According to the National Institute of Health, there are nearly 100,000 foot injuries each year that cause employees to miss time from work. If you have suffered a work-related foot injury, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits and a possible settlement.
Contact the Wilmington, North Carolina workers’ compensation attorneys at Horton Mendez for the legal advice that you need before you sign a foot injury settlement agreement.
Causes of Work-Related Foot Injuries
The continuous use of your feet on your job raises your risk of injury. Workers can suffer a foot injury in a number of ways on the job. The most common causes of foot injuries are:
- Trauma to the foot
- Sudden twisting motions
- Frequent overuse of the foot
Some foot injuries that can cause you to miss work or require medical treatment include:
- Fractures of the foot: This encompasses both broken bones and stress fractures. Fractures can occur either due to trauma or twisting. A Lisfranc fracture is one of the more serious foot injuries that can require surgery and a long recovery time.
- Plantar fasciitis: The ligament on the bottom of your foot can become irritated from overuse, causing a significant amount of physical pain.
- Bunions: Your toes can become misaligned from extended periods of standing.
- Ligament sprains and tears: Sudden and unnatural twisting can cause damages to the ligaments in your feet and ankles. A torn ankle ligament will mean surgery and extensive rehabilitation.
- Achilles’ injuries: sudden and sharp movements could cause you to tear your Achilles tendon in your heel, requiring serious surgery to repair.
Foot Injuries Can Affect Your Ability to Work
Workers’ compensation payments are based on a work-related injury that leaves you incapable of fully doing your job. In many cases, your stop requires you to move around or stand on your feet all day long.
For example, if you work in a manufacturing job, you may need to stand at a conveyor belt. The continuous strain of standing all day long could cause you to suffer from medical conditions. Even if you are able to do some of your job duties, foot injuries could keep you from some of the more physical aspects of your job.
Medical Treatments for Foot and Ankle Injuries
Foot injuries can require extensive treatment in order for you to recover to the fullest extent possible.
Many of these conditions may require surgery to correct. For example, a Lisfranc fracture could mean a complex surgery where the doctor reduces the bones in the feet and inserts plates and screws. A torn ligament will require reconstructive surgery, where the doctor attaches a tendon from elsewhere in the body.
In addition to surgery, here are some common treatments for job-related foot injuries.
- Injections into the foot
- Physical therapy
- Prescription medications
- Custom bracing or orthotics
Above all, someone who has suffered a foot injury needs rest. They will need to spend an extended period of time off their feet to allow the injury to heal. Even with medical treatment, some foot injuries may not heal or may leave a lasting impact.
How to Open a Workers’ Compensation Claim in North Carolina
The first step to beginning a workers’ compensation claim in North Carolina is notifying your employer of your injury. You have 30 days after your injury to notify your employer. You would lose the right to file for workers’ compensation benefits if you miss the deadline.
Then, you have up to two years to file your claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission. You would fill out the Form 18 and submit it to the Commission. You may want to consider hiring an attorney, especially if you have what could be a complex workers’ compensation claim. If your claim is based on a “wear and tear” injury, the insurance company could deny it.
The Potential Value of Your Workers’ Compensation Settlement
More serious foot injuries will require more extensive treatment and could lead to a lengthy absence from work. In a worst-case scenario, your ability to do physical work in the future could be compromised.
The value of your work-related foot injury depends on the severity of your injury. If your injury is temporary, you would receive two-thirds of your lost wages (up to a statutory cap) until you are able to return to work. Once you reach the point of maximum medical improvement, you may be examined to see whether your disability is permanent. You would receive a disability rating based on the severity of your injury.
North Carolina has a guide that lists the disability ratings depending on the actual medical condition. For example, the limitation of motion in the ankle can receive a rating of up to 50%, depending on the extent of the limitation.
Ankylosis (fusion of the bones in the ankle or foot) can result in a rating between 20-90%, depending on the extent.
Severe foot injuries could result in a settlement worth tens of thousands of dollars or more, depending on the extent of the treatment that you will need in the future. While the average workers’ compensation case for foot injuries is worth roughly $30,000, yours could be worth more.
In addition, your settlement would also pay your medical expenses upfront. You would need a firm grasp of the future value of your case before you accept a settlement offer, and that is where our attorneys can assist.
Contact Us to Ask About Workers’ Compensation Foot Injury Settlements
The attorneys at Horton Mendez can assist you in filing your workers’ compensation claim for a foot injury and negotiating a fair settlement. We can appeal on your behalf if your foot injury claim is denied entirely.
We offer free consultations to prospective clients. You can schedule an appointment to speak with a lawyer by filling out an online contact form or by calling us at 910-405-7751. Our lawyers work for you on a contingency basis, and you do not need to pay anything upfront.