An arm injury is a severe problem for workers in all occupations because virtually no tasks can be accomplished without using one’s arms. You need your arms to lift, push, and pull objects, use equipment like computers and scanners, operate machinery, and drive vehicles. A workplace arm injury could quickly leave you unable to return to work while you recover, and if it turns into a chronic condition, you might have to change jobs. Fortunately, Workers’ Compensation benefits are available if you suffer a work accident resulting in an arm injury.
The arm is made of three major bones, the ulna, humerus, and radius, plus many muscles, joints, tendons, and tissue. The upper arm extends into the shoulder joint, which can also become injured. The following are some of the most common workplace arm injuries:
- Sprains and strains from overexertion can happen when a worker lifts, pulls, or pushes an object. Reaching and extending beyond a comfortable range can also cause arm injuries.
- Fractures are common when a worker slips and falls or experiences forceful trauma, such as being pinned or crushed by machinery.
- Tendonitis is a painful condition caused by swelling of the tendons that connect the muscles to the bones in the arms.
- Bursitis is caused when the bursae become inflamed, and movement can be painful and greatly limited.
- Performing the same task over and over can lead to arm injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, where swelling in the wrist and arm pinch the nerves that pass through that area. Advanced carpal tunnel syndrome can make it challenging to accomplish the most basic daily tasks, like brushing your teeth.
- The elbow muscles can be injured, as can the ulnar nerve sitting at the end of the upper arm bone. Tennis elbow is a repetitive stress injury that can develop from work-related activities. The elbow can also be fractured, an injury that can take many months to heal.
- Rotator cuff injuries involve the shoulder joint and are common in workers that do the heavy lifting and overhead work.
- Amputation of all or part of the arm may be necessary after a crushing injury, caught-in/between accident, or severe burns.
What Are Common Causes of Workplace Arm Injuries?
Slip and fall accidents are prevalent across all industries, resulting in many arm injuries, as it is a natural instinct to use your hands to break a fall. Slip and falls happen when good housekeeping practices are not being followed, and pathways are not clear of obstacles.
Being struck by an object can also cause arm injuries. Tools or materials can fall from scaffolding or shelving, debris can fly out from hand tools, or a worker could be hit by moving equipment or vehicles, such as a forklift.
Caught-in/between accidents can result in severe arm injuries if a worker operating heavy machinery gets caught in the moving parts. Safety training can teach workers the importance of tying hair back and removing jewelry and loose clothing before their work shift.
Repetitive tasks like scanning, typing, and working on a conveyor belt line can cause injuries to the hands, wrist, and arm. This can be remedied by rotating workers through repetitive tasks and taking regular breaks to rest and stretch. Ergonomic tools that correctly fit the worker’s body can also prevent repetitive stress injuries.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Workplace Arm Injuries
After any workplace accident, there are two steps you must take. One is to see a medical professional to have your injuries evaluated, and the other is to report the accident to your employer. Failure to do either of these can jeopardize your claim for benefits if you decide to file a Workers’ Compensation claim. Be sure to tell the doctor treating you that your arm injury is work-related or the result of a workplace accident.
A medical professional may use a variety of tests to determine the nature and seriousness of your arm injury. X-rays will show if any arm bones have been fractured or broken. An MRI test may be used for ligament tears in the arm or shoulder. Damage to nerves can be assessed through an EMG.
Seeing a doctor promptly can help you get the right care for your injury. Ignoring the pain or other symptoms and waiting too long can worsen your condition, make a recovery more difficult or even do permanent damage.
Treatment of fractures and broken arm bones can range from splints and casts to surgery to secure the bone with screws, depending on the severity of the injury. Some severe fractures cannot be corrected completely.
Mild cases of carpal tunnel syndrome can be treated by resting the muscles, a wrist splint for support, anti-inflammatory medication, and physical therapy. Severe cases where the nerves have already been damaged may require surgery and a lengthy recovery period.
Compensation for Workplace Arm Injuries
If you have been injured on the job or developed a job-related illness, you should be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits that cover your medical bills, including doctor visits, testing, medications, surgeries, braces, and physical therapy. You can also receive wage loss benefits if you miss work due to your injury. These are paid at a rate of around two-thirds of your salary. If one or both of your arms is permanently impaired, you may receive disability benefits.
It is advantageous to consult a lawyer who has experience handling Workers’ Compensation claims. A Workers’ Compensation lawyer will:
- Know how to calculate the number of benefits you are entitled to under the law.
- Know all the deadlines for filing a claim and handle all the paperwork for you.
- Compile all the evidence to make a compelling case for your arm injury. In many cases involving carpal tunnel syndrome, the burden of proof is on the worker to show how the injury developed at work.
- Fight the insurance company if your claim is denied.
- Fight to keep your benefits until you have truly recovered so that your employer cannot cut off your payments and send you back to work before you are ready.
- Provide a consultation so you can evaluate your case without obligation.
New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Kotlar, Hernandez & Cohen, LLC Help Workers With Arm Injuries Get the Benefits They Need
If you have a work-related arm injury, contact one of our experienced New Jersey Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Kotlar, Hernandez & Cohen, LLC for help with your claim for benefits. Call us at 856-751-7676 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Mount Laurel, Cherry Hill, Trenton, Vineland, New Jersey, and Trevose, Pennsylvania, we advocate for injured workers throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.