Workers' Comp Knee Injury Settlements: Average Payout Amounts (2022)

By Matthew Carter, Esq.Updated / Reviewed Jul 12, 2021

Learn how to calculate a workers’ compensation knee injury settlement. We review examples of common work-related knee injuries and average payout amounts.

On This Page

  • Settlements for Work-Related Knee Injuries
  • Understanding Workers’ Comp Settlements

Your knees are critical for maintaining your mobility and independence. Knee injuries can lead to decreased mobility and in some cases the complete inability to walk. A variety of conditions in the workplace can lead to knee injuries.

Whether we suffer a slip and fall accident in the office kitchen or an industrial accident in a warehouse, a knee injury can put us out of commission for weeks or months. It may even lead to a lasting disability that keeps us from working.

This article looks at work-related knee injuries and workers’ compensation claims. We’ll examine common types of knee problems and their treatment, the workers’ compensation claim process, and what you might expect from an insurer for a work-related knee injury settlement.

See average settlement amounts for different work injuries here.

Settlements for Work-Related Knee Injuries

Workers' Comp Knee Injury Settlements: Average Payout Amounts (1)

The adjuster at a workers’ compensation insurance company will have seen many knee injuries like yours, and will know the approximate lump-sum settlement value.

(Video) Workers' Compensation Settlements for a Knee Injury

Thus, you need to arm yourself with the same kind of knowledge. It helps to retain a qualified workers’ compensation attorney in your state with experience in workers’ compensation settlements.

The kind of medical treatment you need will be the primary driver of your workers’ comp settlement amount. Because knee surgery is so expensive, the need for it will almost always increase the value of your injury claim. Other common medical expenses include medication, physical therapy, and cortisone shots.

Average Knee Injury Settlement Ranges

A knee injury that can be fixed with light physical therapy and medication might settle for somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000.

Different kinds of surgeries can increase the value in different ways. Surgery to repair a broken patella (kneecap) can easily raise the economic value of a claim above $50,000 when disability benefits are added to the mix.

On the other hand, surgery for a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and the associated medical care may raise the value of a workers’ compensation claim to $80,000 or more.

As you read the examples below, keep in mind that workers’ comp claims do not include pain and suffering in the same way that a settlement for a civil personal injury case would. Thus, these average settlement amounts will be lower than the amounts in a standard personal injury case.

Broken or Dislocated Kneecap Injury

Workers' Comp Knee Injury Settlements: Average Payout Amounts (2)

The patella, more commonly known as the kneecap, sits at the front of your knee and covers the joint. Its underside is covered with cartilage that helps your knee’s various muscles and bones move smoothly as you walk. It also protects your knee joint from violent impacts and injuries.

It is this protective placement of the patella that makes it vulnerable to injuries. Often, when people trip and fall they fracture their patella when landing on their knees.

Patella fractures can make movement of the knee excruciatingly painful and even damage the delicate tendons in the knee, sometimes requiring surgery to put everything back where it belongs.

Even if a patella isn’t fractured, it can still be dislocated. Here, even though the bone itself is not broken, the muscles and tendons around it may be stretched or torn. Though dislocations often do not require surgery, that can change if the damage to the surrounding tissue is bad enough.

Workers’ comp wage replacement benefits are typically two-thirds of pre-injury income. In our examples, we’ll multiply the victim’s pre-injury wages by 0.67 to get an estimated wage benefit.

Example: Office Fall Causes Broken Kneecap

George works in the information technology department of a large accounting firm in Las Vegas, Nevada. He makes $20 per hour. He works in an area with a number of cubicles.

(Video) How Much Is A Knee Injury Workers Compensation Case Worth?

One of his co-workers plugs in a laptop across the walkway near George’s cubicle. As he is coming back from the restroom, George fails to see the cord in his path and trips over it. He lands on his right knee, and the pain is immediate and sharp.

He is taken to the hospital, where x-rays show that he broke his patella in two places. The edge of the broken bone has also partially cut through some of the tendons around his knee. George will need surgery to repair the damage.

Due to the surgery and severity of his fracture, George will be out of work for four months while he recovers.

Medical treatment: (hospital, doctors and medical imaging) $5,000

Lost wages benefit: ($800 per week × 16 weeks × 0.67) $8,576

Surgery: $30,000 (note: a total knee replacement surgery would likely increase this amount to $50,000)

Physical therapy (3 times per week for 4 months): $9,600

Estimated workers’ comp settlement value: $53,176

Torn ACL Knee Injuries

Workers' Comp Knee Injury Settlements: Average Payout Amounts (3)

Your ACL is a crucial knee ligament that enables your knee to move back and forth. Damage to the ACL can happen when there is a severe impact to the knee. It can also happen as a result of repetitive stress or certain types of continuous movement.

If you suffer an ACL injury as a result of a workplace accident, chances are that you will not be able to walk properly. You may not even be able to put weight on the affected leg.

Surgery for ACL injuries has advanced considerably, with arthroscopic surgery available for less serious cases. Open surgery is still used in some cases, though, and it can cost as much as $50,000.

