Getting injured on the job can be very disruptive, even if the injury seems minor. For example, if you hurt your knee at work while lifting something heavy or awkward, you might be tempted to “push through” the pain because you can’t afford time off work. But is that the best idea? If your knee has been strained, how long should you stay off of it? Should you go to the doctor right away or wait and see if it gets better on its own? Does this injury qualify for workers’ compensation? Let’s explore these questions in more detail, so you know how to care for yourself when something like this happens.
Should You Rest Your Knee?
In a word—yes. If you are experiencing significant pain while walking or taking steps after hurting your knee on the job, continuing to use the knee could lead to aggravated injuries. Failing to rest an injured knee could be construed as a careless or intentional act. If you do end up needing medical care, worker’s compensation might try to deny your claim if your aggravated injuries were preventable. It may be inconvenient to take time off, but not doing so could actually be more costly for you in the long run.
Should You Seek Medical Care?
Again—yes! Even if you believe it’s just a minor strain that will heal with rest, it’s still a good idea to see a doctor for any on-the-job injury, especially one that requires time off work to heal. In California, even minor injuries qualify for workers’ compensation, and the doctor’s visit gives you documentation of the injury to file your claim. You can see the company’s physician, or if you’ve predesignated your doctor with your employer in writing, go to your own doctor. If you don’t seek any medical attention, you run the risk that workers’ comp will deny your claim.
How Long to Stay Off Your Knee?
Assuming the injury is minor, such as a strain, you may only need to rest the knee for a couple of days before heading back to work—perhaps a week at most. This will allow the injury to fully heal and prevent further damage from being done while you’re out of work. During this time, try using compression bandages or ice packs on your knee to reduce swelling and help with pain management. The pain factor is your measuring rod, so to speak: when the knee stops hurting, you’re probably good to go. On the other hand, if the pain doesn’t get better or worsens over time, you should see the doctor if you haven’t already. For more significant injuries, you could be looking at additional treatment and weeks or even months of recovery.
If you are in doubt about whether your hurt knee qualifies for workers’ compensation—or if you encounter difficulty trying to get your claim processed—the attorneys at Accident Defenders can help. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 323-818-HURT or fill out our online contact form.