Why is an experienced attorney critical to my hand injury case?
Without an experienced attorney representing you, it's possible that:
- the insurance company has denied your hand injury claim.
- they have ignored your calls, hoping you tire and go away.
- they make an offer to you that is insulting.
- they have told you that your hand injury and/or permanent loss of strength isn't a result of the accident, or that there is no physical evidence to support your injury claim.
What qualifies as a hand injury?
Any injury that affects the hand as a whole, any of the fingers (thumb, index finger, long or middle finger, ring finger, and little finger); sensory capabilities of the hand, such as a loss of sensation; or loss of strength in the hand. Any of these affected areas by themselves, or a combination of areas, qualifies as a hand injury.
What are common types of hand injuries?
Joint dislocation: Dislocations usually occur as a result of trauma to the finger. The most likely joint to become dislocated is the proximal IP joint (PIP joint). This joint is the middle knuckle of the finger. Other joints, specifically the joints of the thumb, are less likely to become dislocated.
- How is a joint dislocation treated?
Often, treatment involves “reduction” or "re-setting" of the dislocation. This type of treatment requires manual manipulation of the bone, which ultimately places it back into its original position. Generally, a type of immobilization device will be applied, such as a splint. If there is a fracture near the dislocation, this will likely complicate treatment and be cause for re-evaluation.
Ligament injuries: Ligaments are the tissue responsible for stabilizing joints by attaching bone to bone. Ligament sprains and/or tears are common in auto accidents, as these injuries are usually associated with direct trauma or hyperextension/hyperflexion of a joint. Steering wheels are often responsible for the hyperextension/hyperflexion of a hand joint.
The “jamming” of a finger can also cause ligament injuries. Though they are generally minor, jam injuries can cause stretching or partial tearing of the ligament.
- How is a ligament injury treated?
A type of immobilization is often suggested for the treatment of a ligament sprain. After the immobilization device has been removed, physical therapy is recommended to help a person regain normal range of motion in their finger(s). If the ligament has been torn, it will likely require surgery.
Tendon injuries: Auto accidents often account for the type of direct trauma required to injure a tendon. This trauma will often leave a person with a sprain or tear. Tendon tears can also be the result of a laceration of the hand or crush-type injury. It is also possible to damage a tendon through repetitive motion, which results in tendonitis. Tendonitis is an inflammatory condition of tendons. The most common type of tendonitis injury is the carpal tunnel of the wrist, commonly referred to as "carpal tunnel syndrome."
- How is a tendon injury treated?
Surgery is often required for tendon tears. Physical therapy will often follow once healing has commenced. Tendonitis or carapal tunnel syndrome is treated with rest, immobilization devices, and/or a type of anti-inflammatory therapy.
Hand fractures: Broken bones in the hand, as in other body parts, are generally caused by direct trauma. A common hand fracture is known as a "boxer’s fracture," which doctor's describe as break through the bones of the hand that form the knuckles.
- How is a hand fracture treated?
Depending on the type, severity, and location of the fracture, treatment may consist of reduction, immobilization, surgery, physical therapy, or a combination of the aforementioned.
What causes numbness and tingling in the hand?
Often times the numbness and tingling sensation you are experiencing in your hand is a sign of nerve damage. Carpal tunnel syndrome is another cause of tingling or numbness in the wrist, fingers, or hand.
How many bones are in the hand?
The hand contains 19 separate bones (27 if we included the 8 bones in the wrist). The bones most commonly affected in an accident, whether it be from an auto accident, a slip and fall, or a dog bite, fall into two categories:
- Metacarpals: These are the long bones in your palm. They support the hand muscles, and supply a frame for the finger flexor and extensor tendons.
- Phalanges: These are the bones of the finger. Your thumb has two phalanges (proximal and distal) while your other fingers have 3 phalanges each (proximal, middle, and distal).
Will I regain my hand strength after an accident?
Whenever your hand strength is compromised, the results can effect countless activities within your daily life. In fact, completing the most mundane tasks may become difficult, jeopardizing overall functionality.
The culprit often responsible for a loss in strength is a person's hand can usually be attributed to nerve damage. This is often the case in auto accidents, or crush-style type injuries. Helping you to regain your hand control and strength after suffering nerve damage is a complicated process that demands hard work and patience on your part.
And while some injuries may be more obvious in regard to the amount of damage they have inflicted, some injuries may cause more subtle symptoms that will need to be evaluated by your physician. If the doctor does determine that hand strength has been affected, they may prescribe an individualized treatment plan.
The goals of an individualized treatment plan can include:
- improvement in range of motion and overall dexterity (movement)
- reduction in swelling
- scar revision
- improvement of sensory ability
- improvement of overall functionality
- pain management
A doctor may also prescribe a customized immobilization device to help achieve these goals. Occupational therapists design these devices in an attempt to increase the stability of affected joints and muscles, and help maintain the functional position of the hand.
The hand is an intricate and amazing part of human anatomy. Its responsibilities and uses are countless. Whenever the hand has sustained damage, whether it be traumatic or minor, there is a high probability that long-term effects may persist. Even if you feel your hand only suffered a minor injury, it's wise to have a professional evaluation of the afflicted area.
What can Keller & Keller do for me?
There are several advantages to hiring us to represent you for your hand injury. One of the most important factors to consider is our experience. Having helped thousands of clients with varying types of hand injuries means that we have relationships with specialists and experts that can provide insight and value to your claim you can't obtain by yourself.
Another important factor to consider is our ability to front investigative costs and work with your medical specialists to keep bill collectors from calling while we work your case. Most people aren't in a position to pay for expensive hand surgeries and rehabilitation upfront. We'll make sure that you are reimbursed for your medical bills, any lost wages, and compensated for the permanent loss of strength in your hand.
All consultations with our office are free, and there is never a fee until we make a recovery for you.