Knee injuries at work can cause many difficulties. These injuries often affect your ability to stand, walk, squat, climb, and lift. These restrictions may prevent you from doing your job.
After evaluating your knee injury, your doctor may recommend surgery. Sometimes, this surgery may be a more minor surgery. Other times, the doctor may determine that you need a knee replacement.
If your doctor recommends knee replacement surgery, it may frighten you. After all, knee replacement surgery is a serious surgery with an extended recovery time. According to the CDC, almost 720,000 total knee replacement surgeries were performed in the U.S. in 2010.
What if the insurance company refuses to pay for knee replacement surgery?
Knee replacement surgery is also expensive. Because it is expensive, the workers’ compensation insurance company often will refuse to pay for knee replacement surgery. The insurance company may try to argue that your employment did not cause you to need the knee replacement. The insurance company may blame the knee replacement on your age or a previous knee injury.
It is important to understand that you do not need to have a perfect knee prior to your injury. Even if you had prior knee problems, the insurance company should still pay for your knee replacement surgery if your employment made your knee worse and caused the need for surgery.
If the insurance company refuses to pay for your surgery, there are things you can do. Find out more about them by reading our article about what you can do when an insurance company denies treatment.
What happens after my knee replacement surgery?
After surgery, you will go through a period of recovery. I am an attorney, not a doctor. So, I’ll leave it to medical experts to give you a better idea about what sort of recovery period you can expect after your surgery.
This information from the Mayo Clinic may be helpful to you. Also, I would suggest that you discuss your recovery with the doctor performing the surgery.
Will I receive a permanent partial disability rating?
After you have recovered from your surgery, your doctor should assign you a permanent partial disability rating. Currently, Georgia law requires the doctor to use the 5th Edition of the American Medical Association Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment.
Your doctor should rate your knee replacement using Table 17-33 and Table 17-34. If you have a good outcome from your knee replacement, you should end up with a rating of 37% to the lower extremity. If your outcome is only fair or poor, then you will end up with a higher permanent partial disability rating.
What if I cannot go back to work after surgery?
I have represented many clients who have had knee replacement surgery as a result of their injuries at work. Many of them had good results from their surgeries. The surgery usually reduces their pain. But, almost all of them still end up with permanent activity limitations from their doctors.
Many times, these limitations make it difficult to work. If you have a physically demanding job, you should probably talk to an attorney to find out how your workers’ compensation case is affected if you cannot go back to your old job after your surgery.
I provide free consultations in workers compensation cases. Before scheduling one, you might want to read this article to find out more about what a free consultation is and how it works. If you do want to set one up, just call my office at (770) 214-8885 or complete and submit our free consultation request form.
Jason Perkins is an attorney who specializes in representing injured workers. He regularly publishes videos and write blog articles about Georgia’s workers compensation system and issues that are important to injured workers and their families.
To be notified of Jason’s new workers compensation videos, subscribe to his Georgia Workers Compensation Video Series channel on YouTube by clicking the subscribe button below.