A workers’ comp lawyer serving New Jersey explains how the system works
Workers’ compensation benefits can be a lifeline after sustaining a serious injury on the job. This is especially true if you’re suffering from a torn meniscus sustained at work. Your injured knee is likely in a lot of pain. You’re probably having trouble walking or perhaps even performing your job. You need medical attention and time to rest and recover.
Knee injuries, including torn meniscus injuries, are especially common at work. More than 9 percent of all workers’ compensation claims nationwide involve some type of knee injury, making them the third most common type of work-related injury, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The financial toll of a knee injury can be staggering as well. On average, the financial impact of a knee injury can add up to thousands of dollars, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). Workers suffering from knee injuries sustained on the job also often need to miss 19 days of work on average, according to the NSC.
But is your torn meniscus injury covered by workers’ compensation? This is a question people often ask after sustaining such a serious knee injury at work. The answer might seem simple and straightforward. But like many workers’ comp claims, such cases can quickly become very complicated. That’s why it’s important to understand how the workers’ compensation system works and whether you’re eligible for benefits after your injury.
What is a torn meniscus?
The meniscus is a piece of cartilage located inside the knee that acts as a cushion and shock absorber between two bones that meet at the knee. The two bones are the femur (the thigh bone) and the tibia (lower leg bone).
Each knee contains two menisci. The menisci located on the outside of the knee is called the lateral meniscus, while the menisci located on the inside of the knee is called the medial meniscus.
The meniscus is often torn when the upper part of the leg twists and the lower part of the leg remains firmly in place. You’ll know almost immediately that you have torn your meniscus. Symptoms of a torn meniscus include:
- Extreme knee pain
- Difficulty walking
- Swelling of the knee
- Difficulty bending or extending your knee
If something doesn’t feel right, stop working right away and seek immediate medical attention. Doctors often diagnose a torn meniscus by taking an X-Ray or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan of your knee. Don’t try to diagnose yourself. Have a medical professional examine your knee.
Suffering a knee injury at work
Torn meniscus injuries happen for many of the same reasons that other knee injuries occur on the job. Often, such injuries occur due to a single, violent event, such as stopping suddenly or pivoting your knee too quickly. Lifting a heavy object can also cause you to tear your meniscus or injure your knee in other ways.
Other times, work-related knee injuries occur over time due to overuse. Either way, it’s important to take your knee injury seriously right from the start. Tell your supervisor at work you tore your meniscus or injured your knee in some other way. You can tell your supervisor verbally or in writing. Many times, people choose to tell their employer in writing about their injury so there’s an official written record.
The first call you should make after notifying your supervisor about your knee injury is to an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer at Shebell & Shebell. Our attorneys can answer your questions and explain the options available to you, including whether you’re eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, and what benefits you are eligible for.
Is your torn meniscus covered?
The rules are clear in New Jersey. If you sustained your torn meniscus injury on the job, you should be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. This is especially true if your injury is severe enough that you cannot perform your job because you are in extreme pain.
You will most likely be eligible to receive three types of workers’ compensation benefits. The first two are medical benefits and temporary disability payments. Medical benefits include payment by the workers' compensation insurance carrier for all your medical expenses related to treating your knee injury, which means you will have no out-of-pocket copays or deductibles.
Temporary disability benefits are payments made to you by the worker's compensation insurance company for the time you have missed from work due to a compensable worker's compensation accident. These rates are typically set by statute and are usually capped at 70% of your gross weekly wages up to the State Maximum, which was set by the legislature to be $969 per week for qualifying workers.
The third benefit comes after treatment is completed. This last benefit is a settlement payment based upon any percentage of disability you have suffered to a particular body part as a result of the compensable accident. All three of these benefits come with various legal issues that one of our experienced attorneys can guide you through.
All of this might seem straightforward. But in order to receive workers’ compensation, your employer (and your employer’s insurance company) must approve your workers’ comp claim. Many times, legitimate claims are denied for many different reasons. In the case of torn meniscus injuries, one of the most common reasons why such claims are denied is because your employer’s insurance company insists that your injury did not take place at work. This is why it’s important to have an experienced workers’ compensation attorney representing you after you injure your knee.
A workers' comp attorney can guide you through the process
Workers’ compensation claims involving torn meniscus injuries can quickly become complex legal cases. Often, it’s because your employer’s insurance company insists that your injury occurred outside of work or that your knee injury is a pre-existing medical condition. You know the truth. You got hurt on the job. Now, you simply want the support you need and deserve to fully recover.
At Shebell & Shebell, LLC in New Jersey, our attorneys can help you every step of the way. We understand how the workers’ compensation system works in New Jersey. That’s because we have years of experience investigating and handling complex claims throughout the state. When you have our law firm on your side, you can demand the money you deserve and the time you need to rest and recover.
Learn more about how our law firm can help you. Contact us and schedule a free case evaluation with a workers’ compensation lawyer who puts your best interests first. We have three offices conveniently located in Shrewsbury, Freehold, and Newark, and we handle workers’ compensation claims throughout New Jersey.