Torn Ligaments and Workers' Compensation

Suffering from a torn ligament while on the job can be painful and stressful. It can leave you confused and unsure what steps to take next. You may need to seek medical care or be unable to work.

Do you know what your workers’ compensation rights are under the law? There are many benefits through workers’ compensation that may be available to you if you’ve been hurt on the job.

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

Every state mandates that most employers provide a workers’ compensation insurance policy. Workers’ compensation protects workers by providing them with medical care and other benefits if they are hurt on the job, and it’s provided at no cost to workers.

Injured workers may receive assistance with medical expenses, medical care, rehabilitation, vocational rehabilitation, partial compensation for lost wages, and may be eligible to receive disability payments.

Torn Ligaments on the Job

In various occupations, workers run a higher risk of tearing a ligament while performing their job duties. The most common ligament torn is in the knee joints, which support the upper and lower leg bones.

These ligaments stabilize the knee. Ligament tears can occur in your hand, wrist, hip, shoulder, back, elbow, and ankles.

Construction workers, delivery drivers, package handlers, warehouse workers, and those who work in retail or hospitality businesses have the most risk of torn ligaments because of their job duties.

Common ways that torn ligaments occur include, but are not limited to:

  • Falling from a scaffold or ladder
  • Being hit by a product that falls from a shelf
  • Being involved in a car wreck while delivering packages
  • Incorrectly lifting heavy objects
  • Repetitive motions
  • Slipping and falling because of a slick or wet surface
  • Loading and carrying heavy cargo

Ligament tears can have a very dramatic impact on your ability to perform your job duties. Almost every job requires some amount of walking, bending, lifting, or movement.

A torn ligament can cause painful symptoms, leave you debilitated, and limit your work due to chronic pain, swelling, inflammation, and limited range of motion. With a torn ligament, you may also face a higher risk of falling because of loss of balance.

How to File for Workers’ Compensation with a Torn Ligament

There is no point in staying at work if you have a torn ligament, especially if you have an ACL or anterior cruciate ligament injury. The ligament will need time to heal and there may be a need for surgery as well. In extreme cases they don’t heal completely, but in most cases, they do heal after weeks of rest. The average time for recovery for an ACL is 6 months, but less significant ligaments may get you back at work sooner.

Torn ligaments usually occur as a result of a single awkward fall or twist of the body. The intense pain you notice is a sign that you have torn a ligament. You should let your supervisor know and request help. Your employer should be notified of any injury that forces you to stay away from work so that a future workers’ comp. claim has a reference point.

You should check to see whether you need to see a company doctor or preferred doctor on the insurer’s network. You may need to use a preferred doctor for an initial assessment then switch to your own choice of medical provider.

Each state sets the rules around workers’ comp. but the basics are similar from one state to another. You have certain time limits at each stage of a claim. For example, you need to let your employer know about a workplace injury within a few weeks and file a claim within 2 or 3 years from the date of an injury.

Evidence to Support a Claim for a Torn Ligament

The most important evidence you should submit with your WC claim for a torn ligament is that the injury happened while at work and not somewhere else. In many cases when a WC claim has been denied it is because insurers are not confident that an injury that has been claimed for actually happened while at work. If your torn ligament happened during a single excruciating accident, you should be able to find other workers who witnessed the accident and your injury. Their statements will be some of the most important evidence you have to support your WC claim.

In addition to proving your injury happened while at work you should also have documentary evidence of what it has cost you for medical treatment for your torn ligament and an assessment report from your doctor as well as any other health professionals.

Potential Settlement Amounts for a Torn Ligament

Settlement for a torn ligament depends on a number of factors:

  • where the torn ligament was located on the body and how severe it was;
  • whether recovery is likely to be complete or if the injury cannot return to full condition;
  • how long off work is needed for full recovery;
  • whether surgery is required;
  • how many scans and tests are needed;
  • how much medication is required’
  • whether rehabilitation or further physical therapy is required after a return to work.

A worker’s comp. settlement may be held up if there is any documentation missing or if the WC time table is not adhered to. There may be a question mark about whether the injured employee is able to return to the same type of work, needs lighter duty or cannot return to work of the same kind again. These decisions determine the amount of WC payment that is eventually awarded. A worker who has had a torn ligament injury should consult a workers’ comp. attorney for help with a claim.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits

If you suspect you have torn a ligament, seek medical care. If your injuries are severe, contact 911. You should consider filing a workers’ compensation claim to get help with medical care, regardless of fault for the accident.

Do not continue to work if you suspect you have torn a ligament. A small tear can be worsened by working. Ask your Human Resources representative for a list of physicians who can treat you at no cost.

Workers’ compensation has many benefits that you may be eligible to receive depending upon the severity of your torn ligament.

Help with medical expenses. This is probably one of the most well-known benefits of workers’ compensation. A torn ligament may require you to wear a customized brace for your ankle, wrist, or knee – all of which can be expensive.

You may need surgery to repair any damages and therapy to recover any loss of motion, strength, and function. It can cover other medical care costs associated with your torn ligament.

Portion of your lost wages. If you are left unable to work due to your torn ligament, you may qualify for partial compensation of your lost wages.

Job training. If your torn ligament permanently disables you and you won’t be able to return to your former career, workers’ compensation may provide you with job training to prepare you for a new career.

Learn More From a Workers’