By: Donna Devita
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In 2015, nearly 3,000 workers suffered amputation injuries in the United States according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Of the injuries reported, 69 of them were in Connecticut. Within one year…
- a group home worker’s nose was bit off by a patient in Manchester.
- an employee’s toe was amputated after dropping a metal casting on his foot.
- over 50 employees lost fingertips, parts of fingers, or entire fingers from various work accidents.
Amputations are one of the most devastating and instantaneous work injuries an employee can suffer. Regardless of what caused the injury, amputations can be debilitating to an individual, causing life-changing consequences on a physical, emotional, and even financial level.
Top Five Causes of Workplace Amputations
Occupational amputations can happen for a number of reasons: employer negligence, employee accidents, or even bizarre occurrences unpreventable by the safest workplace policies. For instance, just this last year an 18-year-old waiter from Stamford lost a leg after a car crashed into the restaurant he was working at!
When taking an overall look at the amputations reported in 2015, OSHA highlights five of the most common job responsibilities that can lead to these tragic injuries:
- Operating power tools, including electric saws
- Chemical burns from hazardous liquids or gases
- Working with dangerous materials
- Operating machines that puncture, rotate or cut materials such as wood and metal
- Working with electric meat grinders or slicers
In cases of finger-related amputations, rings are a huge culprit in causing injuries or elevating the severeness of an amputation. ‘Ring avulsion’ occurs when an employee gets their ring caught in a machine or dangerous device, causing mutilating damage to the finger(s)…the results are not pretty.
Jobs At High Risk of Amputation Injuries
Industries with heavy machinery and sharp saws are not the only workplaces at risk of occupational amputations. Other fields of work where amputations can and have occurred include:
- Food industry
- Veterinary and pet services
- Emergency services
Aside from these high-risk jobs, any job involving blades, appliances, heavy materials, or hazardous chemicals can put employees at risk for amputations. Facilitates with poor safety polices are also especially vulnerable. Skipping steps such as wearing protective equipment or placing proper guards can make even the safest machines an amputation hazard to employees.
Workers’ Comp After Workplace Amputations
Connecticut requires most employers to carry a workers’ compensation plan to help cover health expenses for employees injured on the job; unfortunately, workers’ compensation claims are not always simple. Not only do claims get denied, even under the most tragic of cases, sometimes workers’ compensation benefits are not enough to cover medical expenses acquired from an accident.
For these reasons, expert workers’ compensation attorneys can be extremely instrumental in helping employees obtain the benefits they are entitled to for workplace injuries. If you’ve suffered a catastrophic amputation injury, an attorney can:
- Represent you in a Connecticut Workers’ Compensation hearing.
- Adequately complete and file documentation on your behalf.
- Assist you if your employer represents your claim.
- Advocate for you if your employer is uncooperative.
- Provide advise in cases requiring independent medical evaluations
Filing a Lawsuit After Workers’ Compensation
With most workers’ compensation plans, once an employee has filed an accident claim, they are no longer able to sue their employer for an injury sustained on the job. However, there are a few cases in which a lawsuit may be justified in a workplace amputation and a workers’ compensation attorney is the best advocate to explore these options. You may be eligible for compensation additional to workers’ compensation benefits if your accident:
- was intentional by your employer
- resulted due to the negligence of an independent contractor
- was the fault of defective equipment
- was caused by a third party
Seeking Justice for CT Amputees
Losing a part of your own body can be a traumatic experience in any case. If you or a loved one has suffered an occupational amputation, our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Jacobs & Wallace are here to help. Call us today for a free consultation to see how we can successfully assist you with filing your claim and to find out if your eligible for additional compensation for damages suffered.