Total permanent disability after dog bite at work...

by Susan
(Independence, Missouri)

I work at a major pet store and was bitten by a dog in Sept 2013. The dog bit me right in between my index and middle finger on my right hand, which is my dominant hand. Over the past several months, I have seen a regular doctor, done physical therapy through her office, then was referred to an orthopedic surgeon who sent me through two rounds of physical therapy.

The first round was twice a week for 4 weeks, and the second was three times a week for 6 weeks. But the second round was stopped after the second week due to the therapist feeling I had plateaued and was not going to improve. I had two MRI's done as well - one of just my hand and the second of my forearm. Neither MRI showed any muscle damage, only scar tissue under where I was bitten.

The pet store (in following company procedure) called the incident report in as soon as the injury occurred, and they put us through to a "Nurse Line" of sorts where I was told to "Wash the wound with soap and water for at least 5 min, put a band-aid on it and return to work."

My job is a "Dog Bather," which means my hands are constantly in water. - dirty dog water - and my manager decided it was best (because I was in shock as well) to send me home for the remainder of my shift. I was told if it didn't improve by morning to call in and they would send me to Urgent Care.

Well, by morning, cellulitis had set in and my hand was swollen twice it's size, and was bright red and feverish, which told me it was extremely infected. After a round of Augmentin, which made me VERY sick, I was told the infection was gone and they wanted me to start P.T.

I went through I believe 4 weeks of PT, twice a week, and then when no improvement was made, I was sent on to the orthopedic surgeon. This morning was my last visit with him. He said that I've reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), there is nothing more he can do for me, and surgery will not remedy the problem.

SO, now I am left with no use whatsoever of my index finger on my dominant hand. He said it would be considered Total Permanent Disability and that this is comparable to having the finger actually cut off in an injury. I do have an attorney working on this, but I always have to go through her "assistant" to speak with her or get messages to her.

I just want to know exactly what to expect from all of this? Workers' comp wise. Like what type of settlement am I actually entitled to? And what about my kids...are they entitled to anything as well? Do I need to apply for disability? Thanks for any general information you can give.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Total permanent disability after dog bite at work...":

Susan (Independence, Missouri):

It is our policy not to interfere with the attorney-client relationship. Your best interests will be served by heeding the advice and counsel of your attorney. Direct any questions you have to him or her.

Instead of being rebuffed by the secretary-receptionist at your attorney’s office, make an appointment to see your attorney in a face-to-face meeting. At that time you can ask her all the questions you have.

The facts you present don’t pose one or more questions you would like us to answer. Instead, you present a scenario of the factors related to your claim. You have a right to be concerned. Your injury is quite serious and will have a substantial impact on your future. As a result, it is incumbent upon you to make sure you understand how you will be compensated, and why.

Don’t give up. Be sure to ask your attorney all the questions you have about your claim.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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