Trauma to the knee and ankle are some of the most frequently reported workplace injuries. Slip and fall accidents, lifting and carrying heavy loads, impact with hard surfaces, overextension, twisting and abnormal movements, and repetitive motions can all lead to a lower extremity injury that renders an employee seriously hurt and unable to work.
Though an ankle or knee injury can cause considerable discomfort, there is a silver lining. Employees can file for workers’ compensation benefits that will cover any related doctor visits, surgeries, and therapies, as well as lost wages. At the Law Office of Gerald Brody & Associates, our primary goal is to make sure an injured employee receives maximum benefits in his or her knee injury workers’ comp settlement. Here’s a brief overview of how the process works.
Ankle and knee injuries are covered by workers’ comp
If you suffer a knee injury at work, you are protected by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. This means any medical treatment you need to heal from your injury, including doctor appointments, surgery, and/or physical therapy, will be paid for. Workers’ comp also covers out-of-pocket expenses like co-pays, medication, and adaptive equipment. If your ankle or knee injury is severe enough that you need to take time off work, you’ll receive compensation equal to about two-thirds your normal wages while you’re off the job.
How does workers’ comp work with a knee or ankle injury?
Before you can start collecting workers’ compensation benefits, you need to notify your employer of your knee or ankle injury. The process begins when you and your employer fill out and submit a DWC-1 form, which will detail the time, date, and cause of your injury.
Next, your employer will provide you with a doctor from its medical provider network (MPN). This physician must adhere to specific guidelines when evaluating, diagnosing, and treating your work-related condition. If you are unhappy with the doctor you are assigned, you can request a second opinion from another physician in the network. You may be referred to a specialist, like an orthopedist or chiropractor, within the medical provider network for treatment specific to your ankle or knee injury.
When do I start receiving workers' compensation benefits?
Medical benefits related to your ankle or knee injury go into effect immediately after you file a workers’ compensation claim. Once your claim has been formally accepted and your doctor has completed a form certifying your inability to work, additional benefits will be calculated and you’ll begin receiving disability payments.
Your treating physician will determine when you’ve reached maximum medical improvement, which means recovery for your ankle or knee injury has hit a plateau. At this time you’ll receive a DWC-8 form, completed by your doctor, that specifies what type of tasks you can do when you return to work. Depending on your disability status, you may be able to resume your former job duties, or you might be assigned to a new position that accommodates your limitations.
Have you suffered a knee injury at work in San Diego?
Ankle and knee injuries are common in occupations that require lifting and carrying heavy loads, and where walking around slippery surfaces and tripping hazards is part of the job. At the Law Office of Gerald Brody & Associates, we help hundreds of workers with ankle and knee injuries navigate the complex workers’ compensation system and collect the benefits they need to recover. Call us today at (619) 528-9800 to schedule your free consultation. As your attorneys, we’ll do everything in our power to ensure a successful ankle or knee injury workers’ comp settlement.