What to do if you hurt your arm or elbow on the job
In Georgia, the construction and manufacturing industries have some of the highest rates of on-the-job injuries because these jobs often require heavy lifting and the use of equipment that puts people at a higher risk for getting hurt. However, you can hurt your arm or elbow in any workplace. Now that technology is taking over many forms of work, repetitive use injuries are rising.
In 2018, there were about 4.4 injuries for every 100 workers. While many of these injuries were mild, some caused people to miss work temporarily or stop working in their field completely.
Compensation for arm and elbow injuries is typically calculated based upon the severity of your injury combined with how it impacts your ability to continue to work. Knowing which types of injuries to watch out for and how to file a claim empowers you to seek compensation for your work-related injury.
What are the most common types of arm and elbow injuries?
Some occupational injuries build up slowly over time. Typically, you’ll hear these referred to as “repetitive use” or “repetitive stress” injuries. Most people are familiar with carpal tunnel syndrome, which can occur due to long periods of time typing or doing other work with your fingers and wrist.
There are also several other types of arm and elbow injuries that are more likely to arise in the workplace, such as:
- Bursitis. Bursae are small sacs of tissue that are filled with fluid and provide cushion for your muscles, tendons and bones. They sometimes get inflamed with repetitive use and cause pain.
- Rotator cuff injuries. These injuries tend to happen when you perform a large amount of overhead work or heavy lifting.
- Tendonitis. The tendons that run from your hands and up through your arms can get irritated from strain or repetitive use that occurs on the job.
- Tennis elbow. This is another common repetitive stress injury that occurs from work-related activities. The average compensation for tennis elbow will take into consideration your medical costs, total lost work time and other factors.
Other injuries can occur more suddenly. For example, broken arms and elbows are common. Compensation for a fractured elbow can be considerably high since this type of injury might take you out of work for many months.
Which types of medical treatments help with recovery?
Arm injuries are typically diagnosed using x-rays or other forms of imaging systems. Depending upon the severity of your injury, you might need surgery to repair a tendon or reset a broken bone. As your arm heals, you will likely need ongoing physical therapy to rebuild damaged muscles and tendons.
Arm and elbow injury compensation must take into consideration all of the different forms of treatment that you face—from immediate care in the days and weeks following an injury, to months and even years following the accident.
Here’s a partial list of the financial recoveries we’ve secured for our arm and elbow injury clients:
Is it possible to regain full use of your arm or elbow?
In some cases, such as a major arm amputation or bone fracture, you might not fully regain the full use of your limb. However, other injuries are less threatening to your future livelihood if you treat them appropriately.
Tennis elbow, for example, can get worse if you continue to perform the movements that caused the injury in the first place. A tendon that is placed under too much strain can eventually snap and require more intensive forms of treatment.
Seeking medical attention at the first signs of a potential injury helps you to preserve your arm’s function.
Does workers’ comp cover arm and elbow injuries in Georgia?
Georgia workers’ compensation laws do generally cover arm and elbow injuries that happen in the course and scope of your employment. You may need to show that you received the injury at work, which is why it’s important to document everything that led up to the accident and happened afterward.
The average workers’ comp settlement for tennis elbow and similar elbow injuries is around $20,000. However, this amount can vary significantly depending upon the facts that are involved in your case. You might be eligible to receive more if your hand or shoulder is also affected.
How to prevent these types of injuries
Ideally, your employer should provide you with a safe work environment that includes well-functioning equipment. You can also take steps to prevent injuries by setting up your workstation to reduce strain on your upper body.
If you engage in highly repetitive or strenuous forms of work, then it can help to rotate through different activities so that you give your arms a rest. Strengthening your muscles can also help, but you’ll want to use caution with exercise.
What steps should you take if you hurt your arm at work?
Filing a claim for workers’ comp requires you to first report the injury to your employer. You’ll also want to immediately visit a doctor to identify the source of your injury. As you do, make sure to keep detailed records of your healthcare. Then, share this information with your lawyer, if you choose to hire one, to continue the process of filing your claim.
An experienced lawyer can be a great resource and asset as you’re filing for workers’ comp. They’ll keep you informed of the process and can help to answer all your questions. At Gerber & Holder, we’ve had success with the following cases:
- A 35-year-old construction worker fractured his arm when a pipe he was working on became detached and struck him in the forearm.
- A right elbow injury claim for an employee whose benefits were previously suspended based on full-duty release. Benefits were recommenced for 45 weeks before settlement.
- A woman sustained a right elbow injury at work. The insurance company suspended her income benefits based upon a full-duty work release from the insurance company’s doctor. She was unable to return to work at that time due to ongoing pain for which she needed treatment. Our team successfully fought for her to be treated by a new doctor and had her income benefits recommenced for 45 additional weeks.
Time is of the essence when it comes to filing a claim for workers’ compensation. If you wait too long, you could no longer be eligible for compensation. It’s also important to avoid settling too soon since you may not fully know how your injury could affect your ability to work in the future.
After you take care of your immediate medical needs, be sure to contact a Georgia work injury lawyer who can help you identify both your immediate and long-term needs as you begin your recovery.