Workers’ Comp for Knee Injuries: Calculating the Value of Your Workers Compensation Knee Injury Settlement in Virginia
Did You Hurt Your Knee at Work? Then Hire a Top-Rated Workers Comp Attorney to Negotiate a Workers’ Comp Knee Injury Settlement.
The knee is the largest joint in the body and the most complicated one. We use our knees for almost every activity. Sitting, standing, walking, bending, kneeling, crouching, crawling, lifting. You name it – your knees, which are load-bearing joints, likely play an important role in the movement and activity. And because we rely on our knees so much, they can eventually wear down or get hurt.
Workplace knee injuries are common, no matter your profession or occupation. And the more time you spend on your feet, the greater the chance that you will suffer a knee injury at work. We represent construction workers, factory workers, warehouse workers, nurses, delivery drivers, auto mechanics, waiters and waitresses, tractor trailer truck drivers, and entertainers and professional athletes who have suffered workplace knee injuries in Virginia.
If you’ve injured your knee in a sudden workplace accident or have been experiencing chronic knee pain that was made worse by a recent movement at work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Virginia workers’ compensation covers injuries that aggravate a pre-existing condition such as osteoarthritis in the knee or a previously asymptomatic meniscal tear.
This article provides an overview of the types of workplace knee injuries we often handle and how to determine the workers compensation settlement value of your knee injury claim. If you have questions about workers compensation or are looking for high quality legal representation, contact workers comp lawyer Corey Pollard today for a free consultation regarding the value of your knee injury claim under workers compensation in Virginia. We will also evaluate your claim to determine whether you qualify for Social Security Disability based on the long-term impact of your knee injury.
Inside the Knee
The knee is surrounded by a joint capsule that is flexible enough to allow a wide range of movement but strong enough to hold the parts of the joint together. Synovial tissue, which secretes fluid to lubricate the knee joint, lines the capsule.
Cartilage covers the ends of your femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone). This cartilage helps reduce friction between the bones when you move your legs.
There are pads of cartilage, called menisci, between your femur and tibia. This cartilage acts as a cushion and helps distribute your body weight across the knee joint. Fluid filled sacs, called bursae, provide cushioning between various parts of your knee such as the tibia and your patellar tendon, which attaches the tibia to your kneecap.
There are four major ligaments that provide stability to the knee:
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). This ligament, located in the middle of the knee, controls rotation and forward movement of your shin bone.
- Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). This ligament, also located in the middle of the knee, controls backward movement of the shin bone.
- Medial collateral ligament (MCL). This ligament provides additional stability to the inner knee.
- Lateral collateral ligament (LCL). This ligament provides additional stability to the outer knee.
As you can see, there are many parts that can sustain damage when you suffer a work injury to your knee. We will discuss the specifics of each knee injury below and how the injury affects your workers compensation case.
Difference Between Chronic Knee Pain and a Sudden Knee Injury in Workers Compensation
Many of you suffer from chronic knee pain. This often happens when the cartilage in your knee wears down due to age, injury, and overuse and you develop arthritis. Arthritis and cartilage tears can cause frequent pain and swelling that makes it difficult to perform physically demanding jobs. In some cases chronic knee pain requires surgery, such as a total or partial knee replacement, that puts you out of work for a significant period.
Having preexisting arthritis or cartilage wear does not mean you will lose your claim for workers comp benefits automatically. If you can prove that a sudden event at work aggravated or worsened your preexisting arthritis, or that your traumatic work accident accelerated the need for knee surgery by causing you to become more symptomatic, then you can qualify for workers comp.
Proving that a knee injury aggravated or exacerbated your preexisting arthritis or worn cartilage will require a skilled attorney and opinions from at least one medical expert.
Common Causes of Workplace Knee Injuries that Qualify for Workers Comp
We’ve seen many types of workplace accidents cause knee injuries, but here are some of the most common:
- Falls from heights, such as a ladder
- Slip and fall accidents
- Work-related car accidents
- Standing up from an awkward position
- Construction accidents
- Being hit by moving objects or heavy machinery
- Repetitive motion such as standing or walking all day at work
Common Workers Comp Knee Injuries
We help employees in Virginia receive workers compensation for these knee injuries:
- Amputation/Loss of Limb
- Below the knee amputation
- Above the knee amputation
- Total leg amputation at the hip
- Broken Kneecap
- Broken Leg (Tibia-Fibula Fracture)
- Chondromalacia Patellae. This refers to softening and damage of the cartilage under the kneecap (patella). A knee injury at work can worsen preexisting arthritis or cause post-traumatic arthritis, which in turn leads to misalignment of the kneecap and damage to the underlying cartilage.
