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Workplace Arm Injuries

Dealing with New York Workplace Arm Injuries: An Examination of Lost Time, Medical Challenges, and the Scheduled Loss of Use Award for Permanent Injury

Understanding and effectively addressing the severity of workplace arm injuries is a cornerstone of fostering a safe work environment. After all, most jobs are designed around the assumption that people will use their upper body (both arms and hands) to perform the job. This article seeks to unravel the complexities of arm-related workplace injuries in New York, their impact on workers, workers compensation insurance issues compensation, and the medical challenges associated with these injuries.

Your Arm: The Basics

The arm is an important part of our body that we use to do many things. It has three parts: the upper arm, the forearm, and the hand. From our shoulder to our fingertips, there are 30 bones. There are also lots of nerves, blood vessels, and muscles. The nerves come from a big network in our body called the brachial plexus.

Structure and Function

The arm starts at the shoulder. The shoulder is like a ball sitting in a shallow dish, which lets it move around a lot but can also make it unstable. The elbow works like a door hinge but can also twist and rotate. This is because of the way two of the bones in the forearm, the radius and the ulna, connect. The wrist is another type of joint that moves in a different way. The small bones in our wrists don’t move much. The joints in our fingers work like simple hinges.

And if you injure any part of your arm, it can have a major impact on your ability to work and earn a living.

construction worker injured at a job site

Understanding Workplace Arm Injuries

Workplace arm injuries typically involve the shoulder, hand, elbow, forearm, and wrist. (The wrist, hand and fingers are often treated separately for New York Workers’ Compensation purposes) These injuries often result from blunt trauma, repetitive motion, overuse, or other sudden accidents. Depending on what part of your arm you injure will determine the type and amount of lost wage benefits and medical benefits you need or are entitled to receive under New York State Workers’ Compensation laws.

  • Shoulder Injuries
    The shoulder is an extremely complex and important part of the body which allows you to lift, push, pull, carrier and perform many tasks. Shoulder injuries can occur from heavy lifting, falling, overuse, blunt trauma, burns and other reasons. Shoulder injuries include rotator cuff injuries, dislocations, and fractures. These injuries often require intensive therapy and sometimes surgery, leading to significant work downtime.
  • Hand and Wrist Injuries
    Like the shoulders, a person’s wrists play an important part in allowing you to grasp, lift, handle, write, type and more. From carpal tunnel syndrome to fractures, hand and wrist injuries can significantly impair a worker’s ability to perform their duties. They are common in workplaces involving repetitive tasks such as typing or assembly line work as well as lifting injuries and fractures. 
  • Elbow Injuries
    Like the shoulder and hand, the elbow plays a crucial role in allowing an individual to properly use their entire arm for lifting, pushing, pulling and carrying. Elbow injuries such as tendonitis, bursitis, or fractures can result from excessive strain or sudden impact. Like other arm injuries, they can result in considerable loss of work time.

Impacts of Arm Injuries

The aftermath of arm injuries can be severe, including prolonged pain, reduced mobility, and inability to perform certain tasks. This can lead to extended time off from work to recover, the inability to fully perform your job, and even endanger yourself and others.

Workers’ Compensation

New York’s workers’ compensation law is designed to protect workers who suffer on-the-job injuries by providing compensation for medical bills and lost wages. It covers all the necessary medical care and a portion of the workers’ lost earnings during recovery. Also, if the injury results in a permanent injury that causes you to lose function and mobility in the arm you may be entitled to additional money for the permanent injury.

  • Lost Time/Wage Replacement

Workplace injuries often result in lost time – the period when an injured employee cannot work due to injury. This not only impacts the employee’s income but also disrupts workplace productivity.

New York Workers’ Compensation will pay you two-thirds (2/3rds) of your average weekly wages up to the maximum benefit amount on the date of your accident. As long as you provide proof of your disability (medical reports showing you cannot work) due to your arm injury you will get some amount of a weekly lost-wage replacement benefit.

Little Known Fact: If you return to work but are making less money because of the injury to your arm, you might be able to get a portion of the difference between what you used to make and what you are making now!

