An ACL injury at work in DC - What You Should Know About the Workers Comp System

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You Tore Your ACL at Work - Make Sure You Get What You Need From Workers Comp

An injury to your anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, can be painful and debilitating.  All types of workers are at risk for a serious injury like this to their knee, caused by slipping, falling, twisting, lifting and putting too much strain on the knee.  We see this injury a lot in athletes - pro athletes in DC are workers too and entitled to the protection of our workers comp laws in D.C., or Maryland or Virginia.

We also see a lot of knee injuries, especially to the meniscus and ACL in construction workers - plumbers, steamfitters, pipefitters, electricians, elevator mechanics, carpenters, laborers.  Anyone who works on a construction site is at risk for an ACL injury because of the site itself.  Uneven ground, unfinished surfaces, holes in the floor, temporary steps, ladders, railings - that's what a construction site is.

And carrying tools, equipment and materials on a construction site isn't done under ideal conditions - and that contributes to the risk of slipping, falling or twisting the knee that can lead to an injury.

Nurses and healthcare workers who have to lift, turn and move patients in a hospital can also suffer a serious knee injury like this at work, because a hospital environment can be dangerous and the work is physically demanding.

Private security guards who patrol in all kinds of weather and can slip on ice or need to restrain and subdue a suspect are another good example of workers who can seriously injure their knee or ACL.

What Do You Do After You've Injured Your ACL at Work?

First thing - like any other injury at work that happens in DC - is you need to tell your employer.  This is called giving notice of your injury and it is absolutely critical to making sure you get the proper workers comp benefits, both medical treatment and monetary benefits while you can't work. And you have to tell a supervisor or someone in HR, it's not enough to tell a co-worker.  Plus you can't just say "My knee hurts" or  "I need to see a doctor for my knee, it's bothering me."

You have to tell your supervisor that the injury happened at work.  You have 30 days to give this notice - but don't wait.  The sooner you tell your employer about your knee injury at work, the better.  Waiting to tell them about the injury not only slows down and delays the medical treatment you need for the knee, plus it can make the injury worse if you continue to work, keep walking on it and don't get it checked by a doctor (a real doctor, not some "Workman's Clinic" or insurance company hack doctor).

So waiting to tell your company about the knee injury at work only gives them more reason to deny your legitimate workers comp claim - because now they're questioning why you waited, and want to find out if it really happened at home or playing basketball.

Don't give them the opportunity to further injure that knee.  

How Do You Find a Doctor to Treat You For Your ACL Injury?

There are a lot of great doctors in the DC area who specialize in treating and surgically repairing ACL injuries.  Almost all of them will take workers comp insurance (under the workers comp system, you will not have a co-pay or other charges).  Under DC workers comp law, you have the right to see the doctor you choose to see.

But the workers comp insurance company for your job may tell you that you need to see one of their doctors or you have to go their clinic or they have a "network of approved physicians" you should see for the knee injury that happened at work.

It's all BS.  A total lie.  Don't believe it.

Yes they have insurance medical examiner doctors - who the insurance company pays to examine you and say there is nothing wrong with that knee.  They have doctors who they send an incredible number of patients to, and they have clinics that they pay for.  Their job is to limit the cost of the medical care and benefits the insurance company has to pay you.

Who's side will these insurance doctors and workers clinic doctors be on?  Yours or the insurance company that pays their salaries?

An ACL tear is serious - get a real doctor, an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in this type of injury and surgery.  If you can't find one, let us know and we can tell you who the insurance doctors are that you should avoid and give you the names of specialists our clients have chosen and liked in the past. 

How Do You Deal With the Workers Comp Insurance Company After An ACL injury?

You don't - at least not on your own.

We tell people all the time that if you have a minor injury and just need to get it checked out or don't miss work because of it that you don't need a workers comp lawyer for that.

But an ACL injury can be career ending.  You need to do everything right from the beginning so the insurance company doesn't take advantage of you and your family by paying you less than they should, not telling you about future benefits you can get, limiting your medical treatment.

Remember that insurance adjuster, whether your workers comp case in DC is with Travelers, Hartford, Sedgwick, it doesn't matter - has handled hundreds or thousands of workers comp cases for that insurance company.  She gets paid to protect the insurance company - no matter how nice she is, that is her job, and the same goes for the insurance company nurses, case managers, doctors, lawyers, investigators you will be up against.

Getting the best DC workers comp lawyer for you and your family from the beginning will make your life a lot easier.

So if you need help with a workers comp case, call us today at 202-393-3320.  Don't wait - every day that goes by gives the insurance company more time to work against you and your family.

 

Frank R. Kearney, Attorney-at-Law
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Experienced DC Workers' Comp, Long Term Disability & Accident Lawyer