Does Mississippi Workers' Comp Cover a Torn Meniscus?
Claims related to torn meniscus injuries can be complex.
Workers' compensation benefits are crucial for individuals who sustain serious on-the-job injuries, particularly when it comes to torn meniscus injuries. These injuries can cause significant knee pain, difficulty walking, and impair job performance, necessitating medical attention and recovery time.
Knee injuries, including torn meniscus injuries, are prevalent in workplace incidents. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), knee injuries account for over 9 percent of all workers' compensation claims nationwide, making them the third most common work-related injury.
The financial impact of a knee injury can also be substantial. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that, on average, a knee injury can cost thousands of dollars. Furthermore, according to the NSC, individuals with work-related knee injuries often miss an average of 19 days of work.
Determining whether a torn meniscus injury is covered by workers' compensation can be complex. While the answer may appear straightforward, workers' comp claims can quickly become complicated. Here's what you should know.
What is a torn meniscus?
A torn meniscus is a common knee injury that occurs when the C-shaped pieces of cartilage, known as menisci, become damaged or torn. The menisci act as shock absorbers, providing cushioning and stability to the knee during movement. Common symptoms of a torn meniscus include:
- Decreased range of motion
- Feeling that your knee may give out
- Clicking or locking sensation in the knee joint
Someone with a torn meniscus may experience difficulty putting weight on the affected leg and may have challenges performing work-related tasks that require bending, squatting, or kneeling.
Work-related torn meniscus injuries often result from sudden twisting or rotating knee joint motions. For example, a worker may tear their meniscus while lifting or carrying heavy objects, specifically if they have to pivot or change direction too fast or suddenly.
Other work-related scenarios that can lead to a torn meniscus include slips, trips, and falls, especially when the knee is forcefully twisted or bent on impact.
Treatment for a torn meniscus
Treating a torn meniscus depends on the severity, location of the tear, the employee's age, and overall health. Surgery is one potential treatment option, but there are also less invasive non-surgical options. Surgeries for a torn meniscus may include a partial or total meniscectomy.
In a partial meniscectomy, only the damaged portion is removed, while in a total meniscectomy, the entire meniscus may be too damaged to salvage and must be removed entirely.
Non-surgical treatment options for a torn meniscus may include:
- RICE: Rest, ice, compression, and elevation can help reduce pain and promote healing.
- Physical therapy: A physical therapist can suggest and guide you through specific exercises and stretches that can help strengthen the surrounding muscles, restore range of motion, and reduce pain and swelling.
- Medication: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as anti-inflammatory drugs, can help manage pain and inflammation.
Obtaining workers' comp benefits
If you suffered a work-related torn meniscus in Mississippi, you should be eligible for workers' compensation benefits, particularly if your injury is severe enough to prevent you from working due to extreme pain. However, while the process may seem straightforward, legitimate claims are often denied for various reasons.
In the case of torn meniscus injuries, denials commonly occur when the employer's insurance company disputes that the injury happened at work. That's why having an experienced Mississippi workers' compensation lawyer to represent you after a knee injury is crucial.
Tabor Law Firm is here to help
If you suffered a torn meniscus or another type of knee injury while on the job, you don't have to navigate the system alone. At Tabor Law Firm, P.A., our Mississippi workers' comp lawyers know how to build strong cases that get results.
With a deep understanding of Mississippi's workers' compensation laws, our attorneys are experienced negotiators and litigators who strive for the best possible outcomes, either through negotiated settlements or court verdicts. To see how we can help you, contact us today for a free consultation. Our offices are in Ridgeland and Jackson, and we offer legal representation to clients throughout Mississippi.