- Dislocated Kneecap
- Knee Bruising
- Knee Sprains and Strains
- Knee Swelling
- Torn Meniscus
- Ligament Tear
- Torn MCL Ligament
- Torn PCL ligament
What Do I Do If I Hurt My Knee At Work?
If you hurt your knee at work, don’t try to fight through the pain and swelling. Doing so can cause permanent damage that will make it even more difficult to return to your pre-injury job. Notify your employer in writing and seek medical attention immediately.
Make sure that you follow your doctor’s orders and do not go back to work until you’re ready. You should avoid putting weight on your knee so that it has time to heal. Elevating your leg and using heat and ice can relax the muscles, increase blood flow to the injured knee, and speed up healing.
Because of how often we use our knees, healing can take a long time. A knee injury may prevent you from returning to work for months, weeks, or ever, and medical bills from injections, surgeries, and therapy can add up quickly.
Fortunately we can help you get the workers comp disability benefits or lump sum workers comp settlement you deserve for your knee injury. And if you’re unable to return to your pre-injury work, we can help you qualify for Social Security Disability.
Treatment for Workplace Knee Injuries
Many workplace knee injuries are strains or sprains to the ligaments, muscles, or tendons in or around the knee. More serioius knee injuries can cause torn cartilage, torn ligaments, or fractures.
Your doctor will likely recommend that you undergo an xray and MRI. Depending on the type of knee injury, your doctor may recommend a number of treatment options. These include:
- Keeping weight off the knee
- Elevating the injured knee to reduce swelling
- Alternating ice and head
- Physical or aquatic therapy
- Compression stockings to restrict movement and reduce swelling
- Whirlpool treatment
- A brace to stabilize the knee joint
- The use of a cane or assistive device
- Steroid injections
Dealing with a knee injury is frustrating. And having to go through the workers compensation claims process can make matters worse. But follow your doctor’s orders and listen to your knee injury attorney so that you can maximize not only the value of your knee injury claim but also give yourself the best chance of recovering.
Common Surgery for Knee Injuries
You may require surgery for your workplace knee injury. We have helped injured employees obtain authorization and payment for the following types of knee surgery:
- Knee Arthroscopy – This surgery is often performed to remove a torn meniscus and smooth the cartilage. Following the surgery you may require crutches and several days off your feet. It may take you three to five months to recover fully.
- Knee Ligament Reconstruction – This surgery of often done to repair a torn ACL. You will likely require the use of a brace and crutches for several days. Many injured employees with a torn ACL requiring knee ligament reconstruction will require up to 6 months of light duty. And some are never able to return to employment that requires frequent bending, stooping, and twisting.
- Meniscus Repair – If you suffered a meniscal tear, you may require meniscus repair surgery. Following this surgery, you will be given a brace and crutches. You should stay off the leg for several weeks. It usually takes slightly longer to reach maximum medical improvement following a meniscus injury compared to an ACL injury.
- Knee Osteotomy – An osteotomy is a surgical operation where your bone is cut to change its length (sometimes with the help of a bone stimulator or bone graft) or to change its alignment. An osteotomy may be performed if a knee arthroscopy or ligament reconstruction failed, or to straighten a bone that healed improperly following a fracture. It may take up to 6 months for you to reach maximum medical improvement following an osteotomy, and there is an increased risk of permanent restrictions.
- Knee Replacement – You may require a total knee replacement, also called a total knee arthroplasty, if your work injury worsens your pre-existing arthritis or causes post-traumatic arthritis that makes it difficult to work or perform activities of daily living. We have obtained workers’ compensation approval for knee replacement surgeries in multiple cases. You will likely be limited to sedentary or light work for the remainder of your career following a total knee replacement.
Can I Settle My Workers’ Compensation Knee Injury Case?
