How to secure workers’ compensation benefits if you hurt your foot or ankle while on the job
Ankle and foot injuries are more common than people realize and are likely to, at a minimum, disrupt an employee’s ability to work.
For instance, here at Gerber & Holder, we’ve represented numerous past clients in such cases—including:
- A 59-year-old temporary laborer who fell off a scaffolding and fractured his ankle. This injury required his ankle to be fused.
- A 54-year-old mason who sustained a crush injury to his foot when a concrete wall collapsed on top of him.
- A 30-year-old construction worker who injured his foot when a scissor lift rolled over it.
- A 45-year-old maintenance worker who slipped on the stairs and fractured her foot.
In one particular instance, our client sustained a ligament tear in her foot. We obtained authorization for 3 separate foot surgeries and fought to maintain her workers’ compensation benefits while she recovered from surgery. Following her discharge from medical care, we secured a settlement of $45,000.
Continue reading to learn what to do if you get injured on the job and how to prevent these injuries from occurring.
Workplace foot and ankle injury statistics
According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), in 2017, employers reported over 92,000 foot and ankle injuries that led to time lost from work. The injuries encompassed several industries, showing how reasonably widespread these injuries might be.
Foot injuries are expensive, averaging over $15,000 in costs. Ankle injury costs are typically the more expensive of the 2 injury types, averaging over $17,000 to treat. Although the number of days missed may vary based on the injury and severity, workers lost an average of 5 days of work because of these injuries.
These types of injuries can result in permanent disability, especially without prompt treatment. Avoiding longer-term disability is one of the goals of many seeking treatment after a workplace injury. Be sure to see your doctor right away.
Common foot and ankle injuries in the workplace
There are many possible foot and ankle injuries that can occur at work. Slipping and falling, especially if your foot comes down hard on a hard surface, can lead to fractures and severe bruising. Another common type of foot injury involves a heavy object or load being dropped.
Sprains are a common type of ankle injury, often caused by slipping. Making too many repetitive movements, such as going up and down a ladder or on and off a stool, can increase the injury risk. In many cases, these types of injuries can happen very suddenly, providing little time for effective prevention.
Employees in a variety of jobs with different activity levels may get ankle or foot injuries. Warehouse workers, as well as delivery drivers, are likely to end up with such injuries. Sales employees (such as merchandisers, clerks and restaurant waitstaff), janitors and custodians, and healthcare workers are also at risk for these injuries.
Long-term effects of foot and ankle injuries
Foot and ankle injuries can have long-term effects if not given the proper treatment. One of the most troubling long-term effects is the possibility of arthritis, which is painful and potentially debilitating. People who live with arthritis long-term will often have difficulty performing tasks that involve prolonged standing, a lot of walking or climbing ladders.
A typical long-term effect from ankle injuries, particularly sprains, is ligament damage. Chronic stiffness is also a common problem. Prompt attention is necessary to retain as much use as possible, which makes getting proper compensation necessary.
Workers who end up with long-term results from their injuries may need to work reduced hours or find a different job if they do return to work. Seeking workers’ compensation is a great way for injured workers to get the assistance they need.
How can injured Georgia workers get compensation?
A foot or ankle injury suffered at work in Georgia may allow you to receive workers’ compensation benefits. They provide compensation for lost wages, medical costs and rehabilitation services. In Georgia, these benefits are no-fault, so you aren’t required to prove your employer was at fault to get benefits.
To receive workers’ comp, you will need to file a report with your employer within 30 days of the injury. If approved for benefits, you may be eligible for up to 400 weeks following the injury.
You will need to keep careful records of any treatment received, as a hearing will be part of the process. Staying updated on hearings and other developments is crucial to your case’s overall success. Working with an experienced lawyer is an excellent way to make sure your case goes as smoothly as possible.
Foot and ankle safety tips
Foot safety in the workplace depends on employers and employees recognizing possible threats so appropriate precautions might be taken.
Appropriate shoes that provide ankle and toe protection will help protect your feet at work. Workers in certain industries may need to consider shoes with particular safety features, such as metal insoles to protect from punctures or shoes with impact-resistant toes in settings where there is heavy lifting.
Keep your work areas as free from clutter you might trip over as possible, and clean up spills quickly. Also, avoid distractions or rushing through a job as many accidents happen because of inattentiveness.
If you were injured at work in Georgia and are seeking workers’ compensation benefits, a trained attorney can help you through the process. Our team at Gerber & Holder is willing to fight for your rights.