How Much Compensation for a Knee Injury at Work?

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Written By Rocky Horton

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Compensation for a knee injury at work is around $35,000 on average. If you’ve been hurt on the job, you will need to know how to file for compensation and how to win your case against your employer’s insurers.

Continue reading for a guide on how to navigate the legal repercussions of a work-related knee injury, including how to calculate your settlement, how to prove your injuries, the settlement you can expect, and how an experienced personal injury attorney can help.

What is the Number of Knee Injuries at Work Per Year?

According to the NIH National Library of Medicine, knee injuries occur at a rate of 10.9 cases for every 10,000 full-time relevant workers, or about 0.11%. This makes them the second-highest injury rate for any body part for injuries serious enough to warrant at least one day of leave.

In a 2007 survey of occupational injury compensation, only 47%-77% of medical costs were paid by workers’ paid medical claims. Additionally, the cost of these injuries per worker was $28,993 on average in 2007-2008.

In 2023 and beyond, the cost of medical claims for knee injuries at work is even higher. If you believe you deserve compensation for a work-related knee injury, continue reading to learn about how to calculate your estimated settlement.

What is the Typical Settlement for a Knee Injury at Work?

The typical settlement for a knee injury at work is $34,932, according to the National Safety Council. However, this number can change depending on the situation since workers comp does not pay for pain and suffering. It only covers eligible economic damages related to the accident.

The $34,932 average settlement includes $18,293 in medical expenses and the rest in additional compensation, including indemnity. These values are approximations gathered from data across industries by the NSC in 2019-2020. They are not a guarantee of your settlement amount.

Settlements in workers’ compensation cases can be complex due to the time-consuming negotiations with the insurers. In addition to having to negotiate your claim, any settlement may make you ineligible for other benefits in the future, unless your claim makes specific provisions for them.

This is another reason an experienced workers’ compensation attorney is a significant asset in your work-related knee injury case. You need to negotiate not only for your current situation but for your future benefits as well.

Types of Work-Related Knee Injuries

There are multiple types of work-related knee injuries related to the specific structures that are injured and how. These injury types can be broadly broken down into four categories: torn ligaments, torn meniscus, broken kneecap, and osteoarthritis.

To better understand your unique case, here’s a breakdown of each injury, including its hallmark symptoms and the average settlement amount you might expect.

  • Torn Ligaments

Torn ligaments often result from the natural performance of labor-intensive jobs, particularly those that require lifting. Ligaments are connective tissues that connect two bones, often at a joint, and tearing one in the knee can have serious consequences.

While a torn ligament can result from one serious pull, they are more often the result of repetitive motions related to a strenuous job causing “micro-tears” in the fibers until the injury occurs. Due to the long-term nature of torn ligaments, your employer may claim that your habits outside of the workplace contributed to the injury more than your job.

However, if proven to be a result of your work, tearing ligaments in the knee joint often requires extensive physical therapy, medical devices, or surgery, resulting in an average settlement of around $75,000.

  • Torn Meniscus

The meniscus is a piece of cartilage that cushions your knee between the major bones like a shock absorber. A torn meniscus is often caused by a sudden, forceful twisting motion at the knee when the person puts their full weight on it. It can happen if you are carrying something heavy and your leg rotates suddenly.

The symptoms of a torn meniscus include swelling of the knee, stiffness, pain, and a lack of motion range in that knee. Torn meniscus lawsuits generally pay out an average of $35,000 since these injuries can recover on their own, given rest and ice.

A severely torn meniscus can require surgery, however, which could raise the settlement amount in your case.

  • Broken Kneecap/Patellar Fracture

The patellar is a tendon that stretches from the shinbone to the kneecap. Fracturing any part of this system can cause long-lasting disability, depending on the type of damage sustained.

The location and nature of the fracture predict the victim’s future range of motion. Some two-piece fractures (also called “clean” breaks) recover conventionally, while multi-part fractures at multiple locations of the kneecap (or “comminuted” fractures) can be much more serious.

Serious bruising and an inability to walk can occur directly after the accident, which is usually caused by direct impact to the knee either through a hard fall or a sharp blow.

