When your job requires constant movement like lifting, reaching, twisting, or squatting, your joints will likely take a beating. Whether it is a repetitive motion injury that results in joint damage or a sudden movement that causes injury, these acts can result in long-term health complications. While these workplace injuries sometimes just require some rest and short-term recovery, they can oftentimes result in chronic illness. If this happened to you, you are entitled to receive workers’ compensation for joint injuries.
If you have suffered from joint injuries because of your occupation, the workers’ compensation attorneys of Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys are here to help.
Common Joint Injuries From Occupational Risks
Musculoskeletal disorders, ergonomic injuries, or simply, joint injuries, occur from the use of muscles, tendons, and ligaments to perform frequent tasks. These motions can cause pain and eventually injury. Overexertion and repetitive motion are the most common cause of occupational joint injuries. However, they can also result from slips, trips, and falls, and other common workplace accidents.
Whether you are in a workplace accident or your body has suffered from years of physical activity in the workplace, some joint injuries are more common in others.
These joint injuries include:
- Shoulder injuries
- Wrist injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome
- Hip injuries
- Knee injuries
- Ankle injuries
These injuries often result from motions in the retail, manufacturing, transportation, warehousing, laborers and freight, stock, material movers, and healthcare industries. However, they are possible in almost any field or industry.
When it comes to these occupational injuries, some jobs leave workers more likely to need days away from work because of these injuries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the jobs in the following order have the highest levels of time away from work because of joint injuries.
- Laborers and freight, stock, and material workers
- Nursing assistants
- Heavy and tractor trailer truck drivers
Employees of certain ages are also more susceptible to joint injuries. Workers aged 45 to 64 have increased rates of occupational joint injuries followed by workers over the age of 65. But again, age is just one factor that leaves a worker susceptible to joint injuries. Long term employment can result in wear and tear on the body, resulting in joint injuries at any age.
What To Do After A Workplace Joint Injury
Much like any other workplace injury, there are certain steps you need to take in order to secure workers’ compensation benefits for joint injuries. Once you realized you have suffered a joint injury in the workplace, you should take the following actions:
- Report your injury to your employer, supervisor, etc. A verbal account is not enough.
- Complete and submit a written injury report and secure a copy for your own records
- Get medical treatment as soon as you can. For the first 90 days, you will need to seek medical care from a company approved physician. After that point, you can seek medical care from your own doctor.
- Secure copies of any and all medical visits, treatment, and on-going therapies you may require as well as medical bills.
Once you have completed the above tasks, your employer will formally submit your workers’ compensation claim. Be sure to keep in contact with your employer and the insurance companies as if the deadlines are not followed, you may lose out on your right to collect benefits at all. Even if the lapse in judgment is not your fault, it will ultimately impact your right to benefits.
What Happens if My Joint Injury Workers’ Comp Claim is Denied?
Sometimes, a workers’ compensation claim is denied on the first submission. This can occur for a variety of reasons from improper documentation, missed deadlines, or inadequate evidence of an injury. In other cases, the denial may be because of something completely out of your control, like your employer purposely omitted details or have taken retaliatory action against you.
Regardless of the reason for your denial, you have the right to appeal the state’s decision. The appeal is completed by you and not your employer. You have up to three years from receiving the denied claim to file an appeal. However, it is best to act as quickly as possible to ensure you get the compensation that is rightfully yours.
What Can I Collect From Workers’ Comp For Joint Injuries?
Within 21 days following your employers and the insurance companies’ notice of the accident, you should begin to receive your workers’ compensation benefits should your claim be approved. In the case of a denial of a claim, it may take longer. Regardless, in Pennsylvania, your workers’ compensation benefits may offer support for:
- Medical expenses
- Specific loss benefits for loss of function of a body part(s)
- Death benefits to your survivors if the worker dies related to the injury or illness
Your Rights to Workers’ Comp Benefits Following a Joint Injury
Your employer must follow the regulations of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. If they fail to do so, you can file a penalty petition. You may choose to file a penalty petition for the following reasons:
- Your employer delayed payment without cause
- You suffered a termination of benefits without cause
- Your claim was denied because your employer did not properly investigate the situation
- You were not notified within 21 days of the claims status
- Medical bills were not covered by the appropriate parties
Successful penalty petitions can make you eligible for up to 50 percent of the past-due amounts owed, plus interest, and attorney fees.
These penalty petitions can be difficult to file alone, which is why a workers’ compensation attorney who is well-versed in joint injuries can be critical to the success of your workers’ comp claim and benefits.
Sustained a Joint Injury and Don’t Know What Comes Next? Call Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys.
We may not think of joint injuries as something so serious and severe that it can change the course of your life. However, given the long-term nature of joint injuries, these can cause ramifications to your career, your family, and your overall future.
For over 60 years, the experienced workers’ compensation lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys have been helping injured workers with their accident claims. From settlements to verdicts, our attorneys will do it all.
We will gather your medical records, establish the long-term costs of your injury, and gather the needed evidence to show what went wrong at work. We can also make sure your employer and the insurance company do their part to follow the legal parameters to ensure you get the workers compensation for joint injuries that you are entitled to.
For a no-obligation, free consultation, contact an experienced workers’ comp lawyer of Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys by calling 570-399-0406 or by connecting with us online.