Knee injuries aren’t just a pain—they can seriously impair your ability to work. Workers who injure their knees may have difficulty performing their job duties because knee pain can impact almost every aspect of work, including standing, walking and even sitting.
Fortunately, most Alabama workers who sustain a knee injury at work are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for lost wages and medical expenses while they heal from their injuries.
Types of work-related knee injuries
Several bones, ligaments and tendons comprise the knee. Therefore, a knee injury can affect different components of the joint. Common injuries include:
- Bone and kneecap fractures
- Ligament, tendon and meniscus sprains, strains and tears
- Inflammation leading to bursitis or tendonitis
Workers who notice knee pain while on the job should notify a manager immediately. If left untreated, simple knee pain can become a serious medical condition that affects the worker’s overall quality of life.
Causes of occupational knee injuries
A knee injury can affect virtually any worker as there are a variety of ways knee injuries can occur, including:
- Standing for long periods without a break
- Frequent walking, running or climbing
- Getting hit by a moving or falling object
- Vehicle and forklift accidents
Jobs with the highest rates of knee injuries
Workers in some jobs are at a higher risk of experiencing an occupational injury to their knees than others. Workplace accidents that lead to knee injuries are more commonly reported among the following types of workers:
Workers’ compensation in Alabama
In Alabama, most businesses that employ full- or part-time employees are required to provide worker’s compensation coverage to injured workers. As a no-fault system, workers’ comp pays benefits without regard to whether an injured worker was at fault in the workplace accident that caused the injury.
Employees may receive workers’ comp for injuries and illnesses that occur as a result of long-term strain on their knee joints as well as for injuries caused by sudden accidents.
Eligibility for Alabama workers’ comp benefits
Nearly all Alabama employers with 5 or more full- or part-time employees are required to have workers’ comp coverage. However, state law exempts the following employers from carrying workers’ comp coverage:
- Employers in the business of constructing single-family, detached residential dwellings
- Employers of domestic workers
- Employers of farm laborers
- Employers of casual workers who are not part of the employer’s regular business
If you’ve been hurt on the job and are unsure about your eligibility for workers’ comp, an Alabama workers’ comp attorney can help you determine whether you can file a workers’ comp claim. Workers who are ineligible for workers’ comp and employees whose employers are not required to carry coverage may have other legal options.
Types of workers’ comp benefits
Alabama’s workers’ comp benefits are generally divided into 3 categories. Injured workers who are eligible may receive the following benefits:
- Reasonable and necessary medical care, including doctor visits, prescriptions, hospital bills, surgeries, rehabilitation and medical transportation.
- Wage loss benefits to supplement an injured worker’s income if the injury requires time away from work. This amount is typically two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wages for a period of time that varies depending on their disability.
- Death benefits for an injured worker’s surviving dependents if the worker is fatally injured by a work-related accident or illness.
Filing a workers’ comp claim in Alabama
The workers’ comp claims process was designed to be accessible to injured workers. Nevertheless, it’s always a good idea to consult an experienced Alabama workers’ comp attorney as early as possible, ideally before beginning the process of filing a workers’ comp disability claim.
In the event of a workplace accident, workers who believe they may be injured should do the following:
- Immediately seek medical attention. This will prevent your injury from getting worse and provide medical documentation linking it to your job.
- Report the accident to your manager or supervisor in writing within 5 days of becoming aware of the injury. If you fail to notify your employer within a maximum of 90 days, you will be ineligible to receive any workers’ compensation benefits.
- Check to make sure your employer files a First Report of Injury form. This will begin the workers’ comp claim process.
- Contact an attorney. If your employer refuses to report the injury or they deny your claim, you should get legal representation from a workers’ comp attorney who can implement additional strategies to pursue compensation on your behalf.
Preventing knee injuries on the job
Employers and employees can work together to reduce the rate of knee injuries sustained in the workplace.
- Providing the proper safety equipment and training workers on best practices to avoid injury will empower workers to keep themselves safe while working.
- Employees should take breaks as needed and be mindful of signs that may indicate strain on the knee joints.
- Managers should supervise workers to ensure they understand and follow safety protocols.
Contact an Alabama workers’ compensation attorney
Workers’ compensation claims involving knee injuries can be complicated. Employers and their insurers are more likely to deny these types of claims if the injury resulted from long-term repetitive wear-and-tear rather than a one-time accident.
An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can gather medical evidence to support your claim and negotiate with your employer and their insurance company to ensure you get maximum compensation for your injury.
If you’re a worker in the Birmingham area who’s suffered a work-related knee injury, contact our Birmingham work injury attorney at Nomberg Law Firm. Our attorneys have extensive experience fighting for injured Alabama workers to get them the money they deserve. Let us handle the negotiations with your employer and their insurer so you can focus on healing.
About Nomberg Law Firm
Nomberg Law Firm has been helping people in Alabama recover fair compensation for their injuries since 1967. We know our clients are hard-working men and women who deserve the best representation possible. That’s why we’ve dedicated our entire practice to fighting for your rights after an injury.
The small size of our family-owned firm allows us to focus on our client’s needs and enables us to provide individualized assistance and personal attention that larger firms simply can’t match.