You do not expect to leave your home and get injured at work, yet workplace injuries still happen frequently for Virginia employees. When they do, you may find yourself out of work for extended periods of time, and this can have a negative impact on your morale as well as your finances. Also, if you did hurt yourself at work, it is very likely the intricate workers’ compensation process will frustrate you. Pathfinder Injury Law is here to help guide you through that confusing process of workers’ compensation in Virginia and get the help you need.
One work-related injury that is particularly troubling is a hurt hip. Hip injuries can be debilitating, causing permanent pain and mobility issues. They directly affect how you walk, sit, stand, and even work. The last thing you need to be worrying about when experiencing such an injury is whether or not you can count on obtaining workers’ compensation benefits or a workers’ compensation settlement. We know just how to deal with these cases, so call us for guidance!
Workplace injuries can be challenging to overcome in a short period of time, and you need to be aware of what to do when one happens to you. If you suffer an injury to your hip in the workplace in Virginia, there are certain steps you will need to take to better your chances at obtaining workers’ compensation benefits.
Within thirty days of the incident that caused your personal injury, you must submit written notice to your employer. Simply telling your employer about the incident is not ideal; it should be written according to Virginia Code § 65.2-600.
Be sure to include the following in your written incident report:
As the injured worker, you, the claimant, will need to also file a claim with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission no later than two years after the incident. Otherwise, you may give up your right to file such a workers’ comp claim for your injured hip and miss out on any deserved workers’ comp or disability benefits, including those for medical expenses and lost wages.
Once the filing of the injury claim occurs, the Virginia Workers’ Compensation (VWC) Commission will issue a 30-day order to the employer or their insurance company to force them to indicate whether they are accepting or denying the claim.
Your employer or their insurance carrier must make you aware of their intent toward your workers’ compensation claim. They can either accept, deny, or say they are investigating your claim. If they say their intent is to investigate, it means they are stating that they have a lack of sufficient evidence from the employee or another third party to make a determination and will identify what is missing. This is outlined in Virginia Code § 65.2-601. A workers’ comp attorney can review what is missing and work toward proving your claim and potentially seeking workers’ comp benefits and potentially a lump sum payment settlement down the road.
While you always need to report an incident occurring in the workplace, an injury may not qualify for workers’ comp. To determine if your hip injury is eligible, however, consider how you can answer the following questions. Yet, understand that just because you can answer positively to these questions, it does not mean you automatically qualify. You still must go through the entire claims process, and these questions help to identify when an employee can receive coverage in most instances.
Did your hip injury occur while you were at work or during attendance at a work-related function? Also, consider whether there were witnesses to the incident and your injury that can provide confirmation.
Your hip injury must result from a work-related activity, so really give your answer to this question some thought. For example, the answer can sometimes get complex, such as if you are carrying work supplies and you close your car door with a bump of the hip area, and injury occurs. Is this the result of specific work activity?
Pinpoint when the incident occurred and determine if the injury happened suddenly at this time. The important word to focus on here is “sudden.” The reason for this is that injuries occurring gradually or attributable to repetitive trauma are not covered. Only sudden mechanical changes to the body are compensable in Virginia, not injuries that are the result of“everyday pressure.”
The hip is an important structure in the body, serving as a weight-bearing joint that helps you stand upright, stabilize you as you bend or sit, and increase balance as you walk. You might not even be aware of just how much you count on your hips every day while at work and at home.
Located in the areas on either side of your pelvis, the hip is a ball-and-socket joint made up of two main parts, the acetabulum and the femoral head.
The acetabulum is the socket area of the hip located in the interior of the pelvis. The femoral head, or the ball-shaped portion, is located at the top of the femur (thighbone), where it fits within the socket, forming your hip joint.
Bands of tissue, called ligaments, assist in connecting the two together, and small, fluid-filled sacs called bursae create a cushion between the tendons, muscles, and bones within the hip. Extra support is provided by nearby muscles, such as those found in the low back.
Impairment in the hip region of the body can become so severe that you may be entitled to receive partial disability benefits if the injury to the hip causes permanent loss of use in the legs.
While every injurious incident is unique, there are several common causes for hip injuries in the workplace today. However, the causes listed below are far from exhaustive, so do not be dissuaded if you do not see the cause of your particular injury listed.
Also, even if you suffer one of these common causes, when it comes to obtaining workers’ comp or disability benefits, settlements or benefit entitlement are not guaranteed, and injury case value is dependent on a host of different factors that cannot be accurately determined without speaking with a workers’ compensation lawyer.
A slip and fall is one of the most common accidents in the workplace and can lead to devastating hip injuries. The fall accident can be the result of unsafe or dangerous conditions, such as cracked pavement, unsafe stairways, poor lighting, or slippery areas. You can also suddenly fall during the performance of your work.
A crush injury occurs when an employee is crushed by machines or equipment in the workplace. Injuries like this may also occur due to the collapse or fall of materials or being struck by objects in the workplace.
Defective machinery or equipment in the workplace can cause hip injuries during the normal course of your work.
