I am a civilian federal employee in Aberdeen, Maryland who was walking to my car after my work day had concluded. I cut across a grassy area that separated two paved areas of the parking lot. While walking across this grassy area I stepped in a hole and my knee hyperextended, causing a torn MCL.
I'm wondering if this is eligible for workman's comp, being that I deviated from the paved parking lot and considering it was my fault for stepping in the hole? I also was walking to my car after my work day was finished. Any perspective you can give on this situation would be greatly appreciated.
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ANSWER for "Torn MCL walking to my car after work...":
Ken (Aberdeen, MD):
Unfortunately once you left work and walked across the grassy area you lost your claim for workmans compensation. Instead you may have a federal "tort claim" against the federal government for negligence. Tort claims are unlike standard personal injury claims.
Standard non-governmental personal injury claims permit a victim anywhere from 1 to 4 years or more to file a claim or lawsuit. Governmental tort claims must be filed much more quickly, sometimes within 30 days. You'll need to check with the government agency you work for and a learn what their filing period is.
Some personal injury claims can be handled without an attorney. These are usually minor "soft tissue" injuries and include muscle and tendon sprains, and minor cuts an bruises. You injuries are more serious and require the advice and counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney.
Gather your medical bills, MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) or CAT Scan (Computer Axial Tomography) test results, copies of receipts for medications and costs related to your injury. Also ask your employer for a written letter verifying your wages. If that's not possible, gather pay stubs or deposit slips.
Contact several personal injury attorneys. Bring all your records and related documents to each office consultation. Most personal injury attorneys don't charge any fee until and unless they settle your case or win it at trial. They will also pay all costs related to the investigation and prosecution of your claim. Be sure to choose an attorney you have confidence in.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
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