Workers' Compensation Amputation Case Study

This tragic injury occurred during a time when the employee was a high school student working a summer job in New Hampshire for a landscape and lawn maintenance company. He, with the assistance of a co-worker, attempted to free a commercial riding mower from soft ground.

Unfortunately, the kill switch was disabled and the blades were still engaged when the machine was being moved. As the mower was freed the drive wheels developed traction and it lurched forward and over the left foot of the teenage employee resulting in a traumatic amputation of most of his left foot.

The injured teenage employee was transported by ambulance and the local hospital provided emergency care but he was then transferred to a major Boston Hospital better equipped to provide the medical expertise necessary to save as much of the foot as possible. After discharge from the hospital the teenager was assisted by home health care and received physical therapy.

He was prescribed a prosthesis which required several adjustments. He suffered from what is termed phantom pain, a common symptom following amputation. Many months later he was provided with a light duty work capacity. He continued to receive Neurontin for pain.

Despite the severity of the injury, the teenage employee continued with his efforts to complete high school. The loss of his foot will limit him in many ways and the light duty restriction remains his limitation.

The restrictions also limit bending, kneeling, squatting, standing, walking and preclude climbing. While he is likely to return to employment that would approximate his pre-injury wage, it will take time to achieve that goal. He will continue to require a prosthesis for the remainder of his life.

The loss of function associated with the amputation was analyzed by a physiatrist and calculated to result in a permanent impairment based on the AMA Guide to Permanent Impairment, 5th Edition. The conclusion is a 63% loss of function of the left lower extremity.

Through representation by the law firm of Feniger & Uliasz and attorney Michael R. Feniger, a favorable settlement was negotiated for this young man which included wage benefits, permanent impairment and future medical benefits.

As a result he was given the opportunity to move forward with his life and the knowledge that his medical needs related to his amputated left foot, including the prosthesis will be taken care of. In addition, a settlement was achieved against the manufacturer of the commercial lawnmower, which while confidential, provided significant additional compensation for pain and suffering and loss of earning capacity in the future.

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