One of the most complex joints in our body is the knee. It is also one of the most important ones, especially for a corrections officer. While some work-related knee injuries may be mere sprains, others may result in catastrophic damage that requires surgical intervention. Even with the best medical treatment and care, some knee injuries may never fully recover and could result in permanent range of motion restrictions, weakness, and debilitating pain. If you are injured in a workplace accident or suffer a work-related knee injury as a NYC corrections officer, learn how our NYC workers’ compensation lawyers at O’Connor Law can help you.
Although New York has strong workers’ compensation laws to help individuals who are injured at work or due to their employment, there are instances where adjusters or independent medical examiners fail to properly value an injury such as a knee injury. This is particularly true if you have had pre-existing injuries to the knee, even though you were still able to work a physically demanding job as a corrections officer. If this sounds familiar, call O’Connor Law to schedule a FREE consultation to learn more about how we may be able to help you and your WC claim by dialing (914) 595-4502.
Also known as workers’ comp or WC, workers’ compensation is a benefits program covering work-related injuries or illnesses. Virtually all employers must have workers’ compensation insurance and nearly every employee is covered—even part-time, temporary, or new hires/probation employees. Claimants do not need to prove fault, or liability, but rather just need to establish their injuries are work-related.
Benefits cover up to two-thirds (2/3s) of lost wages and reimbursement of medical bills. In some instances, claimants may be entitled to compensation for re-training, therapy, permanent disability, or death benefits for a family who lost a loved one.
Knee injuries are common for corrections officers due to the physical nature of their job. Many work-related knee injuries are caused in scuffs, altercations, and carrying out other physically-demanding tasks such as carrying individuals, lifting heavy objects, performing searches, responding to emergencies, and other related tasks.
However, knee injuries are not just caused by the physical nature of the job, but other routine tasks. This includes at Rikers slipping or tripping on the stairs, gate injuries, or other premises liability accidents while performing regular tasks and work. Injuries caused during mandatory training, including weight training sessions or fitness tests, also may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
There are many different types of knee injuries that a NYC corrections officer may sustain due to work. Each of these types of injuries may qualify for WC benefits. Some of the most common types of knee injuries include the following:
Your knee is supported by four important ligaments that could be torn or injured. They are the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), lateral collateral ligament (LCL), and medial collateral ligament (MCL). These ligaments help stabilize the knee and keep its strength. They can be injured when they are overextended or forced in a way that is not normal or natural. This can cause the ligament to stretch (grade 1 injury), partially tear (grade 2 injury), or completely tear or rupture (grade 3 injury).
Many times a grade 2 and definitely a grade 3 will require surgical intervention. This can result in months off from work of high medical bills. Some of the most significant knee injuries can result in permanent damage and disability, including range of motion restrictions and weakness that affect a corrections’ officer’s ability to work in the future.
The meniscus is a cushioning structure in the knee. A torn meniscus occurs when there is downward or upward pressure on it during a twist, pull, turn, or other force on the knee. That can cause the sheering tear or rip in the structure, causing serious injury. While some meniscus tears may become manageable without surgical intervention, most should be surgically repaired—especially for individuals like corrections officers who have physically demanding jobs.
The patella is a bone known as the kneecap. It is a small but strong bone that sits in a pocket or pouch at the front of the knee. It acts to shield your knee joint from direct impacts, helping deflect or divert force away from the meniscus or ligaments. However, direct impacts to the patella can cause it to fracture. This includes in a fall on stairs or at a gate at a NYC correctional facility, such as at Rikers. Most patella fractures are treated with a cast or splint, but sometimes surgical intervention is required. Very serious patella fractures can take months to heal, and most individuals will be unable to bear significant weight or train on that leg for several months.
A knee dislocation is an extremely painful injury that requires immediate medical attention, often surgery or a procedure. This injury occurs when several of the bones in your knee are forced out of alignment, preventing the joint from working. Not only can this cause damage to the bones, ligaments, tendons, and other structures in your knee, it can also damage nerves and blood vessels. As a result, damage to the blood vessels or if circulation is not quickly restored could result in the amputation of the lower leg.
Knee dislocations almost always result in a form of disability (range of motion restriction or weakness) and a prolonged recovery. Most individuals suffering a knee dislocation will have weight-bearing restrictions that can last for over a year. This is particularly troubling for NYC corrections officers who have physically demanding jobs, especially staff who work with the general population.
Knee injuries are complicated workers’ comp claims because of the common potential for future limitations or permanent disability. This means they are also commonly scrutinized by adjusters and independent medical examiners. Do not try to handle your WC claim alone. If you or a loved one suffered any type of knee injury in New York, call our experienced NYC corrections officer workers’ compensation lawyers at O’Connor Law to learn how we can help you obtain the maximum amount of WC benefits that you may be entitled to under New York law. Schedule your FREE case evaluation by dialing (914) 595-4502 or send us a private message through our “Contact Us” box available here.