Being injured on the job is stressful, especially if you’ve suffered an injury that might keep you from working—such as a knee injury. It helps to know what steps to take when this happens so you are prepared physically and emotionally, as well as legally. If you have injured your knee at work, you might be able to get workers’ compensation benefits if you are unable to perform your job. Contacting a Denver workers’ compensation attorney soon after your injury can help ensure you get the benefits you deserve.
Not all knee injuries happen when jobs are physically strenuous. Jobs that might require people to stand or walk all day on hard surfaces can ultimately contribute to knee cartilage degeneration.
Other common causes of knee injuries include slip and falls. These can happen anywhere, but they are particularly common with construction workers and others who perform physical labor. However, slip and falls can happen at any time. Even a simple fall down a couple of steps can cause trauma to the knee, including cartilage damage, kneecap dislocation, and fractures.
Another common cause of knee injuries is banging the knee on heavy equipment.
Knee injuries usually start showing symptoms soon after the trauma occurred and include pain and swelling. It is best to seek immediate treatment for knee injuries by visiting a physician as soon as possible. Most knee injuries are diagnosed with an x-ray or MRI, and your physician will also conduct a physical examination and take down your medical history.
After getting a knee injury, you immediately become aware of just how much you use your knees in everyday life. Any normal movement, such as bending, sitting, standing, and squatting, can be tough on knew. If you have a physically demanding job, you might be more prone to a knee injury. But the truth is that a knee injury can happen to anyone almost anywhere.
When you hurt your knee, the worst thing you can do is return to normal activities without getting the proper care for your knee.
Returning to your normal activities too soon can worsen your injury and cause even bigger problems. Unless you have a severe injury that requires treatment, such as surgery, most medical professionals will recommend the RICE method—rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Keeping your leg iced and elevated will encourage blood flow to the area, and this will help with the healing process. (Find out more about the RICE method from Web MD by reading this article.)
Colorado employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance by law if they have one or more employees. This law is applicable to every employer who hires anyone. Employees can be part-time or full-time workers, and even family members. Anyone who gets paid for the work they do is classified as an “employee.”
If you have suffered a knee injury at work that is keeping you from working, you may be concerned about medical bills that are piling up—especially if you are not getting your regular paychecks.
Under workers’ compensation laws, you might be eligible for the following:
Replacement of lost wages. Workers’ compensation statutes in Colorado stipulate the maximum benefit of 91 percent of the average weekly wage in the state.
Coverage of all approved medical expenses associated with your injury. Your employer should pay these expenses directly to the medical provider you are seeing for treatment.
Compensation if you are impaired permanently because of the injury.
Keep in mind that workers’ compensation insurance companies are not on your side, and your best option in dealing with them is to do it through an attorney. Their goal is not to protect your interests, but they want to pay you as little as possible. It is crucial to have a Denver workers’ compensation lawyer on your side to ensure you recover everything to which you are entitled.
If your workers’ compensation case is denied for some reason, your case will become even more complex and legal help is even more important.
Follow these steps if you suffer a knee injury at work:
Report the incident to your employer. Notify your supervisor as soon as possible both verbally and then follow up with a report in writing. According to Colorado law, you must notify your employer in writing about your injury within four working days of the occurrence, regardless of whether you have told them verbally. Make sure you keep copies of all documentation. After you have made your employer aware of the injury, they should file a report with their insurance company. They are required to do this within 10 days of the injury.
Find out which medical provider you must see. Chances are that your employer will have a designated provider you will be required to see. If they do not have a provider, you can see the medical provider of your own choice.
Talk to a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. Workers' compensation hearings and procedures are complicated, and the goal of any insurance company is always to pay out as little as possible. Exercise your right to seek an attorney to get legal advice about your claim. An attorney will investigate your claim, help conduct your hearing, and communicate with the insurance company to ensure your best interests are protected.
If you have injured knees because of a condition or accident that developed at work, an experience can help ensure you get the benefits you deserve. Worker’s compensation cases are complicated, and it is easy to make mistakes when you don’t know what you are doing. These mistakes can cost you a lot of money.
Your time is better spent focusing on recovery, and Mark A. Simon can help with the legal aspects of your case. Schedule your free consultation today so he can review the details of your case.