Attacked by pit bull at work, causing drug addiction...

by Shelly
(Buford, Georgia)

I was attacked by a pit bull at work. As a result of this I became addicted to the medications and ended up serving prison time. I was away for 37 moths but still suffer greatly from fear off all animals.

I have severe panic attacks and extreme pain due to the nerve damage caused by the attack. I also know that the sequence of events leading to my drug addiction were a direct result of the attack. I need some help. Please let me know what I can do to get compensation for my damages. Can I get workers' compensation to cover any of this? I can not contact my original attorney. Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Attacked by pit bull at work, causing drug addiction...":

Shelly (Buford, Georgia):

This seems to be a matter of which came first, "the chicken or the egg?" Before moving ahead there are several important questions which must be answered.

It's a stretch to say the dog attack was the direct and proximate, or the exclusive cause of your addiction to narcotic pain medication. The dog attack caused you serious pain. No one will argue with that. But to say the dog attack caused you to be addicted is a tenuous argument at best.

Even if you were to prove the dog attack caused you to become addicted, you have no resulting quantifiable "damages." In personal injury claims damages normally include medical bills, out of pocket expenses for medications, costs of transportation to and from treatments, etc., lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Most people who have been seriously injured do not become addicted to narcotic pain medication. While it's fair to say many do, those who follow their doctor's orders normally take less and less medication until such time as they are fully recovered and pain medication is no longer required.

Did you become addicted to pain medications because of abuse of pain medications?

Did you become addicted because of your physician's over-prescribing pain medications?

Did you become addicted because you "doctor-shopped" trying to get more and more narcotic pain medication?

Was your conviction and prison sentence a direct result of your addiction? (For example, did you become involved in forging prescriptions, breaking into pharmacies or doctors offices, or other burglaries?)

These are all questions which must be answered before the issue of liability can be passed from you to a third party.

Also, to get compensation for the emotional trauma this incident caused you, independent of the physical trauma, you'd need a psychiatrist or psychologist to provide a medical narrative with the details of your mental health symptoms, linking those symptoms directly to the attack you suffered.

Under the few facts you present, you would certainly have had the basis of a workers' compensation claim for the injuries you sustained (and resulting medical bills, out of pocket expenses, and about two thirds of your lost wages). But because workers' compensation does not cover pain and suffering, you wouldn't be entitled to more that.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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