Knee, Ankle, and Foot Injury
Injuries to the knee, ankle and foot are common workplace injuries. These injuries are often extremely painful and may require surgery or physical therapy. These injuries often result in significant restrictions. The recovery time for foot, ankle and knee injuries is sometimes long, and usually requires significant time off from work.
Injuries to the knee, ankle and foot often result in ongoing pain that lingers months and years after you reach maximum medical improvement(“MMI”). You will need ongoing medical care in the form of medications and injections. There is good news from the Idaho Supreme Court. In Rish v. Home Depot, Inc., 390 P.3d 428, 432 (2017), the Court stated that medical treatment or palliative treatment should be rendered as reasonably “required to relieve [an injured worker] from the effects of his injury and arrest and stay further damages…”. If you are still in pain even after your doctor has found you to be at MMI, you can return to your doctor and if he or she prescribes further medical treatment and will testify in support of such treatment, you have a good chance of forcing the insurance company to pay for that medical treatment.
Palliative treatment includes treatment that is not curative in nature but just helps ease the pain. For example, medications are palliative treatment. I have had clients who have needed this kind of medical care for decades following their injuries. I have seen insurance companies try to use their doctors to wiggle out of their ongoing responsibility to provide this type of treatment. Rish is an important case that we use to stop this kind of mischievous behavior from the insurance companies.Knee Injuries
At the time of your knee injury you may think that you will get better. You will be tempted to not report the injury. Always report every injury to your knee the same day that it happens. The sooner you report the injury means the better chance the claim will be accepted and paid for by the insurance company.
Most of the time you will be referred to an urgent care facility to examine your knee injury and have it treated. The doctor or physician’s assistant at the urgent care may send you for physical therapy and prescribe you anti-inflammatory medications and pain medications. If this conservative treatment fails they will refer you to an orthopaedic surgeon. Most of the time experienced orthopaedic surgeons can determine the nature of your injury with a physical exam. However, these surgeons typically send you for an MRI scan of your knee to confirm their diagnosis. The surgeon will then offer a surgery to fix your knee. Most knee surgeries can be done laparoscopically, and within a few weeks you will be able to return to work. These simple knee surgeries can be done at a same-day surgical center.
If you have a serious knee injury your surgeon may suggest that you have a total knee replacement surgery. These surgeries are done at a hospital and will require you to stay overnight and sometimes you are released to a rehab hospital so you can complete daily physical therapy and have the nursing care that you will need following such a serious surgery.
These total knee replacement surgeries almost always limits how long you can stand and walk. They also can result in lifting restrictions. These restrictions may end your career and you will have to reinvent yourself.Ankle Injuries
Most ankle injuries result from falls off of ladders, scaffolding or roofs. These injuries almost always result in significant surgeries that can include the fusion of the ankle joint. Many of my clients that have had ankle injuries find it difficult to walk or stand even after their surgery has been completed and they have suffered through a long and painful recovery period. Several of my clients have become totally and permanently disabled as a result of their ankle injuries.
If you have a serious ankle injury, you are going to need an experienced Idaho worker’s compensation lawyer to help you through this process, by working with your doctor so that appropriate restrictions can be given by your doctor. Often a vocational expert will need to be hired in your case to offer testimony on your behalf. These vocational experts will evaluate your case for purpose of determining the extent of your disability and prepare a report to support your case.Foot Injuries
Foot injuries can be treated by either podiatrists or orthopaedic surgeons who have special training in foot injuries. Treatment for foot injuries includes surgeries and cortisone injections.
Foot injuries can be chronically painful and eliminate all heavy, medium and light duty jobs. You will be left with the ability to only work at sedentary jobs, or office type of jobs. Many people do not have the transferrable skills to do this type of work. Foot injuries can leave you totally and permanently disabled.Impairment Rating and Restrictions
Make sure that your surgeon is willing to calculate an impairment rating using the Sixth Edition of the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment. Your surgeon also needs to be willing to give you specific restrictions when you come to maximum medical improvement from your knee, ankle or foot injury. These restrictions need to address how much weight you can lift, how far can you walk and how long can you stand. These restrictions will determine where you can work for the rest of your life.
Some podiatrists and orthopaedic surgeons refuse to offer these types of opinions. Not to worry, we can help refer you to medical experts who will offer these opinions. If we accept your case, we will advance the payment for these opinions so that your claim can move forward.Hire an Attorney
Knee, ankle and foot injury claims can end your career. You need an experienced Idaho workers’ compensation lawyer to make sure you get the worker’s compensation benefits you legally deserve. We will hire the experts and help develop the evidence to support your claim. Don’t try to handle this type of claim on your own. Call us today at 208-232-6101. We will answer your questions for free. We will be your guide.