Decatur Hand & Elbow Injury Lawyer
Decatur Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Helping Ensure You Get the Benefits You Need and Deserve
An injury to your hand or elbow can prevent you from performing many activities of ordinary living which you had taken for granted before getting injured. These injuries are also likely to severely restrict your ability to work. If you get injured at work, Georgia workers’ compensation benefits can cover all your medical needs related to the injury while also replacing a portion of your lost wages while you are out of work because of the injury.
Unfortunately, hand and elbow injuries can be difficult to diagnose properly, which is critical to getting the right care and treatment. Your employer’s insurance carrier might not want you to get certain testing, such as an MRI or EMG/NCV testing, even when your doctor ordered it. They often don’t want to pay for extensive testing, and they don’t want to be on the hook paying for what turns out to be an extensive injury.
A Decatur hand & elbow injury lawyer can help ensure that you get the proper testing, the proper treatment, and the appropriate benefits to which you are entitled. In Georgia, injured workers trust Andrew and Dan O’Connell at the O’Connell Law Firm to make sure they are being treated right by their employer and the company’s workers’ comp carrier. If you have suffered a hand or elbow injury on the job in Decatur, call the O’Connell Law Firm for a free consultation about your claim.
What Kinds of Hand & Elbow Injuries Are Compensable Through Workers’ Compensation?
Any hand or elbow injury that occurs at work should be compensable. The trick is having the condition promptly and accurately diagnosed and tied to the workplace. Some hand and elbow injuries occur in a single traumatic event while others present over time due to repetitive motions at work. It can be more difficult to improve a repetitive motion injury is work-related; an experienced Georgia workers’ compensation attorney can be an invaluable ally in making sure you get your benefits. Below are some of the most common hand and elbow injuries that happen on the job.
Fractures (broken bones) are a common workplace injury resulting from a fall. Often a worker will try to break the fall by putting out a hand or arm; the outcome is a fracture to the hand, arm, elbow or wrist. Crushing injuries in machinery can also cause devastating hand fractures. Workers struck in the arm or wrist by a falling object or loose equipment such as swinging cables or chains can also suffer broken bones as a result of the accident. Depending on whether the fracture is open, closed, displaced, or non-displaced, treatment might include setting the bone in a cast to heal, or it might require surgery and the insertion of metal hardware such as pins, plates or screws. Workers with fracture injuries are also at risk of serious complications such as nerve damage, ruptured blood vessels, and osteomyelitis, a bone infection that can be painful and difficult to treat.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
The median nerve travels through the wrist under a ligament band known as the carpal tunnel. Carpal tunnel syndrome results from prolonged pressure on the median nerve at this location. Repetitive motions on the assembly line or working with vibrating equipment such as jackhammers might cause carpal tunnel syndrome, as well as using a computer mouse or typing at a desk all day if the wrists are pressing down on the desk surface. A properly set-up workspace can often alleviate these risk factors for carpal tunnel syndrome.
Tingling and numbness in the fingers or hand, particularly in the thumb, index and middle fingers, are signs of carpal tunnel syndrome. X-rays might be ordered to rule out a fracture or arthritis as the cause, but more specific testing such as electromyography (EMG) and a nerve conduction study (NCS) are more likely to diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome. Nonsurgical treatment might include putting the wrist in a splint and receiving steroid injections, but often surgery is needed to cut the ligament and release the median nerve from the pressure it is under.
Cubital tunnel syndrome
Also known as ulnar nerve entrapment, cubital tunnel syndrome occurs when the ulnar nerve becomes compressed at the elbow. Tingling or numbness in the fingers and hand, particularly in the little finger and ring finger, are indications of cubital tunnel syndrome. Prolonged pressure on the elbow, such as from sitting at a desk that is not ergonomically designed, can induce cubital tunnel syndrome, as can repetitive tasks at work that involve frequently bending or flexing the elbow. Treatment can range from home remedies and physical therapy to surgery. It’s important to catch this condition as early as possible to have the opportunity to benefit from nonsurgical interventions.
De Quervain’s tenosynovitis
Also called radial styloid tenosynovitis, De Quervain’s is a painful condition affecting the tendons in the wrist just below the base of the thumb. Symptoms include wrist pain and tenderness. Treatment can range from home care and pain relievers to physical therapy and even surgery. Performing the same repetitive movement on the job over time is a common cause of De Quervain’s.
Commonly known as tennis elbow, damage or inflammation to the epicondyle in the elbow (the same area implicated in cubital tunnel syndrome) can cause pain on the outside of the elbow. Repetitive motion is almost always the culprit of tennis elbow, although a traumatic injury could be to blame as well. Resting the inflamed area, along with pain relief medication and physical therapy, are the most common treatments for epicondylitis.
Ulnar collateral ligament injury
The UCL is most likely to get injured by repetitive stress due to repeated overhead movements, although a single traumatic event can cause a UCL tear. Spending long hours with the arms stretched overhead to operate machinery or shelve products can cause a gradual UCL injury, while falling on an outstretched arm or reaching up to catch a heavy object falling from overhead could cause a traumatic tear. As with other hand and elbow injuries described above, treatment may range from rest, pain meds and physical therapy to surgical relief such as UCL reconstruction with a tendon graft, also known as Tommy John Surgery.
Hand and Elbow Injuries Take Time to Heal Properly
As you can see, surgery is often a recommended course of treatment for a hand or elbow injury, including carpal tunnel release surgery, cubital tunnel release surgery, wrist arthroscopy, elbow arthroscopy, ligament repair, or tendon repair. If you have continued pain in your hand or elbow, you might also be a candidate for pain management treatment, which can include prescription pain medication, physical therapy, and epidural steroid injections.
Whether the treatment regimen for your hand or elbow injury involves surgical or nonsurgical solutions or both, rest and time off from using the injured body parts are hallmarks of effective treatment and recovery. Expect that you might need weeks or months off from work or work at a restricted, light-duty assignment. Don’t push yourself to get back to work too soon, and don’t let the insurance carrier try to send you back too soon either. The decision to go back to work should be made in connection with a doctor’s release based on your physical condition and the physical demands of your job.
Get the Workers’ Comp Benefits You Deserve After a Hand or Elbow Injury on the Job in Decatur
If you are worried that you are not getting the right treatment for your hand or elbow injury or that your benefits will be cut off early, call the O’Connell Law Firm in Decatur for help. We’ll make sure you are treated properly and get the benefits that you are entitled to.