from the Worker's Compensation Board of Indiana The
Honorable Linda Peterson, Hamilton Chairman of Worker's
Compensation Board of Indiana Application No. C-232196
Attorney for Appellant Kevin L. Likes Auburn, Indiana
Attorney for Appellee Peter J. Bagiackas South Bend, Indiana
Gina Senter appeals the Indiana Worker's Compensation
Board's (the "Board") order, which granted
Senter permanent partial impairment benefits totaling $12,
880.00. We reverse and remand.
The single issue on appeal is whether the Board erred in
calculating Senter's award pursuant to Indiana Code
Section 22-3-3-10 (the "Statute") after finding
Senter required surgery to amputate her left small finger and
the outside portion of her hand due to a workplace injury.
On April 29, 2014, Senter sustained an injury while working
at her place of employment, Foremost Fabricators, LLC
("Foremost"). Senter's "left little finger
(i.e. 5th digit on the left hand) got caught
between two rollers on a roller machine."
Appellant's App. Vol. II p. 15. The same day, Foremost
selected Dr. David Cutcliffe to evaluate and treat Senter.
After evaluating Senter, Dr. Cutcliffe "recommended a
fingertip amputation to restore finger function to the left
little finger." Id. at 16. Dr. Cutcliffe
performed surgery the same day and amputated the top portion
of Senter's finger.
Dr. Cutcliffe again evaluated Senter on May 20, 2014, and
found that, although Senter's incision was "clean
and dry, [with] no evidence of infection," Senter
"may still need a revision amputation due to the poor
vascularity of the small finger." Id. A week
later, on May 27, 2014, at a follow-up appointment, Dr.
Cutcliffe found that the "remaining end" on
Senter's left little finger needed a revision amputation.
Dr. Cutcliffe "further opined that he would consider a
ray amputation if the PIP joint of the small finger [could
not] be preserved." Id. at 17 (internal
On May 30, 2014, Senter returned for the revision amputation,
and Dr. Cutcliffe performed a "revision amputation small
left finger with ray amputation." Id. On
September 23, 2014, at a follow-up office visit, Dr.
Cutcliffe found that Senter "had achieved Maximum
Medical Improvement with respect to her revision amputation
little finger, ray amputation" and completed a
"dismemberment chart." Id. Dr.
Cutcliffe's "impairment assessment" also states
that: "Patient has a 100% permanent partial impairment
of the left little finger which converts to 10% of the hand.
. . ." Id. at 31.
After the April 29, 2014 accident, the parties disagreed
regarding the "percentage of permanent partial
impairment" Senter sustained on her hand, "and
accordingly, what amount of Permanent Partial Impairment
benefits" Senter was entitled to receive from Foremost
as a result of her injuries. Id. Importantly, Senter
argued that a "ray amputation included the removal of
the bone along the left side of the left hand clear to the
wrist joint." Id. at 20. Therefore, according
to Senter, she was entitled to an award for one-third loss of
On November 3, 2015, Senter filed her application for
adjustment of claim before the single hearing member of the
Board (the "SHM"). Senter sought an award of $65,
400.00 as a result of her injuries. On September 25, 2018,
the SHM issued his order. The SHM found that Senter was
entitled to an award of $12, 880.00. The SHM reached this
conclusion as follows:
7.[ ] The pre-operative and post-operative diagnoses were:
"amputation of left small finger." The operative
procedure performed was: "Revision amputation left small
finger with ray amputation."
8.On September 23, 2014, Dr. Cutcliffe evaluated Plaintiff at
an office visit. On that occasion, Dr. Cutcliffe opined that
plaintiff had achieved Maximum Medical Improvement with
respect to her revision amputation little finger, ray
amputation. On that occasion, Dr. Cutcliffe completed a
"Dismemberment Chart" evidencing the precise
location of the amputation that took place in the ray
11.As a consequence of the ray procedure to Plaintiff's
left hand performed on May 30, 2014 by Dr. Cutcliffe,
Plaintiff sustained permanent partial impairment of thirteen
(13) percent to the left hand [thirteen percent impairment
was proposed by Foremost in a filing]. [Pursuant to Indiana
Code Section 22-3-3-10(i)(1), the separation "of the
hand by separation below the elbow joint, [equals] forty (40)
degrees of permanent impairment."] Thirteen percent
permanent partial impairment of the hand equals 5.2 degrees
of the hand (40 degrees x .13), and given Plaintiff's
date of accident, that equals $7, 280 worth of permanent
partial impairment benefits (5.2 degrees x $1, 400 per
12.Given Plaintiff's date of accident, the doubling
provision for loss of the left little finger related to
permanent partial impairment benefits applies to
Plaintiff's injury sustained in the Work-Related Accident
of April 29, 2014. The permanent partial impairment rating
sustained by Plaintiff to her left hand as a consequence of
the ray procedure includes impairment for the amputation of
the left little finger. Accordingly, in light of the doubling
provision, an additional four (4) degrees needs to be added
to Plaintiff's permanent partial impairment benefits for
loss of the left little finger by ...