Lost a Piece of a Finger on My Dominant Hand...
(Twin Falls, Idaho)
I was on a job on June 11th and the manager asked me to get an excavator running and ready for a project. I'm a mechanic at a plumbing establishment and I work on all their equipment, including tools and yard equipment, and fleet of pick-ups that plumbers use to get to job sites.
I was told the excavator hadn't been running in approximately 5 years. During my diagnosis the excavator started on its own and a finger on my right hand was severely mangled. It was amputated at the first knuckle the following morning.
I was just wondering what to do?
I have a doctors appointment this week for an evaluation for a possible settlement. I have a month of missing work over this because of inability to sleep. Workers compensation benefits have only paid me for 2 weeks off. They say they don't pay for insomnia. Anyway I feel I got the shaft on that and I wonder about future.
I am also a professional musician and play an array of instruments but now I'm no longer able to perform many musical tasks. I fumble at work on many things and am unable to do others. I will never be the mechanic or musician I once was. My livelihood is suffering already over this. I just feel I need to be taken care of and I'm not sure how seriously this is all being taken by those who should take care of this.
I am new at this sort of thing and need some direction. Thanks for any information you can give.
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ANSWER for "Lost a Piece of a Finger on My Dominant Hand...":
Jack (Twin Falls Idaho):
Unfortunately you are bound by the workers compensation statutes in Idaho. That means you must go through your workers compensation insurance to settle your claim. Unfortunately workers compensation doesn't cover pain and suffering, including your not being able to enjoy your musical avocation.
This doesn't mean you have to take whatever the workers compensation insurance company has to offer. If you disagree with their offer you can request a hearing to dispute it. You also have a right to seek another medical opinion. The cost of seeing the new doctor will be borne by your workers compensation insurance.
You may have an option. It's a remote one, but nevertheless it's something to be considered...
If you were operating the excavator properly and the excavator malfunctioned, and as a result caused your injury, you may be able to sue the manufacturer of the excavator. That would be separate and apart from your workers compensation settlement. One doesn't exclude the other.
Because of the severity of your injury and the possibility of a separate claim against the manufacturer, you would be well-served to seek the advice and counsel of a personal injury attorney. Most will not charge for initial consultation.
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,
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