Knee injuries are common in the workplace. In 2020, there were a total of 1,176,340 non-fatal injuries that caused industry workers to miss at least one day of work https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/osh.pdf. Knee injuries can be due to a twisting or impact injury, or from the constant pressure and stress on your knees caused by work over time.
This staggering number shows that if you suffer a work injury, you are not alone. If you or someone in your family suffers an injury at work, you have the right to seek workers compensation. If you suffer an injury to your knee that causes you to have surgery or miss time from work, you should be paid for your recovery time and any permanent damage done due to your injury. Occupations with a high risk of knee injuries include:
- and other service jobs.
One thing these jobs have in common is that they involve long hours of labor while standing, lifting, climbing stairs, and squatting. These activities put workers at risk for knee injuries. Knee injuries may require surgical procedures. Others can be treated with physical therapy.
If you suffer a knee injury as a result of your occupation, either from a traumatic incident or from stress on your knees from your job over time, you may be entitled to compensation from your employer.
Are you certain you have a case against your employer?
The Most Common Work-Related Knee Injuries
1. Sprains and Strains
Sprains are injuries to the ligaments connecting our bones. These injuries are a result of overexertion which may be caused by lifting or moving heavy objects. Twisting and turning can also cause your bone ligaments to overextend and tear, causing pain.
Sadly, many workers suffer sprains and it goes on unreported. Many workers try to work through sprains and strains, without reporting them as a work injury. If your knee sprain or strain does not recover in a normal amount of time, you need to report the injury to your employer and seek medical treatment.
2. Cuts and Lacerations
In the construction industry alone, cuts and lacerations account for over 10,000 injuries. https://www.bls.gov/web/osh/summ1_00.htm Another reason for this staggering number in the construction industry is the work environment. Construction sites are busy places where heavy machinery and cutting tools are used frequently, increasing the risk of injuries to workers even when they are being careful.
Fractures are among the top most common injuries industry workers face. In 2018, there were over 9,920 fractures on the job. https://www.bls.gov/web/osh/summ1_00.htm Fractures occur when the bone is hit by hard objects, causing them to crack. Some fractures happen over time. Stress fractures happen because of repeated pressure on a bone causing a crack.
Once this happens, workers are advised to report the injury and seek medical care.
4. Knee Osteoarthritis
Knee Osteoarthritis is a leading cause of loss of income and disability across the globe. https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/knee-pain/news/20200714/what-jobs-are-toughest-on-the-knees The treatment can necessitate surgery and, in some cases, total knee replacement.
Knee osteoarthritis develops as the cartilage between the knee bones is depleted and bone comes into contact with the bone, causing pain, swelling, and limiting function. Knee osteoarthritis can happen due to aging, however, it can be accelerated by knee surgeries, constant stress on knees, and harmful impacts on the knees at work.
Knee osteoarthritis can be a work injury if your osteoarthritis is accelerated, exacerbated or “lit up” by your work activities. For example, some people have under lying knee osteoarthritis that doesn’t cause them any pain or loss of function. If they suffer a work injury to their knee that accelerates or exacerbates that underlying osteoarthritis and makes it painful, it is considered part of the work injury.
What Can You Do?
While it may be impossible to prevent work related wear and tear on your knees, employers are required to maintain working standards to prevent or at least reduce injuries. Knee injury benefits are based on your earnings and the degree of your injury.
When filing a workers compensation claim, you should have all the medical documents supporting your claim. You should request medical treatment from your employer as soon as you suffer a work related knee injury or as soon as you suspect your knee pain might be aggravated or exacerbated by your work.
Once you have recovered from your knee injury, your doctor will make a determination on the percentage of permanent impairment from your injury, if you don’t fully recover. The workers compensation insurer is obligated to pay this impairment rating if it is from their doctor.
If you have suffered a work-related knee injury, or feel that your work is making your knee pain work, notify your employer and ask to go to medical treatment. If you have questions about your knee injury or if your workers compensation claim is being denied, contact Platt Law Firm at 515-278-1522 or [email protected]. We offer a free consultation during which we will advise clients on how they should approach their knee injury claim.