How much money can you receive for your injured finger or hand?
The hand is a very complex and fragile structure. It has many small parts that can easily be hurt including 27 bones, 34 muscles, 27 joints, and over 100 tendons and ligaments. After a car accident, people often suffer an injured finger or hand. The pain can be crippling and must be dealt with — along with a lot of financial and legal concerns — as soon as possible.
If you are suffering from an injured finger or hand, you may be wondering
— what you should do next,
— how much compensation you may be entitled to, and
— whether you should hire a personal injury lawyer to help you.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer. Each person’s case is different. But one thing is sure: navigating the complicated medical/legal/insurance world is extremely hard — if not impossible — without the services of a good car accident lawyer.
Mr. Berenson’s results handling these cases
Bill Berenson has represented many people with an injured finger or hand over the past 41 years. He knows how to get their problems solved and fights to get them the maximum compensation available.
To cut to the chase, he knows that injured victims want to know what a personal injury lawyer’s track record is before they hire him, so the following information is strictly for their benefit.
He just obtained $225,000 for a woman who suffered a serious finger injury. And in the last year, he obtained many other related recoveries of money including the following:
- $202,500 for a woman with an injured wrist,
- $82,500 for a woman who broke her wrist,
- $132,500 for a man who broke his arm,
- $250,000 for a man who hurt his shoulder,
- $62,500 and $105,000 for a woman who fractured her middle finger and a man who fractured a bone in his shoulder,
- $65,007 for a woman who fractured her wrist,
- $60,905 for a woman who broke her wrist,
- $62,500 for a woman who fractured her wrist,
- $30,000 for a woman who broke her wrist, and
- $48,500 for a woman who broke her little finger and had neck and back problems.
Mr. Berenson is proud that the first 10 recoveries were for the maximum amount of funds that were available.
We have written about other car crash injuries but we have not yet discussed this important topic. This post examines injured finger and hand cases and what they may be worth.
Types of injuries
First, let’s start with different finger and hand injuries that happen after a crash.
Here are the most common ones:
- Strains and sprains to tendons, ligaments, and muscles
- Injuries to nail beds or fingernails
Other injuries are even more serious, including amputations and permanent nerve damage. Fortunately, these are rare.
Injured finger and hand case analysis
Depending on the injury, the pain and loss of movement can be devastating. If this has ever happened to you or you just hurt your hand in a crash, you understand. We use our hands to do everything from the minute we wake up.
Before the injury lawyer can properly evaluate the case, he or she needs to know more information.
Then they can estimate what a jury might award if the case were to go to trial. But their figure is usually much higher than what the insurance company estimates the case is worth — or more likely, what it wants to pay. The job of the car wreck lawyer is to convince the company to pay the claim’s fair value or to take the case to a jury and obtain the best result.
Getting extensive information about the injury and how it has affected the plaintiff’s life helps determine case value. For example, if the injured person works with his hands like most people (including the two nurses, two executives, and others above) who use a computer all day long, just their claim for loss of earning capacity can be enormous.
Where your injury is located is critical
Lawyers and adjusters start the analysis by looking at the location of the hand injury. In general, a damaged thumb will be paid the most money. The index and middle finger usually receive higher payments than the ring or little fingers.
But how much is an injury to the hand or a specific finger worth? That is often hard to quantify. Some states quantify each part of the body. Texas does not do this but to give you a general idea, New York’s worker’s compensation law provides that the loss of the hand is worth 244 weeks of pay, the thumb 75 weeks, and the little finger only 15 weeks.
Further, whether the injury is above or below the knuckle is also an important question. One rule of thumb (bad joke) is that losing the function from the tip of the finger to the metacarpal-phalangeal joint is worth more than from the proximal interphalangeal joint (PIP) to the tip. And the loss of function from the distal interphalangeal joint to the fingertip is valued more highly than the loss from the PIP to the tip.
However, losing the partial use of any finger even temporarily can be devastating.
Ways to increase the value of your claim
If someone has an extremely serious injury like an amputation or severed tendon or ligament, not only is the payment of the other driver’s entire liability policy and the driver’s underinsured and personal injury payments a given, consideration must be given to other possible sources of payment and drastic reduction of outstanding medical bills and liens.
If there is only the standard $30,000 liability policy amount that many Texas drivers purchase, this is a situation that you may be able to handle by yourself without an attorney so you can save yourself their fee. If you run into problems, give us a call and we will try to help.
Here are some other observations we have made over the years:
1. Any finger injury that results in a permanent loss of movement should be treated by an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in hand injuries. Again, full payments from all available insurance policies and resources should be made.
2. Special consideration is given to whether the injury is to the dominant hand (usually the right one).
3. If surgery is required, the settlement or jury verdict value rises substantially. The problem can be that the hand and finger are permanently injured, even after the surgery, especially when metal hardware is installed.
4. Nerve injuries can sometimes not be repaired, which means that the ability to use the fingers and hand can be permanently altered or the pain is constant.
5. A deep laceration or avulsion of skin should receive full compensation.
6. If the nail bed beneath the fingernail is badly damaged, sometimes it has to be removed.
7. Scarring also adds a great deal of value to the case depending on size and visibility. Before and after high-quality photographs are a must.
