Visitor Question

Torn meniscus due to employer’s faulty floor installation…

Submitted By: Anonymous (New York, NY)

My employer (a Fortune 500 company) installed carpeting over some electrical sockets that run throughout the floor. These sockets were embedded in holes that were indented downward, in other words not flush, thus resulting in an uneven terrain throughout the floor. Instead of properly leveling the floor or installing a sub-floor before laying down the carpet, carpet was laid out, resulting in “dips” along the floor.

On the last Thursday of June, 2016 I was carrying a box of computer peripherals to the eWaste recycling bin located in the opposite end of the floor (we had been ordered repeatedly by our employer to purge all unnecessary supplies, including eWaste). As I was walking down the hall of the 27th floor with a large box of eWaste, I stepped onto one of the dips, lost my balance and crashed onto the floor, landing on my right knee.

I went home and put ice on it, as it was swollen thinking it was nothing and that the swelling would go down. A few days went by and the swelling was worse. I went to the doctor who said my meniscus was torn very severely. He recommended knee surgery, so in early September of the same year I had meniscus repair surgery.

Afterwards, I was subjected to six weeks of painful physical therapy. While most people heal well from this surgery, I did not as I have arthritis. Had I never fallen, I wouldn’t have been in this predicament – regardless of any arthritis (by the way, I’m only 43 years old). A few weeks ago I was treated with very painful knee injections to ease the pain, to no avail. My pain has never eased.

As a result of all this, I have been limping for the past year, unable to sleep at night. I have ceased almost all physical activity as evidenced by my gym membership records. I used to run races and 5Ks, but that is no longer possible. I can barely walk for 10 blocks before I have to stop.

Vacations are limited to how far I can walk. All physical activity has dramatically decreased, resulting in weight gain and depression. Even intimacy with my husband has been affected. I have to take pain meds every single day, causing stomach upsets. I have not been able to sleep a single night without waking up from the radiating throbbing pain.

All of my treatment was covered by my worker’s compensation claim, which my employer admitted as their fault. But that only covers treatment. What about the drastic impact this has had on my daily life, what about the pain, suffering and the depression this has caused? What about the damage to my physical well being from not being able to run, bike, or even walk for more than 10 blocks?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Anonymous,

While no one would doubt the severe physical, psychological, and spiritual impact this injury has placed upon you, at this time New York State workers’ comp laws do not permit compensation to injured workers for pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, or loss of consortium (intimacy with a spouse).

Physical injuries sustained by workers while on workplace premises, while the worker was acting within  the “course and scope” of  his or her employment, are covered under workers’ compensation. This, of course,  presumes the employer has workers comp insurance.

Workers comp also covers certain illnesses and occupational diseases contracted by a worker while in the scope of the worker’s job duties. This might include injuries from asbestos, lead positioning, toxic chemicals, and other occupational disease injuries.

As an injured worker, you have the right to receive all medically necessary and appropriate medical and non-medical treatment, such as chiropractic, and physical therapy care.  A partial amount of lost income is also covered under workers’ compensation. Lost income benefits are based on whether the disability causing the worker to miss work is total or partial, and whether it is permanent or temporary.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: October 19, 2017

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