In January of last year I had a 125 pound dough knife break my middle finger bone (top knuckle bone) in half. It came through the tissue and pushed my fingernail out of its bed (it was actually standing up right from the fingernail bed and was held on by the skin at the end of my finger). My ring finger was crushed also (top knuckle bone as well) I had gloves on and the 125 pound knife landed on those fingers.
I am glad I had gloves on because I would have lost the top of my middle finger. I had surgery and the surgeon put a pin in my middle finger and stitched the crushed bone in my ring finger. The accident was not my fault. It was due to the machine I was taking apart missing the wench used to remove the heavy parts of this dough divider. I don't think it matters if it was my fault or not. I have permanent nerve damage to both fingers. 12 people had lost time injuries in that same month.
I had surgery and my human resource manager called me after my first check up with my surgeon and asked if I could come back to work because they where afraid that their insurance would go up. I talked to my doctor and he said as long as I either stayed in the break-room all day or either stayed in a heated office he would allow me to return to work. So after about 10 days after the accident I returned to work sitting in an heated office. I am an industrial electrician/mechanic and am 45 years old. So I only received a 3 day workers compensation check.
After 6 weeks the surgeon said I could return to my duties but to use my left hand as little as possible and to not lift with that hand yet. About a week later a 20 year old woman was told to take the side off of a running machine and clean up under the machine. She got her arm hung in 2 different sprockets and I was able to free her. She lost 90 percent of use in her arm. Her arm was mangled. I decided that I needed to find another job because I felt or knew I was working in an unsafe environment.
I found other employment the next week and put in my notice and began my new job shortly thereafter. I found out very quickly that my hand was not ready for a high-speed working environment. I had to quit my job. Since then I have had 3 other jobs and could not keep up. I have not worked since September. Just wanted to give a history.
I had my MMI done in early February. I told the doctor everything I have just said in this thread. The MMI reads as follows: Based on AMA Guidelines the claimant has sustained a 34% medical impairment to left hand injured body parts and a 19% medical impairment to the BODY. In his notes he wrote:
I have added an impairment for impaired fine motor movement, with his left, non-dominant hand. He took significantly longer to move paper clips across the table than with his right hand (40% longer). This was due to impaired fingering and feeling of L digits 3 and 4. This is what causes him trouble in his vocation of Maintenance Mechanic. This is what has raised his impairment rating.
My questions are
Is the 34%medical impairment to left hand have a separate settlement figure with the 19% BODY impairment or does the BODY impairment trump the 34% hand impairment?
At the time of my injury I had started working there in early March 2013 and accident occurred in January 2014. Do they use those figures to estimate average weekly salary? I did not work Part of January and all of February 2013.
I was making 18.25 an hour. My boss said he did not realize that he had not moved me to 19.50 an hour until after the accident. I also do not have a lawyer because I read that South Carolina favors the worker more than most states.
Will I have the opportunity to settle with my case manager or do I have to go to a hearing?
Thanks for taking the time to read this