Blue collar workers typically work with their hands. Whether you work in a factory or at construction sites, you are likely gripping, manipulating, lifting and turning items all day with your hands. In a sense, your hands are the most important tools you have, and you rely on their strength and dexterity to get each important job you do done right.

The experience that you have working with your hands could mean that you fill a very skilled job role, such as that of a pipefitter. Over many years of hard work, you can come to demand a very reasonable hourly wage through skilled manual labor.

Unfortunately, it only takes one catastrophic accident to render all of that skill effectively useless. Even if you avoid traumatic accidents, you can still find yourself suffering from work injuries related to performing the same manual tasks over and over. Any injury that affects your dexterity, range of motion and strength in your hands could potentially leave you unable to continue working in the same position you currently hold.

Just because you can work doesn’t mean you can do the job you currently have

One of the hard truths about disability protections is that they typically only apply to those fully and permanently disabled. If your injury leaves you capable of performing most tasks, just not the ones you need to perform for your current job, you may not qualify for total disability benefits in the long term.

Even though you can work, it may become hard to support your family. Unfortunately, if your hands suffer injuries, you may not be able to command the same wage you currently do. People can experience a reduction of 50 percent or even substantially more in their overall income as a result of a workplace injury to their hands that prevents them from continuing to perform the same labor.

If you find yourself in that situation, you may need to seek out benefits intended to protect you after a workplace injury or look into other options for financial compensation.

Find out what options your situation provides

Your job obligations and injury are unique. Forms of compensation that may be options for some individuals may not be available to others. Common options include workers’ compensation claims and personal injury lawsuits. The best way to overcome financial hurdles that result from a workplace injury to your hands is to educate yourself about what rights you have based on the circumstances of your injury.

Some people qualify for partial permanent disability benefits. Others may have grounds to bring a lawsuit against a third party for defective equipment or even their former employer. Discussing your injury with a California injury attorney can help you make an informed decision and pursue the compensation you need to provide for yourself and your family.