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The Average Workers' Comp Leg Injury Settlements in 2024

Written by
A drawing of the lead workers' compensation lawyer for Atticus.
Victoria Muñoz
Lead Attorney
April 29, 2024  ·  5 min read
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There are about 138,000 annual work-related leg injuries, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Not only are leg injuries common, but they can also require significant time away from work to recover: almost 50,000 workers missed one month or more of work because of their injury.1

If you experienced a leg injury at work, you can qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. In addition to wage replacement payments and coverage for medical bills, you could be in line for a settlement worth $60,000 or more.


The Average workers' comp settlement for a leg injury

The average settlement paid by workers' compensation for leg injuries is $60,901 based on data from the National Safety Council (NSC). Making up that total is $38,382 for medical expenses and $22,519 for indemnity (also covering lost wages).2

Keep in mind that this is a national average settlement, so you could make more or less depending on where you live, your exact injury, your average income, and the type of work you do.


How your leg injury could be worth more

In general, workers' comp will pay more if you need to miss more work time because of your injury. So for example, if you work in a job that requires you to be standing all day, a leg injury is likely to keep you out of work for a while. On the other hand, if you work a desk job that doesn't require you to be on your feet, you could get less from workers' comp since you'll probably return to work sooner.

The more medical care you need, the higher your benefits are also likely to be. So a muscle strain that requires rest isn't going to pay as much as a broken bone that requires a month in a cast. Surgery often leads to higher payouts, though not in all cases.

Injuries that affect other body parts — like your knee, ankle, or pelvis — also have the potential for a higher payout. The average settlement for claims involving multiple injuries is just over $62,000.

You deserve a fair workers' comp settlement. Atticus can help.

When leg injuries can qualify for workers’ comp

Just about any leg injury will qualify for workers’ comp benefits as long as:

  • Your injury happened at work or directly resulted from doing your job.

  • Your injury left you unable to do your job for at least a few days.

  • You reported the injury to your employer.

You have a limited number of days to report your injury. Missing your state's reporting deadline will leave you ineligible for benefits.

Benefits are also available only to employees. You won't qualify if you're an independent contractor, freelancer, or gig worker.

The types of workers’ comp leg injuries

An injury that leaves you with numbness, pain, stiffness, weakness, or decreased range of motion in your legs can qualify for workers’ comp benefits.

You're eligible after accidents, one-time incidents, and conditions that result from repetitive strain over time (like arthritis). As long as you can show medically that your injury was caused at work or from doing your job duties, you can get benefits.

Some examples of common workers’ comp leg injuries are:

Learn more about how an injury can qualify for workers’ comp.


Does workers’ comp always offer a settlement?

No. If you recover from your injury and return to work, your claim will close without a settlement. You'll still get the regular workers' comp benefits (known as temporary disability) that include weekly wage replacement checks and free medical care. You just won't receive and any lump-sum settlement.


When you can get a settlement

The most common point to get a settlement offer from the insurance company is around the time you reach maximum medical improvement. Also known as MMI, this is when your doctor believes you've recovered as much as possible with medical care, even though you haven't returned to your pre-injury condition.

However, a settlement is possible at any time. Sometimes the insurer even tries to settle right away, like to avoid an injury with what looks like an unpredictable (and expensive) recovery.

Any time you receive a settlement offer, we suggest talking to a workers' comp lawyer. You can get a free consultation to start and get a better sense of what a fair settlement is for your situation.

Further reading: When Workers’ Comp Will Offer a Settlement


What to do if insurance wants to settle

There are three main paths you can take if the insurer sends you a settlement offer:

  1. Accept the settlement.

  2. Reject the offer and continue receiving benefits.

  3. Negotiate a better settlement.

The insurer is unlikely to make the best offer initially.

Since the insurance company is looking after its own profits and not necessarily your best interests, the initial offer you get is probably not the best option. Most people are better off negotiating, but sometimes waiting until later in the process makes it easier to gauge how much you should be asking for.

It isn't easy to calculate a reasonable settlement. You'll need to estimate future lost wages and medical expenses, plus any current missed payments and other expenses you may have. That's why we recommend talking to a lawyer.

A good workers' comp lawyer has experience negotiating fair deals for similar workers and similar injuries. To illustrate how much of a difference a lawyer makes, the average settlement with an Atticus lawyer is about double what workers receive if they negotiate without a lawyer.

