If you have suffered an ankle injury at work that prevents you from walking and completing work-related tasks, you may need to stay home for a while to recover. This means you will no longer be receiving your regular income for a considerable period of time.
An ankle injury can take place in virtually any type of occupation because even a slip and fall on ragged carpet in an office can cause an ankle injury. Falling from a height or getting one’s foot caught in an unexpected hazard can cause an ankle injury too.
Fortunately, if you’re in the U.S., an injured worker may still be entitled to claim workers’ compensation if the injury took place at work. This can help to cover the financial hardship when recovering from the ankle injury.
State laws regarding workers’ compensation do vary, but in general, workers’ compensation includes medical benefits to cover the costs of your medical care, and it includes paying about two-thirds of your lost wages while you are recovering.
These two things can have a significant financial impact on your family’s finances after you have suffered injuries in a workplace accident.
High Numbers of Workplace Injuries Are Reported As an Ankle Injury
It is common to see people in an emergency room with a sprained ankle. According to recent statistics presented by OSHA, a sprained ankle occurs in 2.15 people out of 1,000 of the U.S. population. Young adults and teenagers are the most vulnerable, with their incident rate reaching 7.2 out of 1,000 persons in the population.
Costs of Treating an Ankle Injury
Ankle injuries can be expensive to treat. According to CostHelper*, without health insurance the cost of treating a mild to moderate sprained ankle can cost about $500 but treating a fracture that requires a cast can cost as much as $2,500.
Just a single x-ray for diagnosis can cost $180, but there are radiology facilities that will charge as much as $1,000 for a series of ankle x-rays.
Without medical insurance to help cover the costs, the diagnosis of and treatment of a broken ankle ranges from $11,000 to $20,000. But, if that fracture requires surgical intervention, the costs can range from $9,719 to $17,634, and that doesn’t include the physician fees.
Typically, a physician’s fee for treating a fracture could exceed $2,000. So, depending on the extent of your ankle injury, the cost could well exceed $20,000, and if a second surgery is required later, the cost could reach as high as $50,000 over your lifetime.
Causes and Effects of an Ankle Injury
An ankle injury is normally defined by the type of tissue that you have injured. You could have fractured a bone, damaged a ligament (which is referred to as a sprained ankle), strained, or torn an ankle muscle or tendon. If you injure your ankle, you may need to wear a form of ankle support and an elastic compression band in order to minimize pain and swelling, speed up recovery, and add protection to the injured ligaments while they heal.
Calculating the Value of an Ankle Injury
You will need to calculate the value of your workers’ compensation claim. Maintain thorough documentation. Your medical expenses will include your physician visits, any future medical care – such as future surgery, physical therapy, and follow-up visits, lost wages from your inability to work because of the ankle injury and any future lost wages from your inability to work.
Often, instead of receiving weekly checks, injured workers reach a settlement with their employers’ workers’ compensation insurer and they will receive a lump sum settlement. Your workers’ compensation attorney will help you determine the value of your claim and will negotiate a settlement with the insurance company and your place of employment.
The value of your workers’ compensation settlement for your ankle injury can vary greatly. Of course, the severity of the injury, the cost of your medical care, and your length of time off work all come into play. No two workers’ comp settlements are the same.
Here are the things considered when determining the value of your workers’ compensation claim for an ankle injury:
- The level of the impairment rating
- Your age
- Your occupation
- The need for future medical care
- The time off work
To ensure you get the best possible settlement, enlist the help of a workers’ compensation attorney who handles such claims in your area.
Plus, if you’re in a relatively physically demanding job such as a stock clerk or landscaper, you may find that there are more instances where you need to avoid injury.
It is important to get treatment as soon as possible for an ankle injury to avoid a reoccurrence later on. Billions of dollars in workers’ compensation are paid out every year for ankle injuries, with 25,000 Americans injuring their ankles every day in the U.S.
How an Ankle Injury Affects Employment and Compensation
If you have filed a workers’ compensation claim for your ankle injury, you should expect to be paid up to two-thirds of your present salary or wage. The cost of medical treatment will be added on top of this amount.
There are some situations that could occur due to an ankle injury, including:
- Temporary Total Disability, which is when your ankle injury stops you from working for just a short period.
- Permanent Total Disability could take place with an ankle injury if the injury is very severe. This means you would never return to work in this job or any other that you would normally be suited for.
- Temporary Partial Disability occurs when an ankle injury prevents you from fully taking part in the job duties assigned to you. It may not last too long.
- Permanent Partial Disability is possible with an ankle injury, which means recovery may take longer than expected. In this scenario, you may not be able to return to work and perform a full-time role.
When you have gotten to the end of your medical care or treatment, your physician will provide what is called a whole person impairment (WPI) rating, which is based on your recovery and whether your ankle is back to the same condition it was before the accident.
In this report, your physician should outline the potential need for future medical care and should be able to determine if you will be able to return to the same job with the normal functionality.
You Will Need To Gather Evidence to Prove Your Claim
A physician will diagnose your ankle injury and decide what treatment is necessary. You should ensure the diagnosis is recorded clearly on paper so that it can be attached to a workers’ comp claim.
The claims process can vary from one state to another, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the deadlines and the requirements. Be sure to notify your employer of the injury right away, detailing what happened and how you were injured.
Also, most employers have a network of providers for workers’ compensation claims. Be sure to get a copy of this list and seek treatment from an in-network provider, so you will not get stuck paying for the treatments.
If you have any other proof (like witness reports) that can confirm that your injury was a result of an accident at work, this sort of evidence can help to support your workers' compensation claim.
Your supporting documentation will include the accident report, medical records, documentation that shows your missed work, the WPI rating, and the outline of your future abilities and the need for any future medical care.
You will need to present the long-term picture of what has happened since the workplace injury and the outlook for your future after the physician has released you from his or her medical care.
You May Need To Hire an Attorney
To ensure you get the workers’ comp you are entitled to, it may be a good idea to hire an experienced workers’ comp attorney. This will help to make sure you get as much of the workers’ compensation that you are entitled to as possible.
When you enlist the help of a workers’ compensation lawyer, you will not have to pay anything out of pocket. Workers’ compensation lawyers work on a contingency basis, so your attorney will not be paid until you get a settlement for your ankle injury workers’ compensation case.
There are different state laws regarding workers’ compensation claims, so you will want to get your claim underway right away, so you don’t miss the deadline. Schedule your free case evaluation with a workers’ compensation attorney who is licensed in your state, so he or she is familiar with the state laws regarding the workplace injury claims process.