The average cost to workers’ compensation insurance for a knee injury is $33,153. This includes $17,757 in medical expenses and $15,396 in other forms of compensation, according to the National Safety Council.
“Other forms of compensation” include lost wages, typically two-thirds of average weekly wages for a certain period of time. It does not include pain and suffering damages that are unavailable under workers’ compensation.
$33,153 represents an approximate value for an average workers’ comp knee injury settlement.
It is not likely to be very meaningful, however, because knee injury settlements from workers’ compensation vary widely in value.
Accordingly, you should rely on the facts of your case rather than a general average. The purpose of quoting an average is simply to “put you in the right ballpark.”
Our workers’ compensation lawyers in Charlotte, North Carolina will explain.
[Video] How To Document Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Documenting evidence for your workers’ compensation claim is very important. To ensure you have the information you need to succeed in your claim:
- Gather witness statements from people who were nearby when the injury-causing accident happened;
- Obtain medical records that describe the injury and treatment you received; and
- Secure records of your employment and request to file a claim.
Once you have gathered this documentation, you are ready to file your workers’ compensation claim.
If you are having trouble documenting your workers’ compensation claim, then you may want to consider consulting with an attorney to help navigate you through the process. The lawyers of Mehta and McConnell have experience dealing with these types of claims, and we are here to help.
Workers’ Compensation Settlements: Why Settle?
If you dispute the amount that workers’ compensation proposes to pay you for your injury—and in many cases, you should—you have two options.
The first option is to proceed to a hearing and fight it out in administrative court. The second is to negotiate your claim with your workers’ compensation insurer.
The following are some of the pros and cons of negotiating your claim with the help of your workers’ compensation lawyer, of course.
- In court, the possibility exists that a judge might actually lower your award below the amount of the insurance company’s first offer.
- Hearings are troublesome, complex, stressful, and time-consuming.
- In a settlement, you can receive a lump sum amount to close your case rather than weekly payments.
- In a settlement, you can demand partial payment for expenses that may or may not arise. If your doctor says there is a 30% chance you’ll need further surgery, for example, you can negotiate to pocket 30% of the cost of surgery now, and keep the money even if surgery is never necessary.
- If you negotiate a lump sum and then proceed to spend all the money, you won’t be able to come back and ask for more money later. Lump-sum settlements don’t often work out well for people who cannot control their spending.
- A settlement can reduce or eliminate your eligibility for other types of benefits in the future, unless you carefully structure it.
Of course, there are other pros and cons we haven’t mentioned here. But it all boils down to the necessity of having your lawyer with you as you attempt to resolve your case. They know all the ins and outs and can guide you with experienced hands through the maze of workers’ compensation regulations.
The Average Knee Injury Settlement
If you are off of work due to a work-related knee injury, you will receive approximately two-thirds of your average weekly wages for every week that you are off work.
Under the North Carolina workers’ compensation law, injured workers can collect weekly wage benefits for a maximum of 500 weeks (approximately 9.6 years) from the date of their disability.
However, after 425 weeks, the injured employee can request that the wage benefits be extended. These employees usually have permanent disabilities like spinal cord injuries, significant head trauma, or work-related COPD.
Whether you will be capped at 500 weeks or receive extended benefits as outlined in the statute, you can decide to settle your workers’ compensation claim for a lump sum instead of receiving weekly benefits.
A lump-sum settlement of a North Carolina workers’ compensation claim is called a “clincher” agreement. A clincher agreement is a full and final settlement and resolves all the issues in a workers’ compensation case, including all medical treatment benefits and wage benefits.
You aren’t required to settle your case, though. It is something that the parties have to agree upon. The decision to settle your case depends upon many factors, especially whether you will require ongoing medical treatment.
In most cases, it is best to wait until the injured worker has reached maximum medical improvement with no more treatment before beginning settlement discussions.
There are other issues that can affect whether a clincher agreement is right for you.
We have to consider Social Security Disability payments, Medicare, Medicaid, private long-term disability policies, and disability rating payments.
The bottom line is that it’s a complicated process that needs skilled and knowledgeable North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers to review.
Types of Knee Injuries
Certain types of knee injuries are far more common than others. Here are descriptions of the most common types.
The menisci (singular: meniscus) are pieces of cartilage that cushion your bones and absorb pressure on your knee joint. Symptoms of a tear include a popping sensation, pain, stiffness, locking up, swelling, and limited mobility.
You don’t always need surgery. When surgery is required, however, the most popular types are arthroscopic surgery, meniscectomy (meniscus removal), and meniscus repair.
The average workers’ comp settlement for a torn meniscus is difficult to determine. Arthroscopic surgery, for example, costs from $5,700 to $23,650. A settlement based on this remedy would cover other medical expenses as well as lost wages.
Nevertheless, lifelong complications can frequently be traced to complications arising from a meniscus tear.
Ligaments are connective tissues that control the movement of your knees. The most commonly injured of these are the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the medial collateral ligament (MCL), and the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL).
Tearing any of these can result in pain, swelling, buckling of your knee, limited mobility, and popping sounds coming from your knee.
Most ligament injuries require surgery to correct, and surgery is not cheap. In the U.S., ACL repair surgery costs around $20,000 to $50,000. This price does not even consider lost wages.
You may need as long as six months to recover.
Broken Kneecap (Patellar Fracture)
Fortunately, many kneecap fractures don’t require surgery.
A cast or a splint is often sufficient, resulting in average medical costs that total well below $5,000. Severe fractures, however, will require surgery if you ever want to walk normally again.
Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition that develops at the site of an old knee injury. It is often possible to claim workers’ compensation benefits for osteoarthritis.
In severe cases, you might need knee replacement surgery.
Knee replacement surgery will set you back $30,000 to $50,000 on average, and it sometimes costs much more than this. A partial knee replacement might cost marginally less.
Other common knee injuries include bursitis, tendonitis, dislocations, and leg amputations (in accidents).
The Early Involvement of an Experienced Workers’ Comp Attorney Is Critical to Winning Your Claim
Yes. Workers’ compensation knee injury settlements are difficult to negotiate but fear not.
We have decades of combined experience successfully handling workers’ compensation cases, and there isn’t much that can happen that we haven’t seen before.