Hand injuries are among the most common car accident injuries. While hand injuries are not usually as serious as brain injuries, they can impact your ability to complete daily tasks, like driving, typing, or participating in sports or other activities. In addition, if the injury causes chronic pain, this can affect your quality of life.
The expenses associated with a hand injury can accumulate quickly, particularly if you require surgery or ongoing physical therapy. If you were involved in a car accident that was caused by another driver, you are urged to contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.
What Are the Most Common Car Accident-Related Hand Injuries?
Hand injuries range from minor sprains to broken bones and amputations. Depending on the nature of the accident and the speed at which the vehicles were travelling, the force of the impact can cause injuries to your hands, as well as your wrists and arms.
The following are examples of some of the most common types of hand injuries caused by car accidents:
- Fractures: There are 27 bones in the hand, and they are much more delicate than other bones in the body, including the arms and legs. It does not take a significant amount of force for a car accident to cause a broken finger or other bone in the hand. If you do experience a fracture, you will likely feel a significant amount of pain, and you may have difficulty completing daily tasks that involve gripping or lifting objects with your hands. More serious fractures, including bones that have multiple breaks or fractures that jut through the skin, may require surgical intervention to repair the bone.
- Ligament and tendon injuries: Tendons are the cords of tissue that connect muscles to bones, while ligaments are tissues that connect one bone to another. A hand sprain is one type of ligament injury, which occurs when the ligaments connecting the bones in your hand are overstretched or torn. If left untreated and the injury does not heal properly, you could suffer chronic pain.
- Joint dislocations: Each finger on the hand has three joints except for the thumb. When a bone is pushed or pulled out of place, it becomes dislocated. It is common for the knuckles of the fingers to become dislocated when you use your hands to brace yourself for the force of impact. The knuckles of the middle fingers are the most common joints in the hand to become dislocated. If a joint is injured in a car accident, you will probably experience a decrease in range of motion. If the injury is not treated properly, it may cause permanent damage.
- Amputations: This is one of the most severe hand injuries. When fingers or parts of the hand are crushed or injured beyond repair, amputation may be the only option. This only happens if there is no way to repair the damage caused by the accident.
- Puncture wounds: These injuries can occur if debris from the collision pierces the hand, fingers, or wrist. Depending how deep the puncture wound is, you may require stitches or even surgery. Puncture wounds will need to be cleaned and treated properly to avoid an infection.
If a car accident causes a hand injury, you may also suffer wrist and arm injuries. Examples of injuries may include a broken arm or wrist, a rotator cuff injury, wrist strain or sprain, cuts and lacerations, and severe bruising.
What Are the Symptoms of Hand Injuries?
The symptoms will depend on the specific hand injury. In addition, you may not feel any obvious symptoms right away if the adrenaline from the shock of the accident is still coursing through your body and temporarily masking the pain. However, once the shock wears off, the following are example of common symptoms associated with hand injuries:
- Severe pain, particularly when gripping or squeezing an object or moving the hand.
- Crooked, bent finger or other noticeable deformity.
How Are Hand Injuries Diagnosed?
Certain hand injuries like minor strains, cuts, or sprains will heal on their own if you follow the recommended treatment protocol. However, for more severe injuries, your physician may recommend one of the diagnostic imaging technologies that are available today, including:
- X-ray: This test provides a detailed image of the bones in your hand, so your physician may use this test to diagnose a broken bone. A quick burst of radiation is sent through the body, which allows a physician to see what your bones look like and if there are any breaks or fractures.
- MRI: Doctors use the images from an MRI to diagnose problems with the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage in the hand. This test does not use radiation.
- CT scan: This is used in combination of several X-ray images taken from different angles. The images give a comprehensive view of the injured hand.
What Are Common Treatments for Hand Injuries?
There are a range of treatment options for hand injuries. The recommended course of treatment will depend on the type and severity of the injury. For example, if your injury is relatively minor, you may be able to treat it using “RICE” therapy, which involves the following:
- Rest: Avoid using your injured hand for the recommended amount of time specified by your health care provider.
- Ice: Apply an ice pack on the injured area several times a day for up to 20 minutes per sitting.
- Compression: Wrap the hand in a bandage, sprint of cast, depending on the nature of the injury. This will provide stability and protect the hand that is injured.
- Elevation: By keeping the hand raised above the heart, it will help keep the blood circulating, which reduces swelling and can minimize the amount of pain you feel. Wearing a sling can help during the day. At night, you can use a pillow to prop up your arm while you sleep.
More serious injuries will likely require medical intervention. For example, if your finger was dislocated, a surgeon may need to perform a reduction, which involves realigning the bone. Your doctor may also prescribe a splint or a cast to set and stabilize a broken bone.
Possible Damages for a Hand Injury
If you suffered a hand injury in a car accident, you may be eligible for financial compensation by filing a personal injury claim. Depending on the nature of your injury, you may require surgery, physical therapy and appointments with your physician. These medical expenses can accumulate very quickly, and if your injury prevents you from being able to return to work for an extended period of time, this can be financially devastating. A personal injury claim will ensure that you receive the damages you are entitled to, including all medical expenses related to the injury, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
When navigating the claims process, it is important to understand that insurance companies determine a settlement value based solely on your medical bills, which does not necessarily accurately reflect how much compensation your injury is worth. However, if you had minor surgery to repair a hand injury but your hand never fully functions after the surgery, this is a major quality of life issue. A skilled lawyer can help you determine your damages.
Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers Represent Clients Who Have Debilitating Accident-Related Hand Injuries
If you suffered a serious hand injury from a car accident, you are urged to contact one of our Virginia Beach car accident lawyers. At East Coast Trial Lawyers, we will assist you with every step of the claims process. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 757-352-2237 or contact us online. Located in Virginia Beach, we serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Eastern Shore, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, Virginia, as well as North Carolina and nationwide.