A sprained or torn joint can cause a lot of pain and limit a person’s work capacity over time. We’re talking especially about knees, shoulders, and hips–joints that can be injured through a worker’s significant job duties. If you have a joint injury from your job (and a doctor supports the condition as being work-related), you may have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim. Almost every employer in Wisconsin is required to have workers’ compensation insurance. By filing a workers’ compensation claim, you’ll be able to get paid for your medical expenses and your lost wages if your injury does not let you return to work.
Knee, shoulder, and hip injuries can limit your ability to move freely and perform daily tasks. That is why it is important to seek medical treatment if you have one. However, if you got your injury at work (and a doctor supports your injury is from a specific work injury or your job duties over time), you should not have to pay your medical expenses with your savings. According to the law in Wisconsin, almost all employers must carry worker’s compensation insurance to pay those expenses for their injured workers. These include medical bills, surgical procedures, treatments, medicines, etc. It is important to get something in writing from a doctor that indicates your condition is work-related. If your doctor has questions, it is helpful to talk to an attorney about developing the case–especially explaining your job duties to your physicians.
A person with a joint injury may need a joint replacement if their injury is severe and there is no other way to treat it. These knee replacements, shoulder replacements, and hip replacements can easily lead to a disability. When a worker has a disability they have the right to get paid lost time benefits (two-thirds of the worker’s weekly wages) until done healing. These payments compensate the worker for their wage loss until they can return to work.
Also, a worker can receive permanent disability benefits. Most joint replacements carry minimum percentages of disability. In Wisconsin, a hip replacement usually carries a percentage of 40% of permanent partial disability and a shoulder replacement equals 50% of permanent partial disability. The higher percentage of disability, the more a worker gets paid and the longer the payments can last.
Your right as a worker
If you suffer a joint injury on the job (or from the wear and tear of your job), you have the right to ask your employer to compensate you for your losses. However, you should try to report your injury to your employer and complete an accident report. It is also important to obtain medical documentation (from a doctor) that the hip injury, knee injury, or shoulder injury is work-related. In many cases, talking to an attorney about the steps in the process is beneficial.