Many of us wear a wedding band or some kind of ring. You would not usually think that you could suffer serious injury at work simply by wearing your ring. And yet, ring avulsion injury is not unheard of – and if it happens it can be incredibly painful and complicated to recover from.
If you are squeamish we recommend that you do not Google image search ring finger injury. A brief description of how the injury happens is when a person wearing a ring gets the band caught on something. When the hand is moved away from this snag, whether by falling or though the motion of some kind of moving part, the ring catches on the skin and ends up pulling skin, arteries, and tendon off with it. The end result is far from pleasant.
You may have seen the injury suffered by Jimmy Fallon when he slipped at home, caught his ring finger on a countertop, and ended up spending six hours in surgery to repair his hand. The famous comedian and talk show host was able to keep his finger. He is one of the lucky ones.
In many cases ring finger injury is seen where people are wearing their wedding bands and work and the ring snags on machinery. This injury is sometimes also known as degloving.
When claiming compensation for injuries sustained at work you need to have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence or carelessness. Negligence can happen in a number of ways, from employer negligence through to the negligence of other employees.
Being injured at work may see you able to claim compensation for your injuries from your employer. Your employer has a duty to provide safe and proper means for you to carry out your work. If your employer has not done so you may be eligible for compensation. Your employer must:
If your wedding ring injury has happened due to the fact that your employer has neglected one or more of these duties then you may be eligible to sue for personal injury compensation.
Note: Weekly WorkCover payments operate under a separate ‘no fault’ scheme. What this means is that you can receive weekly payments to cover any lost income even if your injury was not due to your employer’s negligence.
Linda works on a packing plant and is responsible for a team of three staff. One of her team gets a package stuck in the machinery. Linda’s direct supervisor has not shown up for work today, so Linda is forced to try and fix the blockage herself. When she puts her hand into the machine the package wiggles free but snags her ring. The mechanism pulls her ring off and causes significant injury to her in the process. Due to inadequate supervision and negligence Linda may be able to claim compensation for this injury.
Martin works on the counter of a local post office. When he gets up to go on his lunch break he is in a rush, and stumbles over his own feet. He catches his ring on a hook in a freak accident and causes ring avulsion to his finger. Martin may not be able to claim for his injuries as they were due to his own negligent actions, but he may be able to receive Workers Compensation payments while he recovers.
If you are at home and suffer a ring avulsion injury then you may be able to claim for income protection insurance if you have cover. You will not be able to compensation from your employer if you were at home and not travelling to or from work at the time the injury took place.
When claiming for ring avulsion injury you are eligible to claim for a number of costs.
Compensation for your injuries can come in the form of general damages. This payment will compensate you for pain and suffering in addition to the loss of enjoyment of life that you incur as a result of your ring finger injury. Payment of compensation for personal injury is calculated using something called the ISV Scale. This scale places injuries on a scale between one and 100 and allocates a monetary amount for the rating.
For example, if you suffer a wedding ring injury on or after 1 July 2017 and have your finger amputated this has a rating of 15 to 30. This type of injury may result in compensation of up to $51,350.
Medical expenses and costs
A ring avulsion injury is a severe injury which will require surgery. You will also require rehabilitation and ongoing treatment to ensure that your hand recovers as best it can. You will likely incur costs of treating your injury, including scans, consultant fees, medication, rehabilitation, and medical equipment costs. These costs are potentially able to be claimed as compensation.
Hospital and surgical costs
As mentioned above, ring avulsion injuries will likely require surgery. These costs of surgery will be able to be claimed as compensation provided that the surgery was a necessary part of treating your injury.
Loss of future earning capacity, superannuation, and income
An injury like ring avulsion will likely require you to take time off from work. It is possible to claim for lost income and any future loss of earnings due to your injury. Any future earning capacity, whether you are unable to work at all or if you are limited in what you can do in the future, is usually paid as a lump sum amount. You can also claim for lost superannuation that would have been paid as part of your employment.
Future care and assistance
Wedding ring injuries are serious and may prohibit you or limit you from being able to perform certain tasks like taking care of yourself or caring for your home. If you used to do certain tasks but are now unable to, and you are being assisted by friends, relatives or employed contractors, this is potentially claimable.
When a court is assessing how much should be paid as compensation they will consider how your life was prior to your injury and what it is like now. If you have been severely impacted by the injury, for example if you were a concert pianist and required all ten fingers, then your compensation will be greater than someone whose injury has only minimal impact.
Compensation will vary for ring finger injuries and will depend on things like:
When making a claim for personal injury you must usually commence your action within three years of the date of the injury. If you miss out on this time limit you will be barred from bringing your action under statute and will likely lose the claim for compensation. If you were under the age of 18 when the injury occurred then different time limits may apply.
In summary, it’s best to seek expert legal advice as soon as possible to ensure you understand your rights and the required evidence to make a strong claim can be gathered. View time limit information article for more detail.
While ring finger injuries and avulsion are not that common, they do still occur in many ways:
The bottom line is that you cannot suffer a ring avulsion injury if you are not wearing a ring – so think about getting a silicon ring or taking your rings off when you are at work.
If you have suffered an avulsion injury it is imperative that you seek immediate medical attention. You will likely require surgery. After surgery has taken place and you are in recovery this is where the healing begins. You will likely suffer problems with numbness, movement, swelling, scarring, arthritis, join pain, and circulation. The extent of your problems will depend on the level of your injuries. It is safe to say that you will suffer some long-term effects but these will depend on your initial injury.
Depending on your ring finger injury and the situation in which it happened, compensation may or may not be available. Due to time limits and the nature of personal injury law we recommend seeking legal advice. A personal injury lawyer will be able to assess your claim and provide advice about whether you can seek compensation. If you are located in Queensland, you can get risk-free, 'no win, no fee' expert advice to understand the best next steps.
It’s important to get advice for your specific situation. Check if you can make a risk-free compensation claim and get free initial advice from our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.
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