  • Permanent Injury: the Scheduled Loss of Use (SLU)

Under New York’s Workers’ Compensation Law, a worker may receive additional money benefits for permanent injury to an extremity, including the arm. The SLU awards are compensation for the permanent loss of use of, or functional abilities in, that body part.

If you lose 100% use of your arm (from an inability to move it at all to an actual amputation) you could receive up to 312 (three-hundred and twelve) weeks of compensation. 

So, if you end up with a permanent injury of 10% to your arm, that is worth 31.2 weeks of compensation (312 x 10% = 31.2).

There are some additional rules that apply, such as the insurance company is allowed to subtract the money that they already paid you from the final amount of money that is owed to you. 

Fact: you can receive the SLU award even if you never missed time from work. Most people do not know this. For example, if you break your arm, get a cast and return to work the next day, you will not get any lost wages, but if you have a range of motion issue after the cast is removed you could still get an award of SLU money for your permanent injury!

The New York Workers’ Compensation Board uses a chart (the schedule) that determines the value of your arm and other body parts. Schedule Loss of Use Award (

The New York Workers’ Compensation Board also created specific medical guidelines (the permanency guidelines) that tell doctors how to figure out what your permanent injury is for purposes of the law. Guidelines for Determining Permanent Impairment and Loss of Wage Earning Capacity Overview (

  • Medical Expenses

One of the benefits of Workers’ Compensation is that it pays for all reasonable and necessary medical expenses related to your work injury. This can include doctor visits, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and necessary medical equipment.

However, one of the ways insurance companies save money on workers’ compensation cases is to try to limit or deny the medical care you need. You can expect to have to see the insurance company defense doctor many times during your claim.

One of the most challenging aspects of medical care is how your arm injury will heal. The medical challenges associated with arm injuries vary based on the type and severity of the injury. 

  • Rehabilitation 

Rehabilitation can be a long and arduous process, often requiring physical therapy and possibly occupational therapy. The success of rehabilitation can depend on numerous factors, including the severity of the injury, the worker’s general health, and the quality of medical and rehabilitative care.

  • Surgery and Post-Surgical Recovery

Some severe arm injuries may require surgery. Post-surgical recovery can be a long process, involving pain management, wound care, and extensive physical therapy. 

Some Types of common workplace arm injury surgeries:

Rotator Cuff Repair

Shoulder replacement (full or partial)

Bicep tendon repair

Carpal Tunnel Release surgery

Cubital Tunnel Release surgery


Internal Hardware (to repair the humerus, ulna or radial bones)

  • Psychological Effects

The psychological impact of arm injuries can be substantial. Workers may experience emotional distress, anxiety, and depression due to pain, disability, and the stress of financial worries. After all, you are used to using your arm everyday to do simple tasks like dressing, brushing your teeth, making coffee, writing, typing and all of a sudden you can do nothing since your arm is immobilized. It is very traumatic, both physically and mentally.


New York workplace arm injuries present significant challenges, both in terms of workers’ health and economic impact. Effective prevention strategies, comprehensive compensation plans, and high-quality medical care are critical to addressing these issues. Employees and employers alike should be aware of the potential consequences and appropriate responses to these common workplace injuries.

New York Workplace Arm Injury Attorneys

At Markhoff & Mittman, we have a rich history dating back to 1933, relentlessly championing the rights of injured employees in New York. We have a deep understanding of the intricate legal and medical facets of workplace mishaps, especially impacting your arms. Our role is to navigate you through each phase of the procedure, whether it involves workers’ compensation claims or possible personal injury lawsuits.

Obtaining the benefits you deserve and reclaiming your life is our mission.

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About Our Firm

Markhoff & Mittman, PC The Disability Guys have been dedicated to assisting injured workers and their families secure workers’ compensation, social security disability and other injury benefits since 1933. Throughout the years, we have consistently provided an unexpected legal experience for people facing unforeseen challenges in life. We understand navigating the complexities of different benefit programs and laws is daunting and overwhelming. Our mission is to simplify intricate matters by offering clear and concise explanations, delivering on our promises, and, above all, providing you and your loved ones with the peace of mind necessary to reclaim the life you truly deserve.