get help with your workers' comp claim today.

Common questions about workers’ comp wrist 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 a wrist injury qualify for workers’ comp?

If your wrist injury is caused by your job, it's serious enough that you need to miss work, and you report it to your employer quickly, it 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 a wrist injury?

The average workers’ comp settlement for a wrist injury is about $26,000 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 wrist surgery increase my workers’ comp settlement?

It depends. Wrist surgery could increase your potential settlement if it doesn’t lead to a recovery or if you have complications. 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 a wrist injury?

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

See what you qualify for

How long ago did you get an injury or illness at work?

References

  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 January 26, 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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