Knee injuries are incredibly common for workers. It can happen from something as dramatic as falling hard on your knee to the simple act of climbing stairs. However, once you experience the pain of a knee injury, it isn’t something you can just walk off. While there are a number of different ligaments that you can injure, but far and wide the most workplace knee injuries occur in the meniscus cartilage.
What are Meniscus Tears?
As the most common knee injury, you would be right to suspect that a meniscus tear occurs in a commonly used area of the knee. The term meniscus tear is used to describe a tear in the cartilage in the knee joint. The meniscus is a disc that cushions the knee joint and is responsible for the balance of the knee and apportioning the weight put on it. Damage to either meniscus disc on either knee is excessively painful and often results in temporary loss of use of your leg, meaning you probably won’t be able to work until it is fully healed.
Causes of Meniscus Tears
In many cases, people experience traumatic tears in the meniscus due to the process of aging. As you age, the cartilage breaks down and it makes knees and other limbs more susceptible to tears. However, you don’t need to be older to experience this injury. Other common ways to injure this part of the knee is standing in a bent-knee position, turning quickly, or twisting on planted feet. As you can imagine, acts like heavy lifting and unloading trucks are common causes for this knee injury while at work.
If you do suffer a meniscus tear, typically there are three degrees of injury – minor, moderate, or severe. Minor injuries can heal up in two to three weeks, but even then you will likely still need worker’s compensation for your medical bills and lost wages. However, if the injury is of an advanced nature it can cause reoccurring pain even after the healing period or, in the most severe cases, disability to the knee and thus the leg.
Compensation for Meniscus Tears
After your doctor has diagnosed the severity of the meniscus tear, treatment can either be easy or difficult depending on the extent of the injury. Treatment can range from resting the leg and icing it all the way to surgery and physical therapy. In the most severe cases, a total knee replacement surgery may be needed. Depending on the extent of the injury, workers may need permanent disability and may even need to change jobs to something less strenuous on the knee.
Regardless on if the meniscus tear was severe or minor, if it happened at work, you are entitled to compensation. Even if the injury happened in part because of a pre-existing knee condition, a torn meniscus can still receive compensation.
As a meniscus tear is so easy to diagnose, the filing process for worker’s compensation should be fairly straight-forward. You are entitled to loss of wages and disability benefits for the amount of time you need to heal. As employers can’t fire you for a work injury, there is no need to worry for your job. However, your employer is entitled to offer you a different position that accommodates your injury. If the new position features significantly less pay, you can fight it as well.
If you are an injured worker in the Mankato area who has suffered a meniscus tear or any other work-related injury, contact us today. While often work injuries seem clear-cut, we at the Law Office of Harvey & Carpenter know all too well how the worker’s compensation system can try to fight back in order to save a few dollars.