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JB Umphrey
JB Umphrey, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20231
Experience:  Assisting employees and employers for over 14 years.
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I was dog bit on the hand feb 28 2013 while on duty as a deputy

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I was dog bit on the hand feb 28 2013 while on duty as a deputy sheriff. I have good reason to believe that I didn't receive proper medical care. Workmans comp is paying medical expenses. Hand specialist told me infection got into the finger joint. I am receiving therapy now, unable to resume normal duties due to swollen finger joint and associated swelling and lack of movement. What do you think ?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 1 year ago.

JB Umphrey :

Welcome and thank you for your question!

JB Umphrey :

I am very sorry to learn about your injury. It would be helpful to better understand your claim. Are you saying that the doctor didn't treat you properly or that workers compensation mishandled your claim?

Customer:

Thanks.

Customer:

Thanks, So far no prob w w/c. I don't believe the doctor didn't provide me with the proper treatment.

JB Umphrey :

Sorry, you used a double negative there.

Customer:

yep notice that after I sent it. sorry

Customer:

I don't believe I received proper treatment

JB Umphrey :

Okay, thanks. Is that your personal opinion or did you go to another doctor for a second opinion?

JB Umphrey :

Is it the specialist who told you that the first doctor didn't do a good job?

Customer:

It is my personal opinion based on the specialist who told me that he would have gone into the wound to cleanse it. By the time I got to the specialist, he told me that scar tissue had developed and the infection had set into the bone and joint. Keep in my I practically begged the treating physician ( the guy whom I am dissatisfied with), to refer me to a specialist as the swelling and pain wasn't improving. He only told me to let it heal. He didn't schedule me for subsequent visits. I kept going back to him because my injury appeared to be worsening,

Customer:

Finally I went to his physicians assistant and she is the one who referred me to the specialilst

JB Umphrey :

Okay, thanks. Are you back to work on light duty now?

Customer:

If I recover completely I will prob drop it. Im concerned that that may not be the case

JB Umphrey :

If that is the case, what would your damages be?

Customer:

Yes, the Dr approved me for light duty. I am a deputy sheriff/DOT enforcement officer. I cannot perform the tasks related to me job. There is no light duty that complies with the mandate of the Dr order

JB Umphrey :

So you are at home until you are able to go back to work and do your regular job?

Customer:

I cannot close my finger when making a fist. The joint is swollen and painful. I gotta be careful with it not to bump it, twist it, etc. There are many tasks that I can perform, however, due to the physical demands of law enforcement work, I am unable to perform.

Customer:

Yes. We are a small agency, no light duty. The doctors order is a "desk job"

JB Umphrey :

I see.

Customer:

and now there is a 12 year old little girl who is having a b day party. She just called to say the hamburgers are ready. Gotta go thanks my e mail ,,,, XXXXX@XXXXXX.XXX

JB Umphrey :

Sorry but the system blocks your e-mail.

JB Umphrey :

From the sounds of things, you don't have a medical malpractice claim.

JB Umphrey :

What are your out-of-pocket losses that aren't covered by workers comp that is caused by the first doctor's actions?

JB Umphrey :

Poor treatment/healing does not always mean medical malpractice. Then there is the separate issue of damages.

However, if you can demonstrate what your out-of-pocket losses are that aren't covered by workers compensation that was caused by the first doctor's actions, then you may want to consult with a local medical practice attorney for a consult. If nothing else, see if the attorney would write a demand letter to the first doctor for you to see if some type of settlement could be negotiated.

JB Umphrey :

My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back. I am happy to address follow-up questions. Thank you for your business!



~~ J.B.

JB Umphrey, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20231
Experience: Assisting employees and employers for over 14 years.
JB Umphrey and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 1 year ago.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.


