Workers' Compensation for Knee and Leg Injuries
Knee and leg injuries in the workplace are very common and can occur in many ways. These injuries can be the result of a specific incident or cumulative, repetitive trauma to the knees and legs that occur over time. Because of the impact that the knees and legs can have on the rest of the body, it is important to maximize the value of a settlement for these type of injuries. The value in permanent disability payments (i.e. settlement) of a workers' compensation case for a knee or leg injury will depend on if it is a mild injury like tendonitis or a severe injury like a torn ACL or an amputated leg.
Regardless of how your injury occurs, your route to recovery can be aided by an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the complex workers' compensation system. Our team of attorneys at Gordon, Edelstein, Krepack, Grant, Felton & Goldstein, LLP (also known as GEKLAW) have represented many clients throughout California who have suffered from these kinds of injuries and can help you obtain the benefits and treatment you need.
Common Knee and Leg Injuries
Knees and legs are prone to many injuries at the workplace because no matter what the job is, the legs are being used in some way, shape, or form. Even continuous prolonged sitting, for example, in long haul truckers who are sitting for extended periods of time, can lead to serious injury. Prolonged standing activities can also result in vascular injury to the legs. Further, leg injuries can also be tied to preexisting back injuries due to the strain that a back injury can cause on the rest of the body by forcing it to compensate and balance the body out.
Most often, the types of knee and leg injuries seen in the workplace include:
- Meniscus Tears – The meniscus is cartilage that provides a cushion between the shinbone and the femur. A tear to the meniscus from forceful twisting or rotation can result in pain, swelling, stiffness, and difficulty extending the knee.
- Fractures and Broken Bones – The knee joins several bones including the tibia, the femur, and the patella meaning that force or trauma to the knee can easily result in a fracture or broken bone either in the knee or in the leg bones surrounding the knee.
- Tendon Injuries – Tendons in the knee connect muscles to the bones associated with the knee joint. Any tear in the tendons can result in pain, swelling, stiffness, and difficulty extending the knee.
- Tendinitis – Severe swelling of the tendons after repeated injury can cause pain and soreness around joints that often occurs in the knee joints.
- Amputations – Sudden trauma to a limb like the leg can be so severe that it requires the surgical removal of the body part.
- Torn ACL – The ACL is the tissue that connects the thighbone to the shinbone at the knee. A tear in this tissue can cause knee swelling, instability, and severe pain
- Sprains and Strains – A common source of knee pain is from a sprain or strain caused when muscles are abnormally stretched or torn or when ligaments are torn causing pain with movement, muscle cramping, spasms, and decreased range of motion.
Industries Where Knee/Leg Injuries are Prevalent
Knee and leg injuries are very common in employees who perform physical labor where the employee is subjected to repetitive stress to the same area of the body such as:
- Construction workers
- Manufacturing workers
- Carpet or brick layers
- Automobile mechanics
- Grocery workers
- Nurses and certified nursing assistants
Knee and leg injuries can also occur quite frequently in industries requiring the use of awkward posture or positioning or where the likelihood of trauma injuries is prevalent such as:
- Health care
- Police Officers
However, a knee or leg injury can occur in any workplace when an employee attempts to lift or move something heavy without proper technique, if they are repeatedly turning and twisting while moving or lifting something heavy, or even in a simple slip and fall accident.
When it comes to knee and leg injuries in the workplace, treatment will often start off by running tests and evaluations to determine the true extent of the injury. If the injury can be treated in a noninvasive way, the following treatments may be recommended as alternates to surgery:
- Heating Pads
- Medicine such as Acetaminophen, Aspirin, or Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
- Narcotic Pain Medication
- Wearing a knee brace
- Physical Therapy
However, some knee and leg injuries are too severe to be treated with only the above methods. Tears and other trauma-induced injuries may require popping the knee back into place, repeated injections, and/or surgery. For instance, a severe injury like an amputation or torn ACL can require not only surgery but intense physical therapy. If surgery is, in fact, needed, the individual will likely not be able to use the knee after the procedure and may need either crutches or a wheelchair while recovering.
Benefits to Having Legal Representation
The road to recovery can be difficult but obtaining legal representation can help ensure that you receive all the benefits and compensation that you are owed. Our team of attorneys at Gordon, Edelstein, Krepack, Grant, Felton & Goldstein (GEKLAW) helps workers in California do just that and guide you through the legal process so that you are informed of your rights if you injure your knee or leg while working.
Recently, GEKLAW represented an injured worker who worked as a certified nursing assistant who suffered from a knee injury. This injury occurred when the worker twisted her knee while assisting a patient. After some physical therapy with no improvement, an MRI was obtained and it was determined that surgery was necessary to repair the knee. The surgery outcome was successful and our client was able to return to work. Thereafter, we secured a final medical and permanent disability Award for our client. This is just an example of a successful outcome for an injured worker with a knee injury.