Suffering an hip injury on the job can be frustrating, confusing, and life-altering. At the Law Offices of Nathaniel F. Hansford, LLC, we know how damaging such an injury can be. You may be wondering whether you can ever return to work following your accident or if you will ever be at the same capacity. Fortunately, our firm is here to take some of the legal burden off your shoulders. When you trust your hip injury claim to our Atlanta hip injury attorneys, you can be confident knowing we will carefully gather the evidence and information necessary to craft the strongest workers’ comp claim possible.
Our seasoned workers’ compensation lawyers in Atlanta are ready to help. Call 770-922-3660 for a FREE consultation!
What You Should Do After a Hip Injury at Work
A hip injury can become extremely dangerous if it is not addressed right away. What might begin as a small fracture can become a large break in the hip bone or joints due to adding stress from walking, lifting, and moving around. If you think you have hurt your hip at work, then it is crucial that you take some steps to preserve your health and get your work injury or workers’ comp claim moving in the right direction.
After a hip injury at work, you should:
- Tell your boss: Notify your employer as soon as you can about your accident. If you are in severe pain or cannot move, then you should stay put, get the attention of a coworker, and have them bring your supervisor, who can then notify the employer about your accident.
- See a doctor: You should allow yourself to be taken to urgent care or an emergency room for immediate medical assistance if you have suffered a hip injury at work. Your hip could be broken, so there might not be time to decide if you should see a doctor. It is better to assume you need help and go, especially since workers’ compensation benefits should cover all of your medical treatments.
- Fill out an accident report: When you are stabilized or not in immediate danger or intense pain, you should fill out an accident report with your employer. Depending on the severity of your hip injury, you might take this step before seeing a medical provider. When you fill out the accident report, it can take up to three weeks for the insurance company to approve or deny your claim. However, you can still receive initial medical care as needed if you are covered by workers’ compensation.
- Speak with an attorney: Once you file an injury report, you won’t need to do anything else for your employer, not right away. But you will still want to work on your own claim and prepare for any trouble from the insurance company. Give yourself a fair chance of success by teaming up with our team.
Hip Injuries Caused by Work Accidents
Some of the most common hip injuries cited in workers’ compensation claims are:
- Fractures: Even minor fractures to the hip can cause significant pain and immobility. With falls being one of the more common types of workplace accidents, hip fractures are also not uncommon.
- Strains: Incorrect lifting techniques and overextending a leg can pull the hip and groin, resulting in painful strains that cause immobility for weeks or longer as they heal.
- Labral tears: The ball-and-socket joint of the hip has labrum tissue in it to pad the joint. If the labrum is torn, every step can cause excruciating pain.
- Post-traumatic arthritis: After a tear, strain, or fracture heals, the hip can continue to experience complications in the form of arthritis. With each subsequent hip injury, the risk of arthritis escalated.
- Meralgia paresthetica: Another healing-related complication is meralgia paresthetica, which is an irritation or compression of the nerves in the hip. Scarred and damaged tissue can become misshapen or misplaced, affecting nearby nerves. Symptoms of this condition usually manifest as a constant burning sensation in the hip or thigh.
Hip Injury Aftercare
Mild hip injuries like a flexor tear or strain can take three to six weeks to fully recover. Muscle injuries can take several months, but hip bone injuries can take even longer. Throughout that time, you will need to be careful about how you move around, or you could exacerbate the injury.
Pay close attention to any aftercare instructions you are given by the medical provider who treated your hip injury. They will probably instruct you to take painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicines as prescribed, keep weight off your feet as much as possible, and only walk with a cane or walker. If the pain in your hip worsens, your legs or toes feel numb, you cannot stand at all, or you develop a high fever, then you should return to the emergency department immediately.
Following aftercare instructions as closely as you can is crucial in a hip injury case. Insurance companies often try to deny future medical treatment coverage and cancel workers’ comp benefits entirely by arguing that the claimant failed to take care of themselves once they were out of the hospital.
The Cost of a Hip Injury: Lack of Mobility, Rehab & Physical Therapy
A hip injury isn’t your average injury. When a worker endures a hip injury, they are severely limiting their mobility. More than that, such injuries can require extensive rehabilitation, medical attention, and physical therapy for a long period of time. In some cases, an individual may never be able to regain the agile mobility and endurance they once had. This can limit the type of work certain individuals may be able to return to.
Our firm knows how costly these injuries can be to workers:
- Fractured hips
- Hip replacements
- Avascular necrosis
If you have suffered any of the above or related hip injuries, from torn muscles to damaged ligaments in the hip joint area, our Atlanta hip injury attorneys are ready to help.
Is Hip Replacement Surgery Covered by Workers’ Comp?
Workers’ compensation benefits should cover all aspects of the medical treatments that you need to recover from a hip injury. However, what is “needed” can be debated by the insurance company. If you are considering hip replacement surgery, then you can expect the insurance company to argue that it is not needed – and they might be right if you cannot prove otherwise.
The issue becomes that many doctors only recommend hip replacement surgery as an absolute last-resort medical treatment because it is inherently risky. To keep their patients out of the surgery room, physicians will often try to exhaust every other possible hip treatment available.
Hip injury treatments that aren’t replacement surgery vary, such as:
- Surgery to repair tendons and muscles or fuse bone, but not a total replacement
- Prescription medications to alleviate pain and restore some mobility
- Injection treatments like those that use blood platelets to encourage healing
- Solutions using medical equipment like walkers and wheelchairs
The workers’ compensation insurance provider might try to argue that all of the alternative treatment options are pieces of proof that total hip replacement surgery is unnecessary. As an unnecessary or option treatment method, it would not be covered by workers’ compensation.
Additional Care After a Hip Replacement Surgery
When an insurance company approves hip replacement surgery through workers’ compensation, its obligations to the injured worker are not over. Hip replacement surgeries are complicated procedures that require plenty of aftercare, which might include additional surgeries. Your worker’s compensation medical benefits should not end until you have reached your maximum medical improvement (MMI) as acknowledged by your treating physician. If you need hip replacement surgery and then need another year of specialized treatments, then everything should still be covered by the workers’ comp policy.
What The Law Offices of Nathaniel F. Hansford Can Do
We work with specialists who are well-versed in hip injuries and can provide insight on the type of medical care, procedures, rehab, or treatments you may need to rebuild your hip strength and mobility. In some cases, we also have to factor in whether or not a client will ever be able to return to the same line of work—or any line of work for that matter. This helps us get a full and accurate picture of what your workers’ compensation settlement should include. If your employer’s insurance company fails to offer this or denies your claim for any reason, we stand ready to appeal and help you pursue the compensation you are owed.