Due to the serious nature of these injuries, a broken kneecap case can result in a settlement of $150,000 or more.

  • Osteoarthritis

The most common form of arthritis can also be related to knee injuries at work. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease caused by the joints wearing down in specific locations.

When the cartilage is gone, the resulting condition leaves the victim with long-term pain, stiffness, tenderness, swelling, and a loss of flexibility in that joint. Due to the long-term nature of the condition, it can be hard to prove that a job caused the damage. Your employer may argue that you were predisposed to it or that your habits at home are to blame.

Since osteoarthritis often results from repetitive, strenuous tasks, however, a case can be made. Personal injury cases pay out $39,000 on average when arthritis is involved.

What Factors Can Impact a Work-Related Knee Injury Claim?

The main factors that impact a work-related knee injury claim are the severity of your injury, the availability and accuracy of medical documentation concerning it, records of the expenses you paid in response to it, and the available limits of your and your employer’s insurance policies.

You cannot control the severity of your injury, but as mentioned above, different types of injuries are compensated differently based on their predicted medical expenses and the loss of work potential they can cause.

However, receiving an accurate medical diagnosis is an aspect you can control. It’s important to accept medical care from a paramedic if one is called after the accident. If not, seek professional medical care from an accredited emergency room or primary care physician immediately after the accident.

If you don’t receive prompt care, your employer may claim that your injury wasn’t severe or didn’t occur at work. Remember that neither your employer nor your insurer is necessarily your ally in your attempt to receive compensation for a knee injury at work.

How to Prove a Knee Injury at Work?

To prove a knee injury at work, prompt documentation is key. As soon as the injury occurs, report it to your supervisor so they can document the situation and call for medical help. Record the contact information of relevant witnesses so you and your attorney can use their testimonies to your advantage.

Due to chronic injuries lacking a primary event or accident, they are much harder to prove. Witnesses could still be relevant, but you will more likely have to rely on your testimony and your employer’s safety practices to prove a chronic injury case.

What Jobs are Most Likely to Result in Knee Injuries at Work?

According to the NIH, the industries most susceptible to knee injuries include the transportation, warehousing, utilities, and construction sectors. This puts government employees at a uniquely high risk compared to private sector employees since so many of these industries operate at a federal level.

However, any job can result in a knee injury, even those that don’t involve physical labor. Your work-related knee injury may involve a slippery floor or stairwell that your employer failed to maintain.

The cause of the accident can be just as significant in determining your settlement as the nature of your injuries.

What to Do After a Knee Injury at Work?

Knee injuries at work require prompt medical attention and a report of the accident in writing, so getting these should be your first step after the accident. Next, you should seek accredited medical attention either from on-site staff, an emergency room technician, or a primary care physician.

Prompt treatment is necessary to receive prompt documentation and a diagnosis that links your work-related knee injury to the work you were doing. Remember to report the nature of your work to the doctor that examines you.

As you compile this evidence, you may be wondering how to document your claim so that it’s properly filed and reviewed. This is where an experienced personal injury attorney can be your best ally against either your employers or their insurers since they know the ins and outs of personal injury claims better than anyone.

How Can a Work Injury Lawyer Help?

Compiling evidence, documenting your claims, and filing reports are not the only ways that a work injury lawyer can help you. Since workers’ compensation claims can be a lengthy and complicated process, an attorney can help you support your claim even as the insurers shift their strategies.

Proving lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, and more can be more difficult than proving medical expenses. Work injury lawyers know the evidence that you need to successfully make your case.

Since knee injuries can cause long-term pain, you want to make sure that you are properly compensated for your struggle. A work injury lawyer can help with every step of the process.


Compensation for a knee injury at work can be complex due to the involvement of your employers, their insurers, and your own personal injury coverage. Navigating the process of documenting and filing your work-related knee injury can be daunting, especially as you simultaneously work through the pain of the injury itself.

Contact a professional personal injury lawyer to see if you qualify for compensation for your injury and learn the best way to get the settlement you deserve.

Rocky Horton

Rocky Horton


Rocky Horton is a health and safety expert from Chapel Hill, NC. He is the founder of AccidentAdvisor and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg, and other publications. Learn more.