Meniscus Tear and Missouri Workers’ Compensation
If you have injured your knee on the job and are being denied benefits, contact the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann.
One of the most complicated joints in your body, the knee, is made up of a number of different components which all work together in order to provide the strength needed to support your weight, and the flexibility needed to move around with ease. The meniscus is the component of the knee that cushions the knee to help keep it steady, and is prone to tearing from a number of work related activities.
If you have injured your knee in a work related accident or from overuse, a physician will examine the knee for signs of meniscus tears. This is a painful injury that if not treated immediately can cause damage to other areas of the knee joint. If you are unsure if your knee pain or meniscus tear is covered by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance, ask James M. Hoffmann for his advice. If the tear is related to your job, you have every right under Missouri law to expect your employer to cover the cost of the necessary medical treatment.
Knee Injuries and Missouri Workers
With the amount of stress we put our knees under, it should come as no surprise that this is a commonly reported workplace injury. Warehouse employees, construction workers, plumbers and carpenters are all at risk for overuse injury to the knee which could lead to a meniscus tear. Workplace accidents can also lead to knee injury, especially car accidents and slip and falls. Since the knee is compromised of so many different components, it is impossible to tell which area or areas of the joint have been damaged until a physician is able to perform an exam.
What is a Meniscus Tear?
Within your knee joint is a C shaped cartilage disc known as the meniscus. Each knee contains two, which act both as a stabilizer and a shock absorber. A meniscus tear is caused by trauma to the joint and will cause swelling to the knee as well as acute pain and limited mobility. Employees who lift heavy objects throughout the day are susceptible to a meniscus tear, as are plumbers and carpet layers who spend a great deal of time down on all fours.
How is a Meniscus Tear Diagnosed?
Like other injuries to the knee, a meniscus tear is immediately painful. Most describe a feeling like their knee has suddenly given out, not allowing them to walk without pain. If you feel such a pain during your work day, whether from an accident or your normal work activities, immediately report the incident to your employer. From there, they will provide you with a list of medical facilities and physicians that work with their workers’ comp insurance company.
A physician will examine your knee, and check along the joint line where the meniscus lies for any tenderness or swelling. They will then bend the knee, straighten it and rotate the joint, listening for a tell tale clicking sound. This lets the doctor know that the cartilage of the meniscus has been torn. For confirmation, and to check for other injuries to the knee, an imaging exam will be performed.
How are Meniscus Tears Treated?
Your treatment plan will depend on the type of tear you have, where it is located, the size and any other injuries to the knee. For some individuals, pain and anti-inflammatory medications will be prescribed as the injury heals on its own. You will not be permitted to apply any pressure to the knee during this time, probably making it impossible for you to work.
Claiming Work Comp for a Meniscus Tear
If you sustain a meniscus tear injury as a result of your job, you are entitled to workers compensation benefits. These should cover all of your medical costs, plus pay a portion of your wages to you during the recovery period. If you are being denied further treatment of a meniscus tear, or do not believe that you are being paid correctly for the injury, contact the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann today at (314) 361-4300.