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Can I Get Workers' Comp for a Knee Injury?

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

We know you can get workers compensation for back injury, hearing loss, food poisoning, and hernias. What about knee injuries?

Knee injuries are common among truck drivers, nurses, workers in manufacturing, and construction workers. Common knee injuries, including MCL tear, ACL tear, knee sprains, and meniscus tears, can cause severe pain, require a lot of medical treatment and extensive rehab, and cost you a lot of money.

Can you get workers compensation for a knee injury?

First and foremost, you can usually get workers compensation for a work related injury.

Injuries are usually considered work related if they are caused by your normal work duties or conditions at your work place. Pre-existing injuries may also qualify for workers' compensation if your work duties or conditions aggravated the prior injury.

Most knee injuries, as long as they arise out of and in the course of employment, are eligible for workers compensation.

Variations in State Rules

However, since workers compensation laws vary from state to state, your knee injury may not be covered by your state's laws.

North Carolina

For example, in Shay v. Rowan Salisbury Schools, Maureen Shay suffered a knee injury walking up stairs because the elevator was broken. She filed for workers' compensation benefits but was denied.

Neither side disputed that Shay's injury was work related. However, North Carolina's law states that an employee can only get compensation for a work injury caused by an accident, defined as a "specific traumatic incident." Since Shay did not slip, trip, or fall, the state Court of Appeals ruled that the injury was not caused by an accident and not covered by workers compensation.


Some states, like California, Maryland, and Tennessee, recognize cumulative trauma injuries that occur over a period of time. In these states, the injury, as long as it is work related, does not have to be caused by an accident to be covered by workers compensation.

If you have suffered a knee injury, either caused by an accident or repetitive motions, at work, consult with an experienced workers' compensation attorney to evaluate and file your claim.

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