Knee injuries account for over 10% of workplace injuries sustained each year in Australia. These injuries can be caused by a range of workplace circumstances as we use our knees to walk, lift and sit. Often leaving you out of action for several weeks, knee injuries require treatment, rehabilitation and daily support to recover.
If a knee injury has occurred at work, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation from your employer. Compensation can help cover the costs of medical support, loss of wages and rehabilitation. GC Law is here to help you understand your eligibility and entitlements following a workplace knee injury to help minimise personal and professional damages.
Workplace Knee Injury Types
As our knees perform so many different tasks every day, they are the host to many different ligaments, joints and muscles. There are multiple knee injury types, with different treatments and recovery options.
Common knee injury types include:
Ligament injuries impact the inner tissue of our knees and are caused by an awkward twist or landing. Although requiring non-surgical treatment, ligament injuries usually take up to six weeks to heal when they receive medical support.
Cartilage tears affect the main type of connective tissue throughout our body due to a twist or bend. As cartilage provides cushioning and stability to the knee, these tears can leave you out of action as it heals. Self-care is usually an appropriate treatment for cartilage tears, however, more serious injuries will require surgery. They are commonly caused by squatting when heavy lifting or climbing stairs and hills repeatedly.
Torn meniscuses impacts the c-shaped piece of cartilage that connects shinbone to thighbone. Usually occurring if you forcefully twist or rotate your knee when your full weight is being put on it, they range in severity. This injury is treated with rehabilitation therapy and in some cases, surgery, with extended recovery times.
Torn tendons are known for their intense pain, as knee tendons work to attach muscle to bone in our legs. Caused frequently by repetitive use or stress impacts, tendon injuries’ severe pain and recovery time can require medical treatment, time off work and rehabilitation. In many cases, torn tendons cannot be healed without surgery. The time it takes to heal can range from 6 weeks to several months, depending on the severity. A lack of health and safety can increase the risk of these injuries in the workplace.
Patella-femoral pain syndrome
Patella-femoral pain syndrome is commonly known as “runner’s knee”, causing a pain in the front of the knee cap. Overuse or the sudden start of vigorous activity can result in this injury. Surgery is usually not required to treat this condition, and it can be prevented by appropriate footwear, exercises and gradually increasing activity overtime. With rehabilitation and strength training, patella-formal pain syndrome can take up to 6 weeks to heal.
Bursitis is an injury that occurs when the bursa is inflamed, causing pain and discomfort. The bursa is a fluid sac that reduces friction between ligaments and can be burst by repetitive motions or overuse. The healing time ranges from 2 to 8 weeks, depending on how severe it is, and requires strength training, exercise and rest. It can be prevented with knee pads, lifting training and frequent breaks.
Common Causes of Workplace Knee Injuries
Given how often our knees are used, knee injuries happen in a range of situations in both our personal and professional lives. Although in most cases, knee injuries will be mild, they are treated with rest and little physical activity to heal. In more serious cases, the road to recovery can require surgery and rehabilitation to return your knee to full health.
Knee injuries in the workplace can be caused by a range of incidents from major accidents to overuse and repetitive actions.
The main workplace causes of knee injuries includes:
- lifting, carrying or putting down objects;
- slips, trips and falls;
- a direct impact to the knee such as having an object fall on it or a moving object like a vehicle, forklift or industrial machinery;
Health and safety protocols can help keep workers safe from these types of preventable injuries. Employers have a duty of care to their employees to provide safe working conditions. If a knee injury has been sustained due to negligence or failure to fulfil this duty, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
What Can I Claim for A Knee Injury?
Compensation is won through the process of a common law claim, whereby you must argue your employer did not provide a safe work environment and breached their duty of care.
The amount of compensation will vary case to case, depending on the circumstances of your injury.
Worker’s compensation could cover:
- Medical expenses: the fees associated with receiving treatment and rehabilitation for your injury.
- Weekly wage payments: this can be paid weekly for lost wages.
- Lump sum payment: covers the ongoing costs, upcoming costs and emotional damages of a latent onset injury (a permanent impairment that occurs after the fact).
- Domestic assistance payments: compensate the cost of domestic and daily care support in cases where the victim is unable to do these things themself.
Compensation is awarded based on the costs of general damages and special damages as defined by common law.
General damages compensation is awarded according to the pain and suffering and loss of quality of life. Special Damages, however, covers the specific expenses caused by the injury such as medications, procedures and medical bills. To receive compensation for either, it is up to the injured party to prove a breach in duty of care caused your injury and keep evidence to prove the damages experienced.
Ultimately, compensation pathways differ for each personal circumstance. To find out where you stand, call GC Law now for a free no obligation appointment on 1300 302 318 or contact our expert legal team online today.
Am I Eligible to Make a Knee Injury Claim?
Your knee injury must be the result of an employer’s failure to maintain a safe and healthy workplace to claim compensation.
When making this claim, you must provide evidence to support this case. Witness statements, medical evidence, photographic evidence and accident reports are vital to prove employer’s liability.
The injury must have been reported to your employer and be confirmed by a medical treatment from a doctor and getting a certificate of capacity, to begin making a claim.
How Long After a Knee Injury Can I Claim?
In most instances, workplace compensation claims must be made within six months of the injury. However, in certain circumstances, this timeframe can be extended to three years.
In cases of latent onset knee injuries, you must make the compensation claim within 12 months of diagnosis.
We understand workplace knee injuries are often stressful, painful and frustrating. If you believe your injury is the result of negligence, it is recommended you reach out to legal support as soon as possible to help understand your eligibility and the evidence you need to keep.
How To Make a Knee Injury Compensation Claim
Workplace knee injuries can have a long term impact on our health and quality of life. Compensation can help you access this medical care and time off to ensure you heal and recover properly.
Receive a free consultation with a GC Law workplace injury lawyer to discuss claim options. We can help you understand the amount of compensation you are eligible for and your claim options throughout this stressful time.