Related: Situations When You Should Hire a Workers’ Comp Lawyer


How much workers’ comp pays if you don’t settle

Workers’ comp benefits typically include payments — sent every week or every other week — worth up to two-thirds of your average wages. (See what workers’ comp pays in your state.)

Medical expenses are also paid by the insurance company. That includes everything from copays and possibly travel expenses to prescription medication, assistive devices, and surgeries.


How long workers' comp lasts

In most states, workers’ comp benefits end when one of three things happens:

  1. You return to work.

  2. You reach MMI or transition to long-term payments.

  3. You agree to a settlement.

If your workers' comp doctor determines that you’ve reached maximum medical improvement but either can't return to work or haven't regained your full pre-injury capabilities, you will move to transition to permanent disability benefits.

Permanent payments last a set number of weeks based on your state's laws, the exact part of your body that was injured, and the disability rating from your workers’ comp doctor.

See how long workers’ comp lasts in your state.


Do you need a workers’ comp lawyer?

A workers' compensation lawyer is an advocate for your rights and full benefits. So while you don't need one, they can simplify the process and fight for fairer payments from insurance.

Throughout your claim, an experienced lawyer will fight for more (and probably better) medical care that's still paid by insurance. If you need a second medical opinion, they can arrange that. They also handle paperwork, communication with the claims adjuster, appeals, court proceedings, and settlement negotiations.

Atticus also strives to make a good lawyer affordable by offering a free consultation with no upfront fees. You only pay the lawyer fee after you get your settlement, and if your lawyer doesn't get you a settlement, you don't pay anything.

Take the first step toward a fair settlement by filling out our 3-minute intake quiz or calling us at the number below. A member of our team will reach out to answer your questions and help you understand your options.

Get workers' comp help today.

Frequently asked questions about workers’ comp leg injuries

Who qualifies for workers’ comp?

Most full-time and part-time workers can qualify for workers’ comp, but independent contractors, consultants, and freelancers don’t usually qualify.

Can my leg injury qualify for workers’ comp?

Yes, as long as your leg injury leaves you unable to do your job for at least a few days and you quickly report it to your employer. Here’s how long you have to report a work injury in your state.

How much will a settlement be for my leg injury?

The average workers’ compensation settlement for leg injuries is almost $61,000 nationally, but your exact payout depends on your situation. If you want to maximize your settlement, contact a workers’ comp attorney. Settlements are twice as high with an Atticus attorney, on average.

Should I accept a workers’ comp settlement?

It depends on your personal situation. Negotiating is best in many cases, but we recommend getting a lawyer’s opinion before you make any decision. They can help you negotiate enough to cover your current and future medical expenses, lost wages, and other bills while you’re out of work.

Can surgery increase a leg injury settlement?

As a general rule, surgery can lead to a higher settlement. It's more common if your surgery requires a long recovery, doesn’t improve your symptoms, or leaves you with complications. Get a more information in our article on how surgery affects workers' comp settlements.

Will I pay tax on my workers’ comp settlement?

No. Workers’ compensation settlements aren’t taxable, with only very rare exceptions.

What if I can’t go back to work after my leg injury?

You may qualify for permanent workers' compensation benefits or long-term benefits through a federal program like SSDI. Learn more about your options if you can’t return to work after an injury or illness.

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Related resources:

How Much a Workers' Comp Lawyer Costs

A hand draw portrait of a smiling, helpful lawyer.
By Victoria Muñoz

5 Common Questions About Workers' Comp Lawyers

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By Victoria Muñoz

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How long ago did you get an injury or illness at work?

References

  1. 1.
    Bureau of Labor Statistics, Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities,” U.S. Department of Labor, accessed January 26, 2024, https://www.bls.gov/iif/.
  2. 2.
    Workers’ Compensation Costs,” National Safety Council, accessed April 30, 2024, https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/work/costs/workers-compensation-costs/.
A drawing of the lead workers' compensation lawyer for Atticus.

Victoria Muñoz

Lead Attorney

Victoria Muñoz is an attorney on Atticus’s Workers' Compensation team. She’s a licensed attorney, a graduate of Stanford Law School, and has counseled hundreds of people seeking workers' compensation. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and spending time with her pup.
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