If you suffer a dislocated joint on the job, there are several steps you should take as soon as possible. Joint dislocation is a common workplace injury that can result from slip-and-fall mishaps, heavy lifting, vehicle accidents, falling off a ladder, or being struck by a heavy object. Even if your employer does not subscribe to workers’ compensation, there are ways to seek recovery for your damages: medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.
Suffering a Joint Dislocation While at Work
A joint dislocation occurs when trauma separates the bones in a joint or knocks them out of line. In some cases, the dislocation is a partial one, called a subluxation, while in others, the dislocation is complete. In either case, a dislocation can strain or tear tendons, nerves, and muscles that surround the affected joint. In severe cases, blood vessels can be damaged, reducing blood flow to the joint area and causing tissues to die. The knee, shoulder, elbow, finger, hip, and jaw are the most commonly dislocated joints. Common symptoms of dislocation include:
- Inability to move the joint
- Visible deformity
If you have one or more of the above symptoms after a workplace accident, you should see a doctor, who can diagnose a dislocation with a manual exam and an X-ray. If the joint is dislocated, the doctor should put it back in place as soon as possible to prevent further complications. Icing and elevating the dislocated joint can help to reduce swelling, and a splint or sling might be necessary to keep it immobile while it heals. Your doctor could recommend physical therapy afterward to strengthen weakened ligaments and muscles around the joint.
Surgery could be necessary if the joint cannot be repaired manually or if tendons, ligaments, muscles, and bones are damaged by the dislocation. You might be able to return to work in a few weeks after a minor dislocation of a finger, for example. A dislocated hip, on the other hand, could take months to heal. In any case, you’re likely to lose significant income from being off work with a dislocated joint while your medical bills are piling up.
Suing Non-Subscribers After a Joint Dislocation
While other states generally require employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance, Texas does not, so your employer might very well be a non-subscriber. If so, that’s not necessarily bad news for you. Whereas workers’ comp provides only two-thirds of lost income, pays you nothing for your pain and suffering, and prohibits you from suing your employer, you may file a personal injury lawsuit against a non-subscriber in Texas and demand compensation for all medical expenses, present and future lost income, and pain and suffering.
If you file a personal injury suit against your employer, the company is prohibited from defending itself by claiming you caused your own accidental injury. As long as you did not intentionally harm yourself and were not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of your accident, you may file a lawsuit against your employer for your work-related joint dislocation.
Third-Party Suits After a Joint Dislocation
In some cases, there might be a third party responsible for your joint dislocation. If, for example, an outside cleaning service spills liquid on the floor, causing you to slip and fall, or a faulty machine manufactured or serviced by a company other than your employer injures you, a work injury attorney can help you to file a third-party claim to recover damages.
How to Help Your Attorney Help You
There are several steps you should take following your work-related joint dislocation to gather evidence that will protect and strengthen your claim against your employer or a third party:
- Take photos of your injuries, the location where you were hurt, and other relevant visual evidence.
- Get statements from witnesses.
- File an incident report or report your injury to your supervisor right away.
- See a doctor as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment of your dislocated joint.
- Get copies of all medical records and documentation of your diagnosis and treatment.
- Keep all medical appointments, hold on to all receipts, and follow your doctor’s advice conscientiously.
- Don’t engage in activities that will aggravate your injury.
- Obtain employment records and checks or wage statements.
- Contact a work injury attorney as soon as possible.
Have You Suffered a Dislocated Joint on the Job?
An experienced work injury attorney can help you seek fair compensation from your non-subscriber employer. Contact us online, start a chat, or call us at 281-688-6880 to schedule your free consultation. You pay no attorney fees until we win your case.