Knee injuries can be extremely painful and limiting. They may affect your ability to do your job as well as your quality of life. A knee injury can occur at work in one incident or from overuse on the job. Knee injuries can also be a combination of a pre-existing condition plus the stress of work activities. Injury to the knee may entitle you to “permanent partial disability benefits.” These are benefits that are paid based upon the severity of your injury and, in some cases, based upon how it affects your earnings in the future. This is the benefit that is typically discussed for purposes of a settlement of a Workers' Compensation claim.
The Workers' Compensation system provides that benefits are to be paid if you have a permanent injury. The amount you are entitled to receive depends on what part of your body was injured in the work incident. If the injury is to the knee, it is an amount based on your loss of use of that body part. This is typically calculated based upon an impairment rating from the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 5th Edition. It is important to note that the AMA Guides are not dispositive of the issue, and there are ways to receive more than the impairment rating.
Injury to the knee is considered a scheduled injury, meaning that your entitlement is based upon the body part injured. Each body part has a different value in weeks assigned to it. This was set up by the legislature and is dispositive as to the amount of weeks each body part has as its total value. For a leg injury, the maximum value of a loss of leg is 220 weeks. If you injure a part of your leg and sustain something less than a complete loss of your leg, then you are entitled to that percentage times the number of weeks.
For example, if you have a knee injury and the doctor does surgery and ends up indicating that you have a 10% impairment to your leg, you would be entitled to 10% of 220 weeks, or 22 weeks, of benefits at your weekly rate. However, as indicated above, the impairment rating may not be the only amount that can be awarded by the Iowa Workers' Compensation Commissioner. The impairment rating is typically considered the most dispositive factor in determining the loss of use of the body part but is not the only amount that can be awarded.
The calculation of how much you should receive can become very complex, so it is advisable to consult with a skilled Work Comp. attorney, such as Pothitakis Law firm. They offer a free initial consultation to talk about your claim to make sure you are being compensated to the full extent of Iowa law.