How hobbies can add value to your claim
Mr. Berenson has been successful at trial and when arguing cases to insurance companies when his clients have hobbies or play sports that require manual dexterity. For example, one of his clients received a substantial verdict from a jury when he showed that Vicky lived to barrel race on her beloved horse, but now she could not hold on to the reins easily (in addition to her operated knee making it too painful to ride).
And the woman whose case was mentioned first in the list above was a championship bowler. However, she was right-hand dominant and it was her left middle finger that was injured, so the settlement was far larger than it could have been. And fortunately, she has regained the full use of her finger.
Juries are much more likely to see how deeply a finger injury has affected that person’s wages and passions.
Information that affects any personal injury claim
There are many details that affect the value of a personal injury case, but these 10 are the most important ones:
- Enormity of the crash – above is a photograph from our client’s truck in a claim referred to above;
- Certainty of liability being found entirely against the other driver;
- Severity of injuries;
- Immediacy of medical treatment;
- Amount of medical bills after health insurance or a government program (e.g. workers compensation, Medicare, or Medicaid) have reduced the amounts;
- Total wages and benefits lost from employment;
- Loss of range of motion;
- Effect on the ability to conduct the usual activities of daily living;
- Amount of liability insurance or other assets available to pay a verdict or settlement; and
- Attorneys and insurance companies
Calculating a figure is impossible until all facts about liability, medical treatment, medical bills, lost wages, and other damages are known. That can take some time, but it is essential that we get it right.
It would make this process a lot easier, but there is no simple formula that is used to decide how much to pay. Contrary to what many people have heard, insurance companies do not just multiply the plaintiff’s medical bills by three (although that did happen in smaller cases when Mr. Berenson first started practicing injury law in 1980).
Different insurance companies and juries evaluate fact patterns differently. As a result, the amount of money paid can differ dramatically from crash to crash.
Some verdicts and settlements are much smaller than the ones listed above and some are higher.
There is no way a random blog post or the opinion of a friend can accurately assess the value of anyone’s personal injury case. As they say, if it were easy, anyone could do it and not ever need the services of a lawyer (or a doctor or repair person).
Factors that can lessen compensation
Often just a part of a finger is injured and loses its range of motion, and then only on a temporary basis. Of course, that is the best outcome but it reduces the case’s valuation.
A small cut that heals is common in an injured finger or hand injury claim but with the same result.
We are unfortunately not in a position to handle these cases as we only handle serious personal injury and wrongful death cases. We refer people who call to small claims court which has jurisdiction up to $20,000. Individuals can represent themselves without an attorney or we will explain how they can try to settle the case directly with the other driver’s company.
There are other factors that can come into play. For example, if the person had previously injured the same finger, as in any case, an argument will be made that the prior injury reduces their payment. However, we believe that the aggravation of an old injury should be fully reimbursed and that the defendant driver is responsible for all injuries they cause to the eggshell plaintiff.
Without immediate and regular medical treatment, or if the payment of medical bills is not handled correctly, the amount paid by an insurance company or awarded by a jury will be reduced.
Failing to hire the best car accident lawyer is the fastest way to lose money.
Should you try to settle or file a lawsuit?
Whether someone should settle the case or file a lawsuit and when are critical questions.
Texas law allows up to two years for the pre-trial process to happen before a lawsuit must be filed.
How we can help you
Mr. Berenson and his experts will immediately investigate how the collision happened so that liability for the crash is clear.
He and his staff will also work with the injured person(s) and their medical providers to make sure that the injured victim is getting the treatment they need and that is being paid for, either now or later when the case is settled.
After three to six months, Mr. Berenson is usually in a position to make the best decision on how to proceed — if the claim has not already been successfully resolved. He has settled some within 30 days of the collision for the full case value.
He attempts to see if a good out-of-court settlement can be reached before he files a lawsuit, but sometimes reasons dictate that suit be filed immediately. For example, sometimes he needs to file a restraining order to prevent the insurance company or trucking company from hiding an 18-wheeler before it can be inspected and its black box is downloaded.
He and his staff obtain all medical records, affidavits, and bills, a laborious and expensive project. He studies the medical files to analyze the full extent of his client’s injuries. He discusses unusual medical issues with the doctors and consults with other medical professionals.
He considers up to 62 variables that affect the value of his client’s cases to help him estimate a range of values of what the case may be worth. He also subscribes to jury verdict reporting services and trial lawyer list servers and consults with other plaintiff attorneys which helps him with his research.
Here is more information about this critical topic: How much money is my car accident case worth?
Get help from an experienced car accident lawyer
If you have suffered an injured finger or hand — or any other injury — after being in a crash that was caused by another driver, you should be treated by a doctor and discuss your options with a personal injury lawyer.
Berenson Injury Law only handles car, truck, 18-wheeler, and motorcycle collisions. We do not also take on medical malpractice, slips and falls, dangerous drugs, and other tort cases, as well as divorces, criminal law, or other areas. We are specialists.
Mr. Berenson has represented injured Texans, day in and day out, for the past 41 years.
We understand that each client, each wreck, and each injury is different. We are a small boutique law firm that can give each client the personal attention they need.
Here is more information about us.
And check out some of our other client reviews if you are in the market for a top personal injury firm in Fort Worth.