Of course you have a work injury. Why didn't you hire counsel in 2012? What are your deficits? Was an FCE performed? What is the nature of the injury? You cannot hurt your knee by lifting the weights you describe. Most knee injuries result from falls.
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First, contrary to what my colleague stated above, it is very common for knee injuries to occur when lifting heavy objects. Second, you should consult with an attorney immediately. You have seven (7) years from the date of claim closure to reopen a claim with the Department of Labor and industries if the condition(s) accepted under the original claim have objectively worsened. You have to submit a reopening application filled out by a doctor. You may be entitled to retro time loss and/or reopening of your claim as I see you mention there were months when you went without compensation. Since you were awarded an amount for disability (1% knee), the Department has already recognized that your knee was not 100% rehabilitated at the time your claim closed and that you were permanently partially disabled. If the symptoms you are experiencing now are the same as the symptoms you were experiencing at the time of closure, you are likely not entitled to reopening and you are stuck with your knee the way it is. Were there any other conditions accepted under the original claim? Did you receive psych treatment? This is a rather complex and nuanced area of law and you should consult with a professional for a full evaluation as to any claim you may have.
I recently had a Worker's Compensation case established for a knee injury where the person was merely standing up from a kneeling position. I have also had Worker's Compensation cases where the person was squatting to pick an object up and suffered a knee injury. So I completely agree that it is possible that the injury can be caused by lifting an object. I also agree with both of my colleagues that you should be contacting a Worker's Compensation attorney as soon as possible. If this matter was in New York, the statute of limitations is two years to bring a Worker's Compensation action. Based on the time that you are describing, I would not delay in contacting a lawyer, if you have not only done so. With regard to your emotional distress, that may also be compensable. You will need to have an opinion that your Worker's Compensation injuries and associated stress cause your emotional trauma. The causal relationship between your suicide attempts and your work related injury will likely be very difficult to prove, if not impossible. However, if a psychologist is willing to agree to that causal relationship, I certainly believe that you would have a fighting chance. I can guarantee you that if they do not fight your knee injury, they will fight the emotional distress case because of the potential for fraud involved with these kinds of matters, not to mention the plethora of pre-existing conditions that could contribute to your emotional/psychological issues. There can be little doubt that having a Worker's Compensation case controverted can be very stressful and I am very sympathetic to injured workers who are suffering from psychological issues. I wish you the best of luck.
Attorney David Snyder is licensed to practice in the State of New York where he operates the Snyder Law Firm located at 6876 Buckley Rd., Liverpool, NY with a web address of www.snyderlf.com and www.syracuseworkerscomp.com. Mr. Snyder’s answers are intended to assist legal consumers in obtaining the most accurate information possible and to find the most appropriate lawyer when necessary. In no way can any of his answers be construed as legal advice without being retained and having all relevant information available to him.
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