What Is The Average Workers’ Comp Settlement For A Knee Injury In VA?
We rely greatly on our knees and because these body joints are so heavily used, they are also prone to injuries. Often, a knee injury occurs due to work activities such as lifting heavy objects, climbing up and down stairs, and falling. It can happen whether you are a construction worker, athlete, entertainer, office employee, restaurant server, factory worker, driver, nurse, teacher, or any other kind of worker.
When the knee sustains even a minor injury, it not only prevents us from performing our work, it also means medical bills that quickly pile up. This is why it’s only right that if your knee was injured because of your job, the law allows you to claim workers’ compensation for it.
How much workers’ compensation settlement can you expect for a knee injury in Virginia? There is no set answer to this because workers’ comp settlements depend on various factors that are unique to each case. But to give you an idea of the fair value of your injury, we can look at some average costs associated with knee injuries, and how you can calculate your workers’ comp benefits.
Types And Costs Of Knee Injuries
The price of knee injuries vary according to their severity and the kind of treatment they need. Knee strains and sprains typically heal with rest and over-the-counter medications, but unfortunately, many other knee injuries require much more. Here are some examples:
Ligament Tears (Torn ACL/MCL/PCL)
There are various connective tissues, called ligaments, that control knee movements and stability. Three of these are the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), medial collateral ligament (MCL), and posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). When any of these tissues is torn or damaged, you may likely experience a painful swelling, some buckling of your knee, limited knee movement, and even a popping sound.
ACL tears and other torn-ligament injuries are common, and majority of them require surgery. In the U.S., an average ACL repair surgery costs about $9,276. In addition, the injury may take as long as six months to recover, affecting your productivity.
In the knee, there are pieces of cartilage called the menisci (singular: meniscus) that act as cushions, preventing bones from rubbing together and absorbing pressure on the joint. An awkward twist of the knee is enough to tear a meniscus, especially if it has worn thin with age. Symptoms of a torn meniscus include a popping sensation, pain, knee stiffness or locking, swelling, and limited knee motions.
A small meniscal may heal with just rest, ice, compression, and leg elevation. But in many cases, doctors recommend surgical procedures like arthroscopy, meniscectomy (meniscus removal), and meniscus repair. Arthroscopy, for instance, costs from $7,400 to $9,000.
Broken Kneecap (Patellar Fracture)
Knee fractures typically require a cast or a splint, costing about $2,500. But be prepared to spend more than this as severe fractures may need surgery.
Once you have had a knee injury, osteoarthritis may occur in that knee. It is possible to claim workers’ compensation for this.
Severe cases of osteoarthritis may require a knee replacement operation, which doesn’t come cheap. In the US, a total knee replacement surgery costs between $49,500 to $57,000. A partial knee replacement costs about 10 to 20 percent less.
Other common knee injuries that could be work-related are bursitis, tendonitis, dislocations, and leg amputation due to accidents.
On top of the steep medical expenses, you may also have to miss work, which means you lose some income. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that on average, workplace knee injuries force employees to take 16 days off work – that’s more than two weeks of being unable to earn.
Medical expenses and lost earnings are examples of what is called economic losses. They are quantifiable and have a monetary amount.
Consult with a reliable attorney to fully evaluate your damages due to your work related accident. Your lawyer can advise you on every potential loss that should be covered and the maximum amount you can expect for them.
How Workers’ Comp Is Computed In Virginia
In general, Virginia workers’ compensation is a weekly payment equal to 66.67 percent of your average weekly wages. The maximum compensation is 500 weeks, except in extreme cases.
Apart from your medical bills and other related expenses, your workers’ compensation should also cover your lost wages. A primary factor in calculating this is how much your injury has disabled you. Here are basic guidelines:
- Temporary partial disability. This means you are able to work but can only earn less than normal because of your injury. Your benefits should be two-thirds of the difference between your earnings before injury and your earnings after injury. For example, if you were earning $800 before injury, then $500 after injury. The difference is $300, and two-thirds of that is $200 – that’s your benefits rate.
You may receive your benefits until you’re able to earn your normal wages again, or you reach your maximum medical improvement, or you reach the 500-week cap.
- Temporary total disability. This means you miss more than seven days of work due to your injury. Your benefits should be two-thirds of your average weekly earnings until you reach the benefit cap.
- Permanent partial disability. This typically means you have lost the use of a certain body part such as a hand or an arm. Compensation for this is also two-thirds of your average weekly wages, but the number of weeks is predetermined by the Virginia Guide for Permanent Loss.
- Permanent total disability. This means that your injury permanently prevents you from working. Examples are total paralysis and severe brain injury. For this, you may be entitled to receive your temporary total rate every week for life.
As you can see, determining your maximum workers’ comp settlement can be exacting and confusing. In addition, you need to anticipate the methods that employers and insurers may use to reduce your case value. The best way to fight for your rightful compensation is by getting the help of a workers’ comp lawyer who is not only skilled but dedicated to helping real people instead of companies.
Contact Slominski Law
Based in Lynchburg, VA, Slominski Law is dedicated to helping Virginians receive the benefits they are entitled for their injuries. Let’s talk about your work-related knee injury. Your initial consultation with us is completely free. Call us today at (434) 384-9400 or reach us through our online contact form Slominskilaw.com.