In North Carolina, state laws require most employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. When a full-time worker, part-time worker, or seasonal worker suffers a knee injury, workers’ compensation provides financial benefits while the injury is healing. Workers’ compensation, which is also called “workers’ comp” or “WC,” can help to replace the disabled employee’s lost wages while additionally covering part of the employee’s medical expenses. In this way, workers’ comp provides a safety net for employees who suffer disabling injuries while performing their job duties, regardless of whether the accident occurs on or off the physical work site.
Unfortunately, employers and insurance companies frequently deny employees’ claims, even when the injuries are serious. An experienced Charlotte workers’ comp attorney can increase your odds of getting approved for benefits by helping you file a claim, challenging the reasons your claim was denied, or challenging the reasons your employer is trying to reduce or cut off your current benefits. At the Ramsay Law Firm, our skilled legal team is led by Martha Ramsay, a respected attorney and Board Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist, enabling our team to provide aggressive, hard-hitting, experience-driven representation that protects your rights under the law.
Help is only a phone call away if you or a loved one was injured at work in North Carolina. For a free legal consultation concerning a work-related knee injury in Charlotte or its surrounding suburbs, contact the Ramsay Law Firm online, or call us today at (704) 376-1616.
Common Knee Injuries in the Workplace
There are countless reasons an accidental work-related knee injury can occur. For example, a worker could seriously injure themselves by accidentally falling at work, such as falling in a slippery parking lot while entering or exiting an office building, falling from a high beam or walkway on a construction site, or having a slip and fall accident caused by debris, loose cables, spilled liquids, or other hazards. Other work-related causes of knee injuries include:
- Assault by customers, coworkers, patients, or other visitors to the workplace
- Being burned or scalded in the knee area
- Being struck by, or caught between, heavy or falling objects
- Car accidents and other automotive accidents, which can injure pedestrians or vehicle occupants
- Overexertion (excessive physical strain)
- Repetitive motion of the knee joint
- Using dangerous and defective equipment or machinery
Regardless of what causes a knee injury, the financial and medical impacts can be devastating. Not only are knee injuries frequently expensive to treat, often requiring surgery or medical implants, they may also require the victim to avoid bending or putting weight on the damaged joint. Therefore, if the worker’s job requires standing, kneeling, crouching, crawling, sitting, twisting/rotating, driving, operating a forklift, or lifting, a knee injury can make working impossible. This leaves the victim unable to earn income while he or she is trying to manage costly medical bills. Workers’ compensation seeks to bridge this gap by replacing partial wages and compensating reasonable treatment while the worker is in recovery.
A variety of knee injuries can occur in the workplace, or in the course of a worker’s off-site job duties. Some common examples include:
- Burn injuries to the knee region
- Broken kneecaps (patellar fractures)
- Dislocated kneecaps (dislocated patella)
- Inflammation injuries caused by overuse, such as bursitis or tendonitis (also spelled “tendinitis”)
- Leg bone fractures that damage or stress the knee, such as a broken fibula or broken tibia
- Ligament tears, such as a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament)
- Puncture wounds, cuts, and lacerations located on or near the knee or back of the knee
- Torn meniscus injuries that damage cartilage
- Work-related aggravation of preexisting knee injuries from the past
How Much Workers’ Compensation Can You Get for an Injured Knee?
The workers’ compensation system is designed to provide financial support to employees who suffer disabling workplace injuries. Most employers in North Carolina are required to provide workers’ compensation, though some narrow exceptions apply. For example, businesses with under three employees are not required to comply with North Carolina’s workers’ compensation laws. Otherwise, benefits are available to the majority of employees who work on a seasonal, part-time, or full-time basis.
Unlike a traditional personal injury claim, a workers’ compensation claim does not require the victim to establish fault or negligence in order to recover compensation. It does not matter who was at fault for the claimant’s knee injury, as long as (1) the injury was related to the employee’s job, (2) the injury was not intentionally self-inflicted, and (3) the injury was not caused by the employee’s own intoxication. It is also important for the victim to report the injury to the employer, both verbally and in writing, no more than 30 days after the accident. Failure to abide by these time constraints can result in the denial of benefits, so it is crucial to report a job-related injury as soon as possible.
In North Carolina, benefits are capped at roughly 66.66% of the worker’s average weekly wage before the accident. For example, if the worker was earning $675 per week prior to being injured, his or her maximum weekly benefit would be approximately $450. The duration for which benefits are awarded depends on the severity of the injury, the worker’s ability to return to work, and the knee injury’s effects upon the worker’s earning capacity.
To discuss a potential workers’ comp claim with an experienced workplace knee injury lawyer, contact the Ramsay Law Firm online, or call us today at (704) 376-1616.
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