One of the more horrific workplace injuries can be losing a limb either on the job or in surgery following a work incident. In such a scenario, there are multiple factors to consider when pursuing workers’ compensation benefits.
Once such example from a few years ago, involved a construction worker operating heavy machinery. The employee sustained a crush injury of her hand when a cable snapped causing a heavy object to fall on her thumb and index finger. While the fingers were not lost immediately, the employee had these two fingers surgically removed one week later.
The workers’ compensation insurer denied the claim because there were no witnesses to the incident nor surveillance footage, the broken cable could not be located, and it was therefore argued the injury never occurred at work. The dispute came down to credibility—who was the judge going to believe.
Following surgery, she had complications. Her stitches tore open, her wound became infected, and a second surgery was needed. Meanwhile, she suffered from phantom limb syndrome and depression.
Why injured workers should fight back after a claim is denied
The injured employee was owed the following workers’ compensation benefits for her accident:
- Wage loss for being out of work entirely due to the injury
- A Permanent Partial Disability rating for the loss of two fingers
- Payment of her medical expenses – not just for her hand treatment but for the consequential mental health treatment as well
- Reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses and medical mileage
- A prosthetic thumb and index finger
Had she taken the insurer’s denial at face value, she would not have been able to obtain these benefits. This is why it is very important to seek the help of an experienced work comp lawyer after your claim is denied.