If you prove that you suffered a knee injury by accident arising out of and in the course of your employment, you may be entitled to a lifetime medical award for all reasonable and necessary treatment for your knee injury, temporary total disability payments, and permanent partial disability benefits. You may also agree to a workers compensation knee injury settlement, so long as all the parties agree to it. In Virginia you are never guaranteed a knee injury settlement because all settlements are voluntary.
Why Should I Settle My Workers Compensation Knee Injury Case?
There are many reasons why you may want to settle your knee injury case: closure; you’ve found a new job; there are issues in dispute; etc. But many injured employees wait until they reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) to settle their workers compensation knee injury case. This is the point at which you will know what your permanent work restrictions are and what type of medical care you may need in the future.
In my opinion, settling a knee injury case is neither good nor bad. Ultimately it comes down to how much money the insurance company is offering and your work status, level of permanent disability, and future medical needs.
Are There Reasons I May Not Want to Settle My Knee Injury Case?
Yes. There are reasons you may not want to negotiate a workers’ compensation knee injury settlement. These include:
- You have returned to light duty work with your pre-injury employer and want to continue working there, but the insurance company is requiring you to resign as a term of settlement.
- You may require knee surgery or partial or total knee replacement in the near future and you do not have other medical insurance to pay for the treatment.
- The settlement offer is too low.
As you can see, there are many factors to consider before settling a knee injury claim.
How Do I Settle a Workers Compensation Knee Injury Case?
The settlement process for knee injury cases is the same as most other types of cases. Your attorney will discuss the value of your knee injury case with you before presenting a settlement demand to the insurance company. The insurance company may accept your settlement demand, or it may make a counter offer. This negotiation can go back and forth until you and the insurance company agree on a settlement value for your knee injury.
What is the Value of My Knee Injury Case under Workers’ Compensation in Virginia? The Knee Injury Settlement Calculator
An insurance company is a business. And like all businesses, it operates to make a profit. The insurance company wants to settle your knee injury case for as little money as possible so that it can save money.
It’s important that you hire an experienced workers comp attorney to negotiate a knee injury settlement. Though there is not a specific amount that the insurance company has to pay for a knee injury settlement under Virginia law, there are several factors you should discuss with your attorney before agreeing on a number.
Every case is different. The following are factors to consider when negotiating a knee injury settlement:
- Your pre-injury average weekly wage
- Your level of permanent impairment, measured as a percentage loss of use. We will send you to a claimant-friendly physician who can evaluate your permanent knee impairment using the AMA Guides. You are eligible for up to 175 weeks of permanent partial disability benefits for a knee injury because such an injury can cause permanent impairment to the entire leg.
- Your transferable job skills. Specifically, whether you have acquired skills that will make it easier for you to transfer to a sedentary or light job if your past work was at medium or heavy.
- Your projected future medical costs (surgery, therapy, etc.). Total knee replacement and residual treatment can easily exceed $100,000.00.
- Your location and the current labor market in your location. These factors play an important role in the value of your knee injury case because the more difficulty the insurance company has finding you a job within your restrictions, the greater the value of your indemnity payments for the knee injury.
What Happens if I Refuse to Settle My Workers Compensation Knee Injury Case?
If you do not settle your knee injury case, then it will stay open. You will continue to receive the workers compensation benefits to which you are entitled. The employer and its insurance company may try to cut off wage loss and medical benefits at some point.
Attorney Corey Pollard: Helping You after a Knee Injury at Work
It’s easy to dismiss knee pain as something you should just “deal with.” But don’t. Fight for your Virginia workers compensation if your job caused your knee pain or an increase in knee symptoms.
Though you do not need a personal injury attorney or work injury lawyer to negotiate a workers compensation knee injury settlement in Virginia, we recommend hiring one. Knowing the insurance company’s tactics, case law, and likelihood of success at hearing can help you get the highest value for your knee injury case.
If you’re looking for a workers’ compensation knee injury attorney in Virginia contact Corey Pollard today so we can help you determine your legal options. Your consultation is free, so you have nothing to lose. We’re just a call, text, or email away from injured workers in Richmond, Chesapeake, Hampton, Hanover, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Newport News, Fredericksburg, Fairfax, Charlottesville, Staunton, and Roanoke. We can help you win your knee injury case and obtain a favorable resolution no matter where you’re located. And we can help you qualify for SSDI benefits for your knee injury as well.