A work-related motor vehicle accident falls under workers’ compensation and commonly causes injury, including to the hip. One type of employee prone to this type of accident is a truck driver or other business courier. Injuries occurring during your commute to and from work or during other non-work-related instances, however, do not qualify except in limited circumstances. You should consult an attorney on this topic.
As an employee, the risk of suffering an injury while working is high, regardless of what type of occupation you hold. Different types of workplace hip injuries employees often suffer include the following.
An acetabular fracture is when there is breakage within the socket part of the hip joint. While not as common as breakage elsewhere in the hip region, an acetabular hip fracture can often require surgery as a way to help re-stabilize the joint. Direct impact or excessive force, such as during a slip and fall or work vehicle accident, are reasons for most of these fractures, and they can often feel like a back injury at first.
Meralgia paresthetica, or burning thigh pain, is a discomforting sensation in the outer thigh area and is due to the compression of the nerve located there. This burning pain is a common hip injury of injured workers who must wear restrictive clothing at work. However, it can also happen from trauma that compresses that same nerve, such as the pressure of a seat belt during a car accident.
A broken thighbone is referred to as a femur shaft fracture injury. Since the thigh bone connects to the hip bone, a fracture here affects your mobility and the body’s stability. Work-related motor vehicle or machinery accidents are common causes. Surgery is often required with this type of injury.
Within the hip, bursae, those tiny fluid-filled sacs that help lubricate and cushion the joint, can become swollen and inflamed, resulting in hip bursitis. Walking becomes difficult, and you may be unable to perform work duties adequately as a result.
A hip dislocation is when the ball portion of the hip joint slips out of its socket. This injury can be extremely painful, restrict your mobility, and cause ligament damage. Work-related incidences that can result in hip dislocations include motor vehicle accidents and taking a fall.
When the tissue that keeps the ball and socket portions of the hip joint together experiences an injury, you have what is called a hip labral tear. This tearing results in pain, a locking-up sensation of the hip, and a reduced range of motion. This type of injury may be the result of a fall or direct trauma while in the workplace.
Osteoarthritis affects the cartilage in the hip area. While this condition often develops over time, osteoarthritis in the hip can occasionally qualify for workers’ compensation if there is an identifiable structural or mechanical change. These kinds of cases tend to be very difficult to prove.
Sometimes, a hip injury cannot be healed through medicine, injections, or physical therapy and needs surgery by an orthopedic specialist. This necessary surgery could potentially be considered part of your medical benefits. However, if there is a denial of medical treatment for your hip injury, you may need to contact a workers’ comp lawyer experienced in winning workers’ compensation cases for legal advice and to help work to overturn this denial.
Your doctor may try various treatments for your hip injury, including steroid injections, physical therapy, or specific medications. Surgery is not usually an option until these other routes have been fully exhausted. If necessary, however, you may need to undergo one of the following common types of hip surgery.
Hip arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgery often used to treat hip labral tears. The orthopedic surgeon will make small incisions in the joint and use a scope and specific instruments to repair the injury through those incisions.
As an alternative to hip replacement surgery, hip resurfacing involves the reshaping of the femoral head (ball part of the hip joint) and a fitting of a cover to assist in how that ball fits within the socket portion.
Total hip replacement surgery involves the full removal of the injured hip, replacing it with a similarly designed prosthesis.
When it comes to defining what the average workers’ comp hip injury settlement value is in Virginia, the answer is dependent on the type of hip injury, the manner in which you sustained it, whether your accident is compensable as a workers’ compensation claim in the first place, the cost of future medical care needs, future lost wages, permanent damage or loss of use, and other potential factors. We know that probably isn’t the answer you want to hear, but every case is unique and requires special consideration from your workers’ compensation attorney.
No two workers’ comp cases are the same, so a value cannot be simply assigned. Anyone who would try and put a firm dollar value or settlement amount on a case before knowing the medical records and the facts of your case thoroughly, quite frankly, should not be trusted. Watch out for those who promise you a certain workers’ comp settlement or lump sum payout without putting in the work first.
Workers’ comp claims can be difficult due to the fact that insurance companies do not want to let go of their money or want to pay as little as possible for anything they do not agree to pay. An attorney with a reputable law firm will help you through this by talking with the insurance company on your behalf as well as the Workers’ Compensation Commission, and taking your case to litigation, if need be, to recoup any money spent on medical bills and more.
Experiencing a workplace accident and suffering an injury because of it is unfortunate, and the days that follow may be challenging and overwhelming. Still, it is imperative that you notify your employer and get the wheels turning to receive benefits under workers’ compensation. Time is limited, and you need the help of a dedicated Virginia workers’ compensation attorney. Call Pathfinder Injury Law today at 804-505-0633 or submit our online contact form for a free consultation. If we retain your case as a client, you will feel heard and sincerely valued, and we will thoroughly review your information and provide the legal advice and backing you need.
Disclaimer: Please note nothing in this article is to be considered legal advice. You should always consult with an attorney about the specific facts of your situation before making any legal decisions. No attorney/client relationship or representation relationship is created by the dissemination of this content or your consumption thereof.