Did you or a loved one suffer a bone, ligament, muscle or joint injury at work?
Our Macon, GA workers’ compensation attorneys can make sure you’re appropriately compensated.
577 Mulberry St, Suite 600
Macon, GA 31201-8242
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Attorneys available on weekends by appointment
On-the-job orthopedic injuries can happen to anyone, whether you have a sedentary and cozy office job or you perform physically demanding work on a hectic construction site. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over a third (37 percent) of total workplace injuries that required days off work to recover in 2015 involved orthopedic injuries such as sprains, strains and tears. Most of these injuries were caused by overexertion or bodily reaction, and a majority of injuries were to the back, shoulder and knee.
“Orthopedics” is a specialized practice of medicine that deals with injuries and deformities to your bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles. Any injury that occurs to the musculoskeletal system as a result of trauma or repetitive motion is considered an orthopedic injury.
This branch of medicine is not practiced by many general physicians, which means patients are often referred to orthopedic specialists for diagnosis and treatment. This referral can be costly and add up sooner or later. In addition, recovering from an orthopedic injury can be painful and result in temporary limited mobility, which might make it difficult or impossible to go back to work until you’re fully healed.
But sadly, obtaining these benefits isn’t always as easy as it seems. Employers and their insurance companies often put up a fight or deny a claim if they suspect that the injury wasn’t work-related or was the result of a pre-existing condition.
At the law firm of Westmoreland, Patterson, Moseley & Hinson, our Macon workers’ compensation attorneys can help secure your maximum benefits available for you and your family, including:
- Medical expenses (hospital and emergency room bills, doctor’s visits, treatment and surgery, therapy, prescriptions, etc.)
- Lost wages (both past and future)
- Travel expenses (mileage reimbursement)
- Vocational rehabilitation (job retraining)
- Disability benefits (TPD, TTD, PPD, PTD)
- Death benefits (funeral and burial expenses in the event of a fatal accident
We have represented hundreds of injured workers throughout the state of Georgia for over 50 years. We can help you take the right steps and negotiate on your behalf. We have the experience, knowledge and commitment to see your claim through to the end and secure the best possible outcome.
What are the most common occupational orthopedic injuries?
In the workplace, orthopedic injuries can range widely — from minor sprains and muscle strains to painful bone fractures and carpal tunnel. They can be caused by a traumatic event (such as a car accident), overexertion and repetitive motion (sprain or strain) and a sudden reaction (slip, trip and fall).
Some of the most common types of work-related orthopedic injuries we see include:
- Wrist fracture. There are 8 tiny carpal bones in the human wrist. When 1 or more of these bones cracks or breaks, this is known as a wrist fracture. By far the most common cause of wrist fractures (in the workplace and elsewhere) is a fall, since a person’s natural instinct when falling is to put out their arms and hands to try to catch the fall and protect their head. Depending on the severity of the injury, a wrist fracture may require a cast or even surgery.
- Shoulder dislocation. Your shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint. When the arm bone fully or partially pops out of the shallow shoulder socket, this is what’s known as a shoulder dislocation. If your shoulder was dislocated, you may have to take time off work to recover. If the injury happened while you were on the clock, you should be eligible for workers’ compensation.
- Ankle and foot sprain. If you suddenly twist, roll or turn your foot in an awkward way, this motion can stretch or tear ligaments and tissue that hold your ankle or foot together, resulting in a sprained ankle. While most sprains can be treated at home with some ice and rest, severe sprains may require medical evaluation and intervention. After you’ve sprained your ankle or foot once, it’s more likely to happen again. It’s important to be vigilant in providing support for your weakened joints.
- ACL tear. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) connects the thighbone to the shinbone and runs through the middle of your knee. Your ACL helps provide stability while you stand, walk and run. When the ACL tears, surgery and physical therapy are often required for treatment, possibly requiring you to take weeks or months off work. A torn ACL in the workplace is most commonly caused when a worker suddenly falls, trips, jumps, twists or hits their knee against a hard object.
- Carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway of tendons, ligaments, nerves and bones between the hand and wrist. Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) occurs when a nerve in this narrow passageway gets pinched, resulting in numbness, weakness, tingling and pain in your fingers. CTS (in addition to tendonitis or bursitis) is especially common among workers who overuse their fingers, hands and arms for repetitive tasks.