My complaint is that I repeatedly returned to the doctor because I was concerned with excessive pain, swelling and the lack of motion caused by the dog bite.... The doctor took no cultures or bloodwork to check for infection and took no action. Despite my requests, the doctor didn't refer me to a specialist. Finally I made an appointment with his Assistant who recognized that a specialist should be involved. Once I saw the specialist, he told me that typically as soon as possible after the bite, he performs surgery to cleanse the wound of infection, however, too much time had elapsed and the infection had set into the bone and joint. He told me that if the wound had been cleansed internally in a timely manner, typically healing is quick and recovery is generally full. He told me since the infection has set in, the prognosis is that I will hopefully regain full use of the hand, however it will take appx 6 months to know. I have accessed a few medical websites and the information they provide is the same as what the specialist told me. In other words, had the clinic doctor complied with me request to see a specialist, most likely this long painful recovery would not have occurred. Full use of the hand would have been more likely. I am disappointed that the clinic doctor either didn't have the expertise to realize a hand specialist was needed. What could it have hurt to fulfill my request to see a specialist ? Also, currently it is past two months since the injury took place and I cannot resume my normal work. Ive been a cop since 2001 and now I cant do my job. My job sometimes includes physical contact with combative individuals. It also includes proficiency with firearms. I cannot shoot, I cannot defend myself. It remains to be seen to what extent I will recover. It appears from what the specialist has told me as well as what I have read from medical websites that there is a substantial likelihood I would not have suffered the affects of infection into the bone and joint had the doctor sent me to a specialist. If I do not recover to the level of full performance at my work, I will have to retrain into another profession. Workmans comp pays approx. 70% of my normal wage. Perhaps I am just being a cry baby and need to tighten the financial belt, move on and make the best of it. If I had been as negligent in my line of work and someone suffered as I have, I am certain the victim would be compensated. Just an opinion. Thanks for your time

Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 1 year ago.
Thank you very much for the follow-up and I appreciate your concerns. You may be surprised to learn that victims of wrongdoing are not as frequently or readily compensated. As a matter of fact, individuals such as law enforcement officers often escape legal liability under the legal doctrines of immunity.

Please understand, I am not discouraging you from consulting with a local medical malpractice or personal injury attorney. You may want to first obtain a copy of your medical records so that you have them for any future meeting.

Second, if you do obtain any recovery -- before you even consider accepting it -- find out if your workers compensation carrier has a lien on it and wants to have the first crack at being reimbursed.

Third, if the ID of the dog owner is known and if that person has homeowners insurance, you may want to consult a local personal injury attorney to explore any recourse you may have to sue the dog owner for your injuries (again, workers compensation will want the first crack at reimbursement for any recovery you obtain).

Lastly, going back on the track of medical malpractice ...... don't get too discouraged if local attorneys tell you: yes, the doctor screwed up but your case is not worth the money they would have to invest to sue and, thus, they pass on it. In other words, they pass on your case not because of the merits but because it's not a good business decision for them.

I do not mean to sound insensitive when I offer these insights. However, I don't want you to be blind-sided or further frustrated by some of the reactions you receive when you go out there to interview local attorneys.

I hope this helps offer additional perspective!

~~ J.B.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Thanks for your reply and please understand....I am right handed and now my I cant close my right hand fully, test at the specialist reveals I have about one half the strength as my left hand. I have a poor grip with my "strong" hand. I am truly disabled compared to before the incident. For now and possibly permanently, I have lost my profession. I am getting by on 70% of normal income. I have no idea what I will do to earn a living in the future. I have been led to believe had I seen a hand specialist early on, as I repeatedly requested, chances are infection would not have caused these problems. A stupid dogbite has abruptly changed my life and I have no clue where I am headed, Trying not to feel sorry for myself but it appears im screwed. Thanks so much for your help. I believe you are sincere, competent and a good person. I will be fine.....thanks again.

Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 1 year ago.
You are very welcome. Go and order a copy of your medical records from both of your treaters and start making appointments for local attorneys. You owe yourself that peace of mind.

~~ J.B.

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