Repetitive stress injuries or WEAR and TEAR injuries are often thought of as injuries that occur at desk jobs or from repetitive movements in the arms and back. Employees may suffer from chronic back pain or carpal tunnel syndrome and require workplace modifications in order to complete their day-to-day jobs.
Equally common, although less well known, are repetitive knee injuries. These injuries can arise from positions that require frequent lifting or squatting, and can result in severe knee pain. While repetitive knee injuries can be just as debilitating as any other repetitive stress injury, they can be difficult to prove in a workers’ compensation claim because of the many other circumstances that can give rise to knee injuries.
Repetitive Knee Injuries In Hamilton Township
Knee injuries that result from ongoing WEAR and TEAR are often referred to as repetitive motion injuries. They typically arise in workplace environments that require constant walking, lunging and/or squatting, or other repetitive motions, such as going up and down stairs, that place stress on the knee.
Over time, the mechanics of the knee may begin to wear down due to the repetitive stress, resulting in inflammation, stiffness, grinding, and achiness in an employee’s knees. As this continues the knee structure may become less stable, allowing for a more sudden injury, such as an ACL or MCL tear, or a knee strain, to occur.
Other repetitive motion injuries that can arise in the knee include meniscus tears, cartilage damage, tendonitis or bursitis. In many instances, these types of injuries are treatable with proper rehabilitation and strength training. However, when left unchecked for too long, they can result in structural damage to the knee that requires surgery or even a complete knee replacement.
Workers Compensation Claims for Repetitive Knee Injuries
Employees who suffer an injury to their knee as a result of their work are entitled to seek workers’ compensation to deal with their injuries, and cover time off the job while they rehabilitate. If the injury is caught early on this can be as simple as some rest and time with a physical therapist.
If the injury is allowed to continue to worsen, an employee may end up needing compensation for significant knee surgery. In a worst case scenario, the injury can become so unmanageable that temporary disability is required.
The Challenge With Knee Injuries
When trying to bring a claim for a knee injury arising out of repetitive motion, the biggest challenge for an employee is establishing that the injury is a result of work conditions, and not something outside of the job. There are many hobbies and circumstances that can give rise to knee injuries, and your employer’s insurance company will be quick to point to those factors as the true reason for your injury.
For example, if you have an old sports injury from playing football or soccer in high school or college, an insurance company may argue that the pain your experiencing is a result of that prior injury, and not a new injury you received on the job. Or if you spend your weekends painting houses, and are up and down ladders all day, they may try to argue that you hurt your knee that way.
Because we use our knees in so many different activities on a daily basis, it can be particularly challenging to prove that your work was the cause of your knee injury. The best way to avoid this difficulty is to carefully document your injury, and keep clear medical records showing how the symptoms of your injury are connected to the challenges of your job. Let your medical provider know that you have this concern, and ask them to work with you carefully document these issues as well.
New Jersey Attorneys Fighting For Your Right to Workers’ Compensation
Realizing that knee injuries can be particularly challenging to prove during a workers’ compensation proceeding can allow you to take a proactive stance toward documenting your injuries and protecting your rights. Be aware of what other hobbies or interests you have that could be used against you as justification for your injury, and keep good records to document the severity of your pain and suffering.
The benefits payable for WEAR and TEAR claims are identical to workplace accident related workers’ compensation benefits.
At Petro Cohen, our workers’ compensation attorneys have years of experience with WEAR and TEAR injuries and will work with you to make sure your repetitive motion injury is carefully and comprehensively documented. We have experience with workplace knee injuries including those involving internal derangement, meniscal lesions, and osteoarthritis. In addition to your knees, other parts of the body that are at risk for potential WEAR and TEAR claims include
- Neck – especially disc abnormalities, operated or unoperated
- Low back – especially disc abnormalities, operated or unoperated
- Shoulders – including rotator cuffs, impingement, and labral problems
- Hips – osteoarthritic and degenerative conditions
- Hands – including osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and de Quervain’s and trigger fingers
Over the years, we have found that particular industries and jobs have greater potential for WEAR and TEAR claims due to repetitive, job related physical stress. Here are a few that have potential for these types of injuries.
- Almost all construction trade employees/construction labor
- Many casino positions, including food and beverage servers, housekeepers, dealers, EVS/maintenance, HVAC mechanics, etc.
- Medical professionals, including nurses, nurse’s aides, and physical therapists
- Emergency response/law enforcement personnel, including police officers, firefighters, and EMTs
- Trucking and delivery employees
- Secretarial/computer/data entry employees
- Warehouse and retail operations positions, including stockers/material handlers
- Landscaping/excavation and heavy equipment operators
- Utility workers, including cable, telephone, electric, etc.
- Highway maintenance and service industry employees
To determine if you have a potential WEAR and TEAR claim, schedule a confidential appointment with one of Petro Cohen’s workers’ compensation attorneys by visiting us online or calling at (888) 675-7607. In addition to our office in Hamilton, NJ, we have offices in Northfield, Cape May Court House, and Cherry Hill.
At Petro Cohen, we know you work hard; now let us work hard for you.