Arizona Workers’ Comp Foot Injury Settlements
If you suffer a foot injury of any kind at work, you may qualify for Arizona workers compensation benefits.
Like many people in this situation for the first time, you may have questions: “How do I know if my foot injury is work related? What do I need to do to file for workers’ compensation in Arizona for a foot injury? How much is my foot injury claim likely to be worth in workers compensation benefits?”
Helping you to answer these questions, and many others about how the Arizona workers compensation system works, is what we do at the Matt Fendon Law Group.
Call us at (800) 229-3880 to talk with a workers compensation attorney about how we can help you with a work-related foot injury claim, and to set up a free initial consultation with one of our experienced Arizona workers compensation attorneys.
How Arizona Workplace Foot Injuries Happen
More than 50,000 work-related foot injury cases occur throughout the United States every year, with the average time lost from work being 10 days. The real number of foot injuries is likely higher, given the portion of people who do not report their injury.
Foot injuries cost employers in lost employee productivity, and every year workers compensation insurance companies in Arizona and elsewhere pay out millions of dollars in workers comp settlements for foot injuries.
To understand how you can experience a foot injury at work, it helps to know the basics of how your foot is built and how it works.
The Anatomy of Your Feet
Your foot is a complex mechanical system with multiple parts that work together:
- Bones and joints: The bones in your feet comprise about one-quarter of all the bones in your body. Each of your feet has 26 bones, divided among the forefoot (including your toes and the ball joint), midfoot, and hindfoot.
- Muscles: You rely on your muscles to make all your movements, and to provide some padding for the soles of your feet.
- Ligaments and tendons: Ligaments connect together the bones of your feet. Tendons connect muscles to the bones.
- Blood vessels: Your feet are thoroughly interlaced with a system of arteries, veins, and capillaries to supply all of its components with oxygen and other nutrients to function and to heal if injured.
- Nerve endings: Along with the circulatory system, the nervous system reaches to every point in your feet, providing you with sensation in them (as well as motor function).
- Skin: All of the above components are covered with a layer of skin to provide an outer layer of protection against injury and infection.
Examples of Workplace Foot Injuries
Now that we have a clearer idea of all the working parts of your feet, let’s see how they can become injured while you are on the job. Here are the most common foot injuries that Arizona workers suffer:
Many of the bones in the foot are small and delicate. A blunt-force trauma to the foot, like a heavy object falling on it or being in a motor vehicle accident, is one way you can experience bone breakage. Landing hard on your feet when you fall at work is another way to break bones in the heel or ball of a foot.
In other foot fracture cases, you could accidentally put enough force on one or more bones of your foot to cause stress fractures. Broken toes are a common kind of work injury to the foot.
Fractures can be simple, meaning a single break in the bone, or can consist of multiple breaks in the same bone. The more parts of a bone that are fractured, the more complicated the treatment and the longer the healing process.
Sometimes, like with broken bones in the forefoot, broken foot bone injuries are mild enough that resting the foot for six to twelve weeks is all that is needed to reach maximum medical improvement. Other times, like when you suffer a broken heel or ankle joint, it can require surgery and take from up to three years to heal.
Bone fracture recovery can take even longer if you develop a complicating condition like arthritis, nerve damage, tendon irritation, or chronic swelling in an injured foot. A heel fracture or ankle fracture can also lead to changes in how you walk, which could cause long-term hip and back complications.
Sprains and Strains
Many foot sprains happen when your foot lands awkwardly or becomes twisted.
Two common kinds of foot-related sprains and sprains are Achilles tendon injuries that come from tears or overstretching of the tendon, and plantar fasciitis, a form of inflammation that can result in severe heel pain making it hard to walk.
The average healing time for a foot sprain is three to six months.
Heel spurs result from the buildup of calcium deposits under the heel. They are often experienced in combination with plantar fasciitis.
Heel spurs can be caused by putting abnormal stress on the heel bone, ligaments, and nerves in the vicinity of your heel. Shoes that fit poorly, standing on your feet for most of the day, having flat feet or high foot arches, being overweight, and increasing age are potential contributing factors.
Causes of On-the-Job Foot Injuries
There is great overlap between causes of work-related foot injuries and other on-the-job injuries affecting different parts of the body. Some of the most common sources of work foot injuries are falling objects, motor vehicle accidents, and falls.
Other causes of work foot injuries that are more specific are sharp objects on floors, like loose or protruding nails, slippery work surfaces, wearing improper footgear, standing for long periods, and exposure to harmful chemicals or to extreme cold.
What You Can Recover for Work-Related Foot Injuries in Arizona
Workers compensation benefits available for foot injuries are the same as for any other compensable work injury or medical condition. Your foot injury settlement can be based on an acute trauma injury (a single event), or a chronic condition that has developed over time.
You can recover benefits from among four categories if they apply to you:
- Payment for medical treatment. Workers compensation pays for all approved medical benefits to treat foot injuries and conditions.
- Wage loss benefits. Arizona workers compensation disability benefits pay up to two-thirds of lost income based on your average weekly wage before the injury.
- Costs for rehabilitation and retraining. If you cannot return to your old job because of your foot injury, but you can qualify for other work with retraining, then part of your workers compensation settlement with your employer’s workers comp insurer can include funds to pay for the rehabilitation and retraining needed to get you back to work again.