Example: Torn ACL from Construction Accident

Madge is a construction worker in northern California where she earns the average weekly wage of $680, or $17 per hour. As part of her job moving lumber and other building supplies, she and her co-workers often use forklifts. One day, while Madge was at a work site, her co-worker lost control of a forklift and drove it into Madge’s left leg.

(Video) How Much Are Knee Injury Cases Worth for Settlement in Maryland?

Madge was rushed to the emergency room. Tests showed that Madge suffered not only a fracture, but a torn ACL. Due to the speed and force of the impact on her knee, Madge will need open ACL surgery. She will not be able to walk or do her job for at least 6 months.

Past medical bills: (hospital, doctors and medical imaging) $5,000

Lost wages benefit: ($680 per week × 16 weeks × 0.67) $7,289.60

Surgery: $50,000

Physical therapy: (3 times per week for 6 months) $14,400

Estimated workers’ comp settlement value: $76,690

Understanding Workers’ Compensation Settlements

Workers’ compensation benefits do not cover the full amount of an injured employee’s wages. Wage replacement disability benefits typically cover about two-thirds of the injured worker’s average weekly wage. Worker’s comp will not compensate you for pain and suffering.

Workers’ compensation programs provide immediate medical care for eligible employees and partial wage replacement. The trade-off is that an injured employee cannot sue their employer except in extreme circumstances.

You may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer if your workplace knee injury was caused by intentional or egregious negligence. In a personal injury lawsuit, you can seek compensation for all your damages, including your full wages and emotional distress.

Medical Benefits and Knee Injury Settlements

Workers’ compensation insurance will only cover reasonable and necessary medical costs for your knee injury. Your treating physician must document the need for surgery, and justify the amount of time you will be unable to work.

Depending on your state’s workers’ compensation laws, chiropractic care or “alternative” treatments may not be covered by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance.

Before settling your workers’ compensation case for a lump sum, it’s important to accurately calculate future medical expenses and include those expenses in the final settlement amount.

Most insurance companies will want you to waive future medical care as part of the settlement. If you waive medical benefits, the cost of any future medical care for your work-related injury is your responsibility.

Disability Wage Settlement Schedules

Your work-related knee injury may have left you with a degree of permanent damage to your knee. In workers’ comp terms, you are left with a permanent partial disability.

(Video) Workers' Comp Settlements

Federal and most states’ workers’ compensation programs use a loss-of-use schedule of injuries to calculate permanent disability settlements. The schedule allocates a specific number of wage benefit weeks for each body part or function.

A scheduled settlement award can be requested after you’ve reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). In other words, your doctor says your knee won’t get any better with treatment. Your doctor will then give you an impairment rating between 10% and 100%.

For example, using the New York State’s Loss of Use Schedule, the maximum award for a knee/leg injury is 288 weeks.

The settlement is calculated by using the worker’s weekly wage benefit and the medically determined impairment rating. If you have a 25% impairment rating, you would get 72 weeks of wage benefits. Let’s say your workers’ comp weekly wage benefit is $800. The wage portion of your workers’ compensation settlement would be 72 x $800 = $57,600.

Getting Back on Your Feet

Even a relatively minor workplace injury, like a knee strain or sprain, can seriously disrupt both your personal life and your career for a number of weeks.

If you suffer a work injury to your knee, it’s important to make a worker’s comp claim as soon as possible. If you don’t, you risk losing the right to get any compensation under your state’s laws.

If you or a loved one has suffered a serious knee injury while at work, you need to know how to maximize your workers’ comp benefits. Most injury attorneys offer a free consultation. Don’t wait to seek legal advice from a qualified workers’ comp lawyer for your knee injury case.

(Video) Understanding the Work Comp Settlement Process

Matthew Carter, Esq. has been a licensed attorney since 2004. He’s admitted to practice law in California and Nevada, where he was awarded the Martindale.com rating of AV – Preeminent. Matthew has successfully handled a variety of personal injury and wrongful death cases, as well as trials, appeals, and evidentiary hearings throughout state and federal... Read More >>

FAQs

Workers' Comp Knee Injury Settlements: Average Payout Amounts? ›

Average Workers Comp' Knee Injury Settlements
Severity of Knee InjuryEstimated Settlement Amounts
Mild$1,000 – $21,748
Moderate to Severe$21,748- $32,622
Extremely Severe$32,622 (+)

How much money can you get from a knee injury? ›

The average compensation payout for a knee injury in a personal injury case is between $70,000 to $150,000. The more serious knee injuries can have much higher than average settlement values.

How much compensation do you get for a torn meniscus? ›

The compensation that you can get for a torn meniscus can vary anywhere from as low as $10,000-$15,000 to as high as $115,000-$150,000 on average depending on the treatment needed and the severity of the initial injury.

What is a severe knee injury? ›

One of the most common knee injuries is a torn or split meniscus. Severe impact or twisting, especially during weight bearing exercise, can tear this cartilage. Tears of the meniscus can also occur in older people due to wear and tear. Symptoms include swelling, pain and the inability to straighten the leg.

What is the highest Workmans Comp settlement? ›

To date, the largest settlement payment in a workers' comp case came in March of 2017, with a $10 million settlement agreement.

