ACL Tear Workers Compensation

Damage to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the most commonly reported injuries to the knee. Sometimes referred to as a sprain, this is a painful injury that often requires surgery to correct. If you are suffering from knee pain due to an accident at work, the cause could be an ACL tear.


Accidents are not the only work-related cause of an ACL tear. Missouri workers, such as plumbers or carpet layers, could also experience trauma to the knee and a sprain from the constant pressure applied as they work. Your workers’ compensation benefits also cover these types of overuse injuries. If you have questions about how to go about filing a claim for an ACL tear, schedule a meeting with James M. Hoffmann. Our practice has dealt with hundreds of cases involving this type of injury, and we can be counted on to help you receive the treatment and benefits you are entitled to.

Knee Injuries in the Workplace

Your knee carries the entire weight of your body and is considered the most complex joint. Without it, you would lose the ability for your leg to bend, swivel or straighten, making it extremely difficult to walk. Because it is so complex and made up of several components, it is especially vulnerable to workplace injuries.

A trauma from twisting the wrong way, falling, or being struck in the knee could all lead to an ACL tear. Lifting heavy items repeatedly, stooping, and performing work duties on all fours could also cause a tear to develop over time. In most cases where an ACL tear is detected, there will be additional damage to other components of the knee. Since you are reliant on the knee for every step you take, a painful ACL tear will make it extremely difficult to continue work without medical intervention. This will often include surgery to repair the tear and restore mobility.

Diagnosing an ACL Tear

A sudden ACL tear from trauma is often recognized as a sudden pop in the knee followed by excruciating pain. This occurs when the injury is caused by quickly twisting the knee or extending the leg after a prolonged squatting position. To diagnose an ACL tear, a doctor will first visually examine the knee for signs of bruising, swelling, or a deformity. Due to the complexity of the joint, stability will be checked for each of the four ligaments that help make up the knee. Unfortunately, this can be a painful process to go through.

If further testing is needed, an MRI is typically ordered to look for signs of injury to the ligaments. This also helps in deciding what the best course of treatment should be. Depending on your overall health and the extent of the injury, either rehabilitative therapy or surgery will be recommended.

Surgical Repair of an ACL Tear

Because of its location, an ACL tear can usually be surgically repaired non-invasively. This procedure requires a small incision for the surgeon to reconstruct the torn ligament using arthroscopic surgery. Recovery for this operation can take anywhere from six to nine months, with rehabilitative physical therapy to help ease the knee back into full functionality.

What Will the Workers Compensation Benefits Cover for Surgical Repair of an ACL Tear?

Surgery is often recommended as a last resort, only after other therapies have been tried to no avail. Still, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance will be required to cover the treatment cost and, if necessary, the surgery. In addition, you may be able to receive a percentage of your lost wages as you recover from the procedure.

James Hoffmann has practiced workers’ compensation law for over 25 years. We have represented clients who have suffered all types of work-related injuries and have a strong history of helping injured workers get medical attention and financial compensation that they need.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does an ACL tear feel like?

An ACL tear might feel like a sudden, sharp pain in the knee, often accompanied by a loud popping sound. Swelling typically occurs within a few hours of the injury. If you experience these symptoms at work, it’s crucial to report the injury to your employer as soon as possible, as timely reporting is a key step in the Missouri workers’ compensation process.

How long does an ACL tear take to heal without surgery?

Healing times can vary, but without surgical intervention, it might take several months for the knee to regain full strength and stability. Recovery timelines can affect your workers’ compensation claim in Missouri, as the duration of medical treatment and any temporary disability benefits are based on the severity and recovery period of your injury.

What happens when you tear your ACL?

When you tear your ACL, you may experience pain, swelling, and a feeling of instability in the knee. Immediate medical attention is important not only for your health but also to document the injury for workers’ compensation claims in Missouri. Depending on the severity, treatment may include physical therapy or surgery, both of which should be covered under workers’ compensation if the injury is work-related.

Can you work with a torn ACL?

Whether you can continue working with a torn ACL depends on the demands of your job and the severity of your injury. Missouri workers’ compensation should provide for necessary accommodations or temporary alternative duties that respect your medical restrictions. If you cannot perform your usual work duties, you may be entitled to temporary total disability benefits.

What should you do immediately after an ACL injury at work?

If you sustain an ACL injury at work, stop all activity. Report the injury to your employer immediately to initiate a workers’ compensation claim. In Missouri, it is also advisable to consult with a workers’ compensation attorney to ensure that you navigate the claim process effectively and receive all the benefits you’re entitled to, such as coverage for medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, and compensation for any resulting disability.

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