Individuals rely on their knees more than they think. As the largest and most complex joint in the body, the knee is what allows us to move in many different ways, whether standing, walking or lifting.
This heavy reliance on the knee is also why suffering a knee injury on the job can quickly put workers out of commission. If a knee injury keeps them out of work, the first worry on anyone’s mind is the effect on their income and will medical care be covered.
Are knee injuries covered under workers’ compensation?
Yes, workers who suffer a knee injury on the job are entitled to collect workers’ compensation (Maryland Code, Labor & Employment §9-501). As with all workers’ compensation cases, workers must be able to connect the injury to their work. It must arise out of their employment duties.
Some knee injuries happen very suddenly, and workers can easily trace them back to a single incident. Other injuries might be the result of repetitive motion and stress on the joints, which, in some cases, can make it harder to trace back to one’s work.
What are common occupational knee injuries?
To understand the potential challenges of connecting one’s knee injury to work, here is a brief look at a few common examples of knee injuries:
- Dislocation: A worker might suffer a knee dislocation from a fall to a lower level or from lifting heavy objects incorrectly. It takes time and rest to heal from a dislocation, but it is often easy to determine what caused the injury at work.
- Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injuries: This is another common injury, though it often requires more treatment than a dislocation. Even so, a torn ACL often stems from a sudden stop, such as a fall or a pivot on one leg. These injuries leave lasting damage, but workers can often connect the injury to a single incident on the job.
- Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis in the knee can significantly impact one’s ability to move and stand – and even continue working. In extreme cases, individuals often must obtain a total knee replacement to regain movement. Arthritis is a disease linked to aging, but certain repetitive movements related to work activities or a single impact can aggravate and speed up the disease. Even so, if there is enough evidence that one’s duties at work aggravated or caused the osteoarthritis, workers can collect workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers in many fields, from construction workers to cleaning service workers, face a high risk of suffering a wide range of knee injuries. In these cases, it is often in a worker’s best interest to consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to guide them through the process of recovering compensation and protecting their rights.