How much is a torn ACL worth? ›

The average settlement value of ACL or PCL injuries is between $50,000 to $110,000. The most serious ligament injury cases can have an even higher value of more than $200,000. This applies to civil personal injury car accident lawsuits. The average workers' comp settlement for a torn ACL is generally much less.

Does workers comp cover torn meniscus? ›

If you sustained your torn meniscus injury on the job, you should be entitled to receive workers' compensation benefits. This is especially true if your injury is severe enough that you cannot perform your job because you are in extreme pain.

What is a good settlement offer for a torn meniscus? ›

The average settlement value of a torn meniscus in a personal injury lawsuit is around $25,000 to $50,000. The primary factors that impact value in these cases are the severity of the tear and the level and extent of medical treatment required.

Is a torn meniscus a serious injury? ›

Not necessarily. Left untreated, a meniscus tear can limit your daily life and ability to participate in exercise and sports. In serious cases, it can develop into long-term knee problems, like arthritis.

Is a meniscus tear permanent? ›

Left unrepaired, a meniscus injury can linger for years, causing pain and limited mobility. An unrepaired meniscus tear increases the risks of further injury and permanent damage to the knee. Meniscus injuries are typically the result of a quick twist to the knee.

What are 3 common knee injuries? ›

Some of the more common knee injuries include:
  • ACL injury. An ACL injury is a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) — one of four ligaments that connect your shinbone to your thighbone. ...
  • Fractures. ...
  • Torn meniscus. ...
  • Knee bursitis. ...
  • Patellar tendinitis.
May 11, 2021

What types of knee injuries require surgery? ›

These might require professional diagnosis and surgery if the injury is severe enough.
  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries.
  • Meniscus injuries.
  • Articular cartilage injuries.
  • Patella injuries.

How long do most workers comp settlements take? ›

How Long Does It Take to Reach a Settlement for Workers' Comp? The entire settlement process—from filing your claim to having the money in your hands—can take around 12-18 months depending on the details of your case and whether or not you have legal representation.

How long does it take to get paid after a settlement? ›

While rough estimates usually put the amount of time to receive settlement money around four to six weeks after a case it settled, the amount of time leading up to settlement will also vary. There are multiple factors to consider when asking how long it takes to get a settlement check.

What is a lump-sum compensation payment? ›

A lump-sum payment is an amount paid all at once, as opposed to an amount that is divvied up and paid in installments. A lump-sum payment is not the best choice for every beneficiary; for some, it may make more sense for the funds to be annuitized as periodic payments.

Is a torn ACL a disability? ›

Can I get disability for my torn ACL? You can get Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits or SSI disability benefits for your torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) if you can prove to the Social Security Administration (SSA) that your injury prevents you from working any type of job.

What happens if I tear my ACL at work? ›

In most cases where an ACL tear is detected, there will be additional damage to other components of the knee. Since you are reliant on the knee for every step you take, a painful ACL tear will make it extremely difficult to continue work without medical intervention.

Is knee dislocation a disability? ›

If your joint pain or immobility is severe enough to meet or equal the listing, you will be considered disabled. The listing for major dysfunction of a joint is 1.02. It has 2 parts: A and B. You will meet the listing and be eligible for Social Security disability benefits if you meet either of the two parts.

What is the impairment rating for torn meniscus? ›

According to Table 16-3 (Knee Regional Grid) on page 509, Dr. Estaris identified meniscal injury as the diagnosis-based impairment (DBI), class 1 with a default value of two percent for partial medial meniscectomy.

Can you make a full recovery from a torn meniscus? ›

Most people who tear a meniscus can return to full activity. If you have surgery to repair a torn meniscus, your knee should be fully recovered after a few months of physical therapy.

How long are you out for torn meniscus surgery? ›

If you sit at work, you may be able to go back in 1 to 2 weeks. But if you are on your feet at work, it may take 4 to 6 weeks. If you are very physically active in your job, it may take 3 to 6 months.

How much compensation do you get for a torn meniscus UK? ›

£6,020 to £13,740 compensation for knee injuries that result in permanent ongoing minor symptoms. £14,840 to £26,190 compensation for major knee injuries such as a dislocated knee or a torn meniscus.

What is the impairment rating for torn meniscus? ›

According to Table 16-3 (Knee Regional Grid) on page 509, Dr. Estaris identified meniscal injury as the diagnosis-based impairment (DBI), class 1 with a default value of two percent for partial medial meniscectomy.

What is the disability rating for meniscus surgery? ›

The VA Rating Schedule for Meniscus and Similar Knee Issues

Under DC 5258, a 20 percent rating is warranted for dislocated semilunar cartilage with frequent episodes of “locking,” pain, and effusion (swelling) into the joint. The term “dislocated” includes “torn,” so a torn meniscus will be evaluated under DC 5258.

Is a meniscus tear career ending? ›

For athletes, a meniscus tear can be season-ending. However, meniscus tears do not have to be career-ending injuries as long as the sufferers are promptly diagnosed and treated and follow all of the doctor's recommendations.

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