Wrist cut off at work due to machine operator's negligence...

by Zack

I had a severe injury at work. The operator of the machine didn't set it up correctly. A piece broke while the machine was operating and took my hand almost completely off. It was only connected by one tendon. I had 4 surgeries to have everything reconstructed so far.

My work didn't lock out the machine and they tried to cover the accident up after I got transported to the hospital. OSHA was called by a coworker but they didn't come in until a month afterwards. This guy has injured two others in the past year due to his unsafe rushing work practices.

I've been having nightmares and flashbacks, and also been waking up sweating. I'm jumpy about little things like the doors locking in a car. On top of that, I get sick while in a car now.

I was in the process of testing for admission to the police department. I was just working that job to put me through college. My workers' comp case worker is very pushy and nosey, trying to dig into my personal life and trying to take control at my appointments. I got a lawyer but I'm just also looking for some outside advice and questions to be answered.

Why can't I sue if they tried to hide my injury and covered it up? That's tampering with a crime scene isn't it? I don't have a case now because of their cover-up. I'm scared to be anywhere near my work and have been diagnosed with PTSD. Shouldn't I get some reimbursement for that? My future is ruined. I'm mentally not the same person I used to be. Is there anything I can do?

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Wrist cut off at work due to machine operator's negligence...":

Zack (Wisconsin):

It is our policy not to interfere with the attorney-client relationship. It is very important for you to follow the advice and counsel of your attorney. Second guessing your attorney implies you don’t trust him or her.

Generally speaking, workers' compensation claims do not cover PTSD or anxiety resulting from on-the-job injuries. Under workers' comp statutes in the State of Wisconsin, as in other states, you are entitled to compensation for your medical bills, including out-of-pocket expenses, and portion of your lost wages (usually about 65 percent). Pain and suffering is normally not covered under workers' compensation.

In rare cases, when an employer has committed egregious actions he knew or should have known would injure a worker, the employer may be sued in county, state, or in some cases, federal court. To succeed in such an action the worker must prove an employer exercised "gross negligence" or displayed a "wonton disregard for workers’ safety." This requires substantial evidence and legal expertise.

In some cases, if an inured worker can prove the machine which injured him was defective, he may be able to file a product liability claim against the machine's manufacturer. This would entitle the worker to additional settlement money, including compensation for pain and suffering.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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