Often times, clients will question whether a health issue that they have experienced could potentially be a WEAR and TEAR injury. Commonly known as repetitive stress injuries, this type of ailment is brought on by the physical demands of your job, which can take a toll on your body.
One ailment that we have encountered with our clients is trigger finger, which occurs when the tendons inside your finger or thumb become inflamed, causing the affected digit to lock into position when bent. Trigger finger can be a repetitive stress injury. It is often caused by gripping the trigger of a power tool over and over across a long period of time. Industrial workers, construction workers, farmers, and even musicians are prone to trigger finger, because they often use their fingers and thumbs in this manner repetitively.
Symptoms of Trigger Finger in Cherry Hill, NJ
Symptoms of trigger finger can include pain at the base of the affected digit. When straightening or bending the affected finger, you could hear a snapping or clicking sound. Symptoms can be worse after a period of rest and may improve somewhat with movement. In severe cases, the finger or thumb affected can become locked in either the bent or straight position. The finger may appear swollen, and the joint in the palm of the hand may be swollen, as well.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Trigger Finger
Usually, a doctor can diagnose trigger finger without the need for imaging tests, such as X-rays, or other lab tests. A physical exam of the affected hand and finger(s) is all that is needed. Treatment typically involves splinting the finger to minimize movement of the affected joints. A doctor might prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs or steroid shots. In severe cases, trigger finger may require surgery.
Workers’ Comp for Trigger Finger
If you have been diagnosed with trigger finger as the result of work-related activities, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Repetitive stress injuries like trigger finger are not uncommon as a result of work-related activities. But it can be hard to prove that a repetitive stress injury is work-related, because the injury does not occur as the result of a single incident that you can point to as a cause. Instead, the injury occurs due to ostensibly innocuous activities that cause damage to accumulate over time.
Our NJ workers’ comp attorneys can help you put together a solid case for receiving workers’ comp benefits for your trigger finger injury. Many workers don’t think they qualify for compensation for WEAR and TEAR or repetitive stress injuries. They think their symptoms are just the result of getting older and don not realize that they are in fact the result of work-related activities. However, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation, especially if you required surgery to treat your trigger finger injury. Even if you did not need surgery, you may still qualify for workers’ comp.
The point of workers’ comp is to protect employers from being sued by employees who have been injured at work. It is a no-fault system, so you can be eligible for workers’ comp for your trigger finger injury even if your injury was your fault.
Repetitive stress injuries are often the fault of an employer who does not provide adequate ergonomic workstations. In some cases, they may be the unavoidable result of using a certain tool or performing certain tasks in the workplace. No matter whose fault it is, however, you can still get workers’ comp to pay for your medical bills and compensate you for lost wages due to time off of work.
You need your hands and fingers to be healthy and functional in order to do your job and just to get through daily life. When your hands, fingers, or thumbs are painful, swollen, and not working correctly, it cam be extremely hard just to get through the day.
If your trigger finger, trigger thumb, or other finger or thumb injury occurred as the result of workplace activities, you may be entitled to workers’ comp benefits, even if you have been told that your injuries are the result of “just getting older.” Often, injuries attributed to age are actually repetitive stress injuries.
Other WEAR and TEAR Injuries
Here are some examples of industries and jobs with potential WEAR and TEAR claims due to repetitive, job related physical stress.
- Almost all construction trade employees/construction labor
- Many casino positions, including food and beverage servers, housekeepers, dealers, EVS/maintenance, HVAC mechanics, etc.
- Medical professionals, including nurses, nurse’s aides, and physical therapists
- Emergency response/law enforcement personnel, including police officers, firefighters, and EMTs
- Trucking and delivery employees
- Secretarial/computer/data entry employees
- Warehouse and retail operations positions, including stockers/material handlers
- Landscaping/excavation and heavy equipment operators
- Utility workers, including cable, telephone, electric, etc.
- Highway maintenance and service industry employees
In addition to fingers, other parts of the body that are at risk for potential WEAR and TEAR claims include
- Neck – especially disc abnormalities, operated or unoperated
- Low back – especially disc abnormalities, operated or unoperated
- Shoulders – including rotator cuffs, impingement, and labral problems
- Hips – osteoarthritic and degenerative conditions
- Knees – including internal derangement, meniscal lesions, and osteoarthritis
- Hands – including osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and de Quervain’s fingers
Contact an Experienced Workers’ Comp Lawyer Today
Are you suffering from trigger finger or trigger thumb as a result of repetitive stress injuries at work? You may need the help of a NJ workers’ comp attorney to prove your injuries were work-related so that you can get the compensation you deserve. Our knowledgeable team of workers’ compensation attorneys have handled hundreds of WEAR and TEAR injuries, and have the experience to help with your case.
Contact the attorneys at Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo as soon as possible at (609) 677-1700, or fill out the form online to schedule your free consultation. For your convenience, we have offices in Cherry Hill, Northfield, Hamilton, and Cape May Court House, New Jersey and are happy to provide you with a free consultation. We can answer your questions and determine the most efficient way to proceed.