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Does a Torn Meniscus Qualify for Workers' Comp in New York?

An injured warehouse worker grabs his knee in pain as another employee calls for help.

Work-related knee injuries can be debilitating.

Knee sprains, strains, tears, and breaks are among the most common types of work injuries in the U.S. About 15-20% of all workers' compensation claims include knee damage. Meniscus tears and lesions are frequently the source of knee pain and immobility. In New York, this type of injury is covered by workers' compensation benefits, but the specific details and coverage may vary depending on the circumstances.

Workers' compensation providers often attempt to diminish the seriousness of knee injuries and will even reject requests for coverage of surgeries recommended by trusted doctors. That's when having an experienced workers' compensation attorney on your side to help you navigate these challenges can make a meaningful difference in the outcome of your case.

What is a meniscus tear?

The medial meniscus and lateral meniscus are two C-shaped pieces of cartilage located in the knee joint that act as shock absorbers, providing stability and cushioning to the knee. When a tear occurs in one of the menisci (usually the medial), it can cause pain, swelling, stiffness, and limited mobility in the affected knee.

How does a knee meniscus get damaged at work?

Meniscus injuries are typically caused by a single traumatic event or are the result of degenerative movements. Recent research has found a strong link between employee meniscus injuries and occupations that require a lot of kneeling and squatting. Also, jobs that require workers to walk more than 2 miles per shift raise the chance of a meniscus tear.

Other common causes of meniscus tears at work include lifting and carrying heavy objects, slip and falls, and "struck by" machinery or equipment accidents.

Which jobs are at the highest risk for meniscus injuries?

While meniscus tears can happen to anyone, certain jobs put workers at a higher risk for this type of injury. Workers at a higher risk for knee damage and meniscus tears include:

  • Construction workers.
  • Floor layers.
  • Pipefitters.
  • Food processing plant workers.
  • Athletes.
  • Healthcare professionals.
  • Manual laborers.
  • Farm laborers.
  • Airport baggage handlers.
  • Warehouse workers.
  • Trucking and transportation employees.

It's important to note that even workers with pre-existing knee issues deserve compensation for a work-related meniscus tear. If work made your knee worse or aggravated a pre-existing condition, you may still be eligible for workers' compensation benefits for a work-related meniscus tear.

A workers' compensation attorney can evaluate your case, gather relevant evidence, and advocate on your behalf to ensure you receive the maximum benefits available for your specific injury.

Talk to a workers' compensation lawyer about your options

If you have suffered a torn meniscus while on the job or another type of work-related knee injury, it's important to understand your legal rights and options.

Workers' compensation claims for torn meniscus injuries can pose challenges such as pre-existing condition claims, insufficient medical evidence, and delayed or denied claims. A work injury lawyer can help navigate these hurdles, build a strong case, and advocate for fair compensation.

At Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano LLP, we've been fighting for New York's injured for over 80 years. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today for a free case evaluation.

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