An ankle injury can change your life more than you realize. If you’ve ever had a sprained ankle, you know just how hard it can be to do anything for yourself. So, if you hurt your ankle while you’re at work, you may not be able to continue working. If you can’t work, you can’t pay your bills. Ankle injuries can be minor, such as a light sprain, or they can be very serious.
Some ankle injuries, such as breaking your ankle, can cause you to develop lifelong issues such as arthritis. If you injure your ankle on the job, you should consider filing a workers’ compensation claim to help with the associated expenses.
If you are injured while you are on the job, you are eligible to pursue a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation laws vary from one state to another, but in general, the benefits provided are the same. Workers’ compensation includes medical benefits, which cover the cost associated with your medical care, and it covers about two-thirds your lost wages while you are recovering and unable to work.
After any workplace accident, you should report it to your manager or supervisor. While state laws indicate how long you have in order to file your claim, the time limit can vary from a couple days until a year. Some states allow you to notify your employer verbally while others require that the claim be made in writing. Your workers’ compensation attorney will be able to tell you how long you have to get your claim underway and the process that you must follow.
You should establish medical care right away. For a successful workers’ compensation claim, you must show that the injuries happened while you were on the job. If you wait for days – or longer – it can be difficult to prove that your injuries are a direct result of the workplace accident. Be sure to maintain supporting documentation, such as copies of your medical bills, copies of medical records, and copies of physician notes and medical excuses.
If possible, get photos of the accident scene and maintain photos of the visible injuries. You should maintain supporting documentation to show any missed work and lost wages. You will want to be reimbursed for those lost wages. Also, be sure to get documentation from your physician if you will need future medical care and require future time off work. An example would be the need for an ankle surgery in the future which would require several weeks off work while you heal.
Types of Ankle Injuries You Could Receive at Work
If you’re on your feet at work, you run the risk of receiving an ankle injury. People who are constantly on their feet such as nurses, package handlers, and fast food workers have a higher risk of ankle injuries than those who have desk jobs. All it takes is a slick floor, a spill, or another hazard that can cause you to hurt your ankle. Common ankle injuries include:
- Sprained ankle;
- Broken ankle;
- A torn tendon;
- Muscle strain; and
Some ankle injuries may require surgery. These surgeries can be expensive, painful, and can cause issues such as arthritis to develop. You may need to attend physical therapy, use crutches, or use an ankle brace.
If you hurt your ankle at work, you should have your ankle examined by a doctor. For minor ankle injuries, you may want to simply make an appointment with a doctor listed on your workers’ compensation policy. If you think that you’ve broken your ankle, make sure that you go to the emergency room. Do not continue to work, even if you feel like you need to work to keep your job. You could make your ankle injury worse.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Ankle Injuries
Workers’ compensation provides many helpful benefits to people who hurt their ankles while on the job. You may be eligible to receive:
- Assistance with your medical expenses. This is probably the most well-known benefit provided by workers’ compensation. You may receive assistance with medical expenses related to your ankle injury. This may include doctor’s appointments, x-rays, MRIs, physical therapy, crutches, surgery, and prescriptions.
- Partial wages. If you’re unable to work either temporarily or permanently because of your ankle injury, you may be eligible to receive a portion of your lost wages from workers’ compensation.
- Training for a new job. If you will no longer be able to work in your chosen occupation, workers’ compensation may provide you with training for a new job. This can help you re-enter the workforce despite your limitation.
Steps For Pursuing A Workers’ Comp Claim For An Ankle Injury
State laws regarding workers’ compensation claims can vary significantly. You will want to make sure you adhere to your state protocol and meet all deadlines. Failure to meet the deadlines could result in a loss of workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits can play a significant role in your family’ finances while you are recovering.
- First, notify your employer of your injury.
- Establish medical care with an in-network provider.
- Maintain thorough documentation to support your claim, such as medical bills and medical records.
- Continue with your follow-up care.
- Document any missed work and lost wages.
- Make sure your employer is kept up to date on your injury and work status.
- Make sure all paperwork is filed in a timely manner.
- Enlist the help of a workers’ compensation lawyer who is licensed to handle such claims in your state.
The Value Of A Workers’ Compensation Claim For An Ankle Injury
No two workers’ compensation claim are the same, and the value of your injury can vary greatly but depends on the severity of the injury and how you will be affected for it in the long run. As an example, a sprained ankle will not result in a settlement as large as you would receive for a compound fracture. If your injury requires surgery and ongoing care, it will lead to a higher loss which will result in workers’ compensation having to pay you more for your lost wages and for your medical expenses. The future losses, such as future medical bills and your future lost wages should also be considered when you ask for a settlement and try to resolve your claim with the insurer and your employer.
Your claim will include any lost wages – past and future and any medical expenses – past and future. Of course, that can vary greatly. If you have a job that requires standing, and your ankle was crushed and required extensive surgery, you may have to switch jobs. If the employment switch costs you earnings, then you will want to make sure that is pointed out when you are trying to settle with your employer for your workers’ compensation claim.
What Can Slow Down The Settlement?
Sometimes settlements seem to go slow, and there are several things that can affect the settlement process. Often, legitimate workers’ compensation claims are denied. In that case, you will need to have a lawyer who can represent you and present the evidence in an organized and timely manner. Of course, the more evidence you have the more likely you are to succeed with your claim.
Often, having witnesses to back up your claim is the evidence that is needed to get your claim approved. Witnesses can verify your accident happened while you were working, how it happened, and how you were injured. The more supporting evidence you have, the more likely you are to get your settlement for your workplace injury. The severity of your injuries will affect the timeframe for approving your claim.
If you have serious injuries, the insurance company will need to know about any future medical care, and you want to make sure you are aware of any permanent or long-term disabilities before you reach a settlement. You don’t want to cut yourself short and lose any compensation that you would otherwise be entitled to receive for your losses as they are associated with your ankle injury while you were on the job.
Your workers’ compensation lawyer will work to get your claim resolved as quickly as possible. Workers’ compensation lawyers work on a contingency basis, so your attorney will not be paid until you win your claim and recover compensation for your losses through a settlement. To make sure you get your claim on track in a timely manner, complete the free case evaluation form to have the details of your case reviewed by a workplace injury lawyer in your state. Time is of the essence, so get your claim underway today before it is too late to pursue a claim and recover benefits.
Learn About Your Workers' Compensation Rights
It’s important that you know and understand your rights under workers’ compensation law. Do not rely on your employer to explain the law to you. You should contact a workers’ compensation attorney to learn more about your rights and to ensure that you get all of the benefits that you deserve.
For more information, check out these tips on applying for workers' compensation with an ankle injury.