Determining the compensation for a knee injury at work can be a complex process because it depends on various factors including the severity of the injury, the circumstances surrounding the incident, and the laws and regulations in your state or region. If you have suffered a knee injury on the job, it is important that you understand the key factors that influence the amount of compensation you may be able to receive, and what that process to seek compensation for your losses may entail.
Average Workers' Compensation Knee Injury Settlements
While each case is unique with its specific facts and circumstances, there are some numbers available that show us estimated or average settlements that injured workers may receive after a knee injury at work. According to data from the National Safety Council (NSC), which are based on workers' comp claims filed nationally in 2019 and 2020, mild knee injuries such as contusions, bursitis or tendonitis resulted in settlement amounts estimated between $1,000 and $21,748.
Moderate to severe knee injuries such as fractures, minor tears, sprains and strains resulted in estimated settlement amounts between $21,748 and $32,622. Extremely severe injuries such as torn ligaments, amputations, etc. resulted in much larger settlements, the NSC reported.
How Common is a Knee Injury at Work?
Knee injuries account for about one in eight of all work injuries in the United States. Knee injuries are particularly common in jobs such as:
Construction: Construction workers often perform physically demanding tasks, including lifting heavy materials, bending, squatting, and working on uneven surfaces. They are at risk of knee injuries due to these activities and the use of heavy equipment.
Manufacturing: In manufacturing settings, employees may be required to stand for long periods, operate heavy machinery, or repeatedly bend and kneel. These actions can lead to overuse injuries and acute knee trauma.
Healthcare: Healthcare professionals, including nurses and orderlies, frequently engage in activities that involve lifting and moving patients, bending, and standing for extended shifts. These actions can put strain on the knees and increase the risk of injuries.
Agriculture: Agricultural workers may kneel or squat while tending to crops or animals. The use of heavy equipment and machinery in farming can also contribute to knee injuries.
Warehousing and logistics: Workers in warehouses often engage in lifting and carrying heavy loads as well as operating equipment such as forklifts that can cause serious injury. The risk of knee injuries can be higher in such environments.
Transportation: Occupations that involve driving, like truck drivers, may experience knee injuries due to prolonged periods of sitting. Loading and unloading cargo can also put added stress on the knees.
What Are the Workers' Comp Benefits for Knee Injuries at Work?
Under California's Workers' Compensation Act, employees who suffer injuries on the job have some degree of protection after such a traumatic event. They are able to seek compensation through workers' comp insurance for damages such as medical expenses and lost wages. Here are some of the benefits available for injured workers:
- Payment of all medical bills incurred as a result of the knee injury at work
- Payment of a portion of the worker's lost wages
- Temporary disability benefits if you lose wages because your injury prevents you from doing your usual job as you recover
- Permanent disability benefits, which includes payments if you do not recover fully from your injury
- Supplemental job displacement benefits or vouchers that help pay for retraining or skill enhancement if you do not recover fully and don't return to work for your employer
It is important to note that workers' comp benefits do not include damages for pain and suffering. They also don't include punitive damages.
Workers' Compensation vs. Personal Injury Lawsuits (Third Party Claims)
It is important to note the distinction between filing a workers' compensation claim and pursuing a personal injury lawsuit. Workers' compensation is a no-fault system in which you can receive benefits for a workplace injury regardless of who is at fault. However, this usually means you cannot sue your employer for additional damages in most cases.
On the other hand, if a third party -- such as a subcontractor or manufacturer -- is responsible for your knee injury, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against them. These lawsuits can potentially result in substantially greater compensation, including monetary damages for pain and suffering. However, in such cases, plaintiffs must prove that the defendant's negligence caused the knee injury.
What Factors Impact Compensation for Knee Injury at Work?
There are a number of factors that may affect the compensation you receive for your workplace knee injury:
Type and severity of the injury: The first and most critical factor in determining compensation is the type and severity of the knee injury. Some common knee injuries include sprains, strains, torn ligaments, dislocations, and fractures. The severity can range from minor discomfort to total disability. The more severe your injury, the greater the compensation or injury settlement is likely to be.
Medical expenses: The costs associated with medical treatment for the knee injury play a significant role in determining compensation. This includes expenses for doctor visits, surgery, hospitalization, physical therapy, medication, and any necessary medical equipment such as crutches or braces.
Lost wages: Compensation may also cover any income you lost due to the knee injury. If you are unable to work temporarily or permanently, the amount of lost wages will be considered. This can vary depending on your occupation, salary, and the extent of your disability.
Rehabilitation costs: Rehabilitation and physical therapy are often necessary for knee injuries. The cost of these services may be factored into the compensation amount.
Pain and suffering: Pain and suffering damages are subjective and can be challenging to quantify. These damages are intended to compensate for the physical and emotional distress caused by the injury. The severity of the pain, emotional trauma, and long-term effects on your life will be considered.
Permanent disability: If your knee injury results in a permanent disability that affects your ability to work or engage in daily activities, you may be entitled to compensation for your diminished quality of life.
Future medical expenses: If your knee injury requires ongoing medical treatment, such as regular check-ups, medication, or additional surgeries, these future medical expenses will be considered when determining compensation.
Quality Legal Representation Can Make All the Difference
Having an experienced work injury lawyer on your side can significantly impact the compensation you receive. A knowledgeable lawyer can help you navigate the legal process, negotiate on your behalf, and ensure that you receive fair and full compensation. If you have suffered a knee injury on the job, the experienced work injury lawyers at Greenberg and Ruby Injury Attorneys, APC can assist you. Call us today to schedule your free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation.