Are Total Knee Replacements Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
Suffering an injury while working can be a frustrating experience, especially if you sustain a serious knee injury. A knee injury means you may not be able to walk correctly or even bend down to pick up objects. Depending on the type of job you have, these injuries could make it difficult or practically impossible to complete the required tasks at work. If you or a loved one has suffered a serious knee injury at work, you should consider speaking with an experienced Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer. The lawyers at the Ramsay Law Firm are here to discuss Workers’ Compensation rights when an individual needs a total knee replacement. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.
Types of Knee Injuries That Could Require a Total Knee Replacement
Knee injuries that require a total knee replacement will almost certainly keep you from working. There a few kinds of knee injuries that are serious enough to require knee surgery, like an ACL tear, post-traumatic arthritis, or an aggravated meniscus tear.
The anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is one of four important ligaments in the knee. The ACL’s primary purpose is to maintain knee stability; it is a part of a complex bundle of tendons and ligaments that support and stabilize the knee. ACL tears often occur when a person stops suddenly and changes direction, the sudden twisting movement causes the ligament to tear. An ACL tear can also occur when a person suffers a sudden impact to their knee.
It is possible that some ACL tears can be treated with physical therapy alone. However, since an ACL cannot be repaired or reattached once it is torn, surgical reconstruction is usually required to fix their knee. The ACL is reconstructed by utilizing a graft of replacement tissue from the patient’s own hamstring or patellar tendon. A person who suffers an ACL tear could be looking at a four to nine-month recovery time before they can return to work.
Post-traumatic arthritis (PTA) is the wearing away of cartilage in a joint. This injury can occur in a knee joint and cause joint instability, deformity, and pain or tenderness in the joint. PTA can occur over time or by suffering trauma to a joint. There are several treatments for PTA, but if these treatments are ineffective surgery will likely become an option. Surgery for a PTA can include reconstructing or replacing the worn-out areas of the affected joint.
A meniscus tear is one of the most common cartilage injuries of the knee. The meniscus is a section of cartilage in your knee that cushions and stabilizes the joint. The meniscus is also responsible for protecting your bones from everyday wear and tear. Like an ACL tear, a meniscus tear can occur when a person suddenly stops and changes direction. A meniscus tear can cause a variety of symptoms, like pain in your knee, being unable to bend or straighten the leg, a tendency for your knee to lock up randomly, and excessive swelling.
If you suffer a Grade 3 meniscus tear, your doctor will likely suggest a surgical procedure to restore functions to your knee. The surgeries can either remove part or all of your meniscus or reconstruct your meniscus. Recovering from a meniscus tear can take up to 3 months or possibly longer, depending on the severity of the injury.
Will My Employer Pay for My Knee Replacement?
The North Carolina Industrial Commission handles the administration of the Workers’ Compensation Act in NC. Worker’s Compensation is a form of insurance, retained by employers, that provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees who are injured in the course of their employment.
The amount of money an employer or the employer’s insurance company will pay for a claim involving a total knee replacement is difficult to determine. Complete knee replacements can cost up to $80,000 or more. The Industrial Commission sets the amount via the Medical Fee Schedule. A variety of factors go into determining the value of workers’ compensation payment for a knee replacement, such as:
- The severity of the injury determined by medical professional
- The ability of the injured worker to find other gainful employment
- The injured worker’s previous job duties prior to being injured
These are just some factors that will likely determine how much money you can receive from an employer for a total knee replacement. If you have an extensive history of knee injuries, it is possible that an employer will oppose paying the cost of a full knee replacement.
North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorneys are Here to Fight for You
If you or a loved one has suffered a severe knee injury at the workplace and you are concerned if your employer will compensate you for the injury, you should speak with an attorney today. The Charlotte injury law firm will handle your injury case with the dedication and attentiveness needed to secure the compensation you deserve. The Ramsay Law Firm is offering free consultations for Workers’ Compensation cases, call us today at (704) 376-1616.