Cartilage is connective tissue that provides cushioning for joints and bones. The ears are made up only of cartilage, but other parts of the body have a combination of cartilage, joints, and bones. If there is no cartilage, there can be a great deal of friction that results in a permanent disability. It is easy for a worker's cartilage to be injured in an accident, and it can be difficult for cartilage injuries to heal. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck, our Chicago workers' compensation lawyers may be able to help you secure benefits for work-related cartilage injuries.Benefits Based on Cartilage Injuries
Cartilage can be injured in many different ways. For example, the ends of bones in the knee joint are covered with a tissue known as articular cartilage. Sometimes articular cartilage wears down as a result of aging in a process called osteoarthritis. However, articular cartilage can also be injured in a twisting or pivoting injury through a direct impact to the knee. Common ways that injuries may occur include falls or repetitive work motions.
Sometimes workers assume that a cartilage injury is part of the job, due to the fact that the stress occurs over a period of time rather than in an acute and traumatic event. Cartilage injuries sustained on the job can result in meniscus tears, ligament tears, broken bones, slipped discs, joint dislocation, and falls. An articular cartilage injury can result in swelling of the knee or popping or locking of the knee.
Sometimes an X-ray or MRI catches a cartilage injury. Appropriate treatment varies depending on the symptoms, the worker's unique characteristics, and the size and location of the injury. When there is a lack of blood supply to the articular cartilage, for example, it may be important to restore the cartilage surface with the use of grafts. In some cases, activities may need to be modified, and cortisone injections may be given. There are workers for whom surgery will be recommended.
The surgical procedure to be performed may vary. One surgical procedure is a chondroplasty, in which there is arthroscopic smoothing of frayed or damaged articular cartilage to remove the flaps of cartilage that inflame and irritate the joint. In other instances, a surgeon may graft cartilage plugs taken from a portion of the knee that is not weight-bearing into an area of damage.
If you have a cartilage injury that is work-related, you may be able to recover workers' compensation benefits with the assistance of a work injury lawyer. The Illinois Workers' Compensation Act provides that workers should receive benefits through their employer's workers' compensation insurance without needing to prove fault. However, it is the worker's burden to prove that cartilage injuries are work-related. In some cases, workers' compensation insurers try to claim that cartilage injuries are caused by something else, such as weight lifting or other recreational sports activities. They may conduct surveillance in real life or on social media in order to show that your cartilage injuries are caused by recreational activities rather than the job.
Benefits to which you may be entitled include medical bills and disability benefits. Medical benefits can include payment for surgical and hospital treatment, including medicine, splints, nursing care, and ambulances, if it is reasonably needed to relieve you from the impact of the cartilage injuries.
You can choose where you will receive emergency services. After that, you are limited to choosing two treating doctors or hospitals. After that, you will need to get an employer's approval before seeing other doctors or hospitals. However, you can seek medical treatment wherever you wish if you are willing to pay for the medical care yourself. Your doctor is supposed to keep an employer in the loop about the treatment that you are getting and your ability to work so that benefits are not delayed. Your employer retains the right to have you evaluated on a periodic basis by a doctor whom it chooses, and you can lose your benefits if you refuse to be examined by that doctor.Consult a Dedicated Job Injury Attorney in the Chicago Area
If you suffer cartilage injuries on the job, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck, we represent work accident victims in Chicago, Aurora, Springfield, Champaign, Rockford, and Quincy, as well as other areas of Cook, Kane, Sangamon, Champaign, Winnebago, and Adams Counties. You can call us at 312-263-6330 or toll-free at 800-444-1525 for a free consultation.