- Indirect benefits. If you must travel to receive medical treatment for your foot injury, then you can also receive compensation for your transportation costs to and from treatment.
So, how much can you receive in foot injury workers comp benefits through settlement?
The answer depends on several conditions that we will cover below, but as a general rule according to the National Safety Council, the average workers comp settlement nationally for a foot injury in 2020 was about $28,000, with a little more than half the amount paying for medical treatment.
The actual amount of your settlement can be significantly more or less than this average amount. Average workers comp settlements can be as low as about $1,000 for minor injuries like cuts and scrapes to skin up to $100,000 or more if the work-related injury results in mounting medical bills for torn ligaments, permanent disability, or amputation of the foot.
Factors that Workers Comp Insurance Companies Consider in Settlement
Although it is possible to roughly determine average workers compensation settlement amounts for foot injuries, it is best to take figures like the ones above as being informational only and not as a guide for what you can expect.
Each workers compensation settlement with an insurance company is the product of unique facts that can significantly affect the final settlement amount for a foot injury claim. Here are some of the factors we see insurance companies use when deciding how much to offer in settlement and how hard to negotiate with you:
- The severity of your foot injury. The worse the injury to your foot, up to permanent impairment, the more likely your medical costs and any needed rehabilitation costs will be significant.
- Your age. Statistically speaking, the older you are when you are injured at work, the less likely it is that you will be able to find a new line of work if your foot injury makes it impossible for you to do the work you were doing before the accident.
- Your present disability symptoms. The presence of symptoms caused by your foot injury at work, and their severity, can both play a role in determining a workers compensation settlement amount. For example, if your doctor has restricted you to light duty instead of full duty, this can impact your settlement compensation negotiations.
- Any prior disability benefits received. You have a limited number of weeks to receive Arizona workers compensation benefits for a foot injury. If you are receiving wage replacement benefits while negotiating a settlement with your employer’s insurance company, the more of these benefits you receive, the more downward pressure that can put on the settlement payout amount.
- Other benefits you may be receiving. You can receive Social Security disability benefits concurrently with Arizona workers compensation benefits. In some cases, this can require your workers compensation settlement agreement to account for the insurance company’s compliance with the Medicare Secondary Payer Act.
- Complications from related conditions. If your foot injury leads to another, new medical condition, or aggravates a pre-existing condition—for example, you develop an arthritic condition in your foot following an injury at work—this is something the settlement payout must account for.
- Other work-related injuries from the same accident. If an injury like a car crash or a slip and fall accident is serious enough to cause you a foot injury, then it can be serious enough to injure you in other ways, like a back injury, neck injury, traumatic head injury, or post-traumatic stress disorder. All injuries you suffer from the same event are candidates for a consolidated Arizona workers compensation settlement agreement.
- Your out-of-pocket medical bills. Your reasonable costs of medical treatment for your foot injury while you are negotiating a workers settlement agreement need to be included in the final settlement amount.
- Future medical expenses. Especially if your Arizona workers compensation settlement is a lump sum settlement through an agreement with the insurance company, any foreseeable future medical costs connected with long-term treatment or follow-on care need to be factored into the settlement amount.
- Availability of supporting evidence. A key advantage of workers compensation is that you do not have to prove that your employer or anyone else was at fault for your on-the-job injury. All you need to do is to show that the injury happened while you were working. Still, having medical documentation to support the existence of your injuries, like x-ray, CT and other medical images, your medical history, and treatment records, can help you and your Arizona workers comp attorney in settlement negotiations.
Talk to an Arizona Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today
At the Matt Fendon Law Group, our highly skilled and compassionate workers’ compensation lawyers are ready to help you with all aspects of your workers’ compensation foot injury claim.
At our law firm, we can help you to:
- Understand what is happening with your settlement claim. The process of obtaining workers’ compensation benefits can be stressful and complicated. It’s critical when you suffer injuries that you have an experienced Arizona workers’ comp lawyer on your side.
- Deal with your employer. Employers often try to intimidate or take advantage of injured workers. The attorneys at Matt Fendon Law Group will stand up for your rights.
- Negotiate with your employer’s workers comp insurance carrier. Insurers are less likely to give you the run-around when you have a skilled and aggressive attorney in your corner.
- Obtain benefits you deserve. While you recover from your work injury, workers’ compensation pays a portion of your lost wages, as well as your medical bills. Our attorneys will fight to get you the benefits you need and deserve.
- Represent you at the hearing. A hearing before an administrative law judge could be required. When that is the case, our attorneys will represent you and argue on your behalf.
- Handle your appeal. If your Arizona workers’ compensation claim is denied, our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers can help you to put together the strongest argument on your behalf within the tight 90-day appeal deadline.
- File a civil lawsuit. If your employer fails to maintain workers’ compensation, litigation may be necessary. We can file a lawsuit on your behalf.
Call us today at (800) 229-3880 to schedule a confidential, free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Phoenix. Or, if you prefer, you can contact us online to ask a question about how we represent injured workers or to schedule a free consultation.
We have offices in Phoenix, Prescott, Flagstaff, Scottsdale, and Tucson. Let us show you how we can help you with your Arizona workers’ comp claim. We will provide straightforward advice and help you understand your legal options.