- Tennis elbow. Medically known as lateral epicondylitis, tennis (or golfer’s) elbow occurs when the tendons in your elbow are overexerted or overloaded, often due to repetitive motions of the arm and wrist. In spite of the name, tennis players aren’t the only ones who can get this painful condition. Painters, carpenters, construction workers, loggers, restaurant workers, plumbers and assembly line and factory workers all frequently suffer from tennis elbow.
- Stress fracture. Overuse and repetitive activities can weaken the muscles and ligaments that protect the bone over time, resulting in tiny stress fractures. Though these cracks may be small, they can be extremely painful and debilitating. Stress fractures are especially common in occupations that generate prolonged stress and force to a worker’s feet, legs or back caused by moving or lifting.
- Rotator cuff injury. The group of muscles and tendons that encompass your shoulder joint and keep your arm bone locked inside the shoulder socket is called the “rotator cuff.” When these rotator cuff tendons are injured, it can cause a dull ache in your shoulder that can quickly worsen and cause serious pain. These types of injuries increase with age and are more common in people who must reach overhead for their jobs, such as painters, carpenters and warehouse workers.
- Plantar fasciitis. Also known as “policeman’s heel,” plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the thick web of tissue running across the bottom of your foot that connects your heel bone to your toe bones (plantar fascia). Symptoms can include a stabbing pain near your heel. Workers who must be on their feet all day with little rest are most at risk for plantar fasciitis, such as factory and warehouse workers, teachers and postal workers.
- Meniscus tear. The meniscus is a small C-shaped piece of rubbery cartilage that protects the knee from shock and adds cushion. When the meniscus tears, you may suffer pain, swelling and stiffness in the knee. Mobility may be difficult, and in severe cases you may require surgery. Twisted knees are one of the most common orthopedic injuries.
What to do after a work-related accident
If you believe you suffered an orthopedic injury (or another serious injury) while working, you should report it to your employer and seek medical attention immediately. The sooner a doctor or orthopedic specialist can diagnose your injury, the less chance that you will further injure the bone or tissue, resulting in a faster recovery. It’s likely that your employer or their insurance company will give you a list of workers’ compensation doctors that you must visit. You can ask to use a physician of your choosing instead, but this must be pre-approved by your employer or their insurance company.
After you’ve received treatment and notified your employer, it’s important to go through all the necessary steps to filing a workers’ compensation claim — starting with completing and submitting a WC-14 form with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. Be sure to provide a copy to your employer and/or their insurance carrier and don’t forget to keep a copy for yourself, too. This form should be filed within 30 days from the date of injury (or the date of discovery of the injury).
During this time, it can also benefit you to consult with an experienced and knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer near you to get help properly documenting your injuries, calculating the full cost of your workplace injury and appealing a denied claim.
How to prevent orthopedic injuries in the workplace
As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” — and this is especially true for workplace orthopedic injuries. The best way to avoid the top orthopedic injuries is to stay in tune with your body and recognize the signs that you’re getting fatigued. Fatigue and overexertion are the most common causes of occupational orthopedic injuries.
If you do get hurt on the job, don’t be afraid to ask for help. First, you should seek immediate medical attention. But also take steps to secure your workers’ compensation benefits by consulting an experienced law firm in your area that specializes in these types of cases. Understand that the clock is ticking and your employer (or their insurance company) ultimately has their bottom line in mind — not your personal well-being.
“Great staff. Very professional and knowledgeable. Staff went out of their way to accommodate us in every way possible. Made the whole process less painful. They made sure we understood everything that was going on and would answer any questions a hundred times over if needed.”
The resources needed to win
Unlike some work injury attorneys who settle all of their cases, we are not afraid to appeal a denied claim if needed. Our firm has the resources needed to thoroughly prepare, try and win complicated cases.
We are dedicated to doing everything legally and ethically possible to obtain the best results for our injured clients. Hard work and dedication have allowed us to recover millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients in workers’ compensation and personal injury claims.
Hurt on the job?
Schedule your free consultation at our Macon law firm
If you were seriously injured at work, reach out to our Macon attorneys immediately to learn what to do next and how to protect your rights before it’s too late. We can help you file a work injury claim and secure the maximum benefits owed to you. If your benefits were unfairly denied, we’ll fight to appeal the decision and help hold any negligent third party accountable for your pain and suffering.
If you have questions, give us a call or contact us online for your free consultation with a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer. From offices in Macon, Albany and Warner Robins, we help injured workers throughout Georgia. Don’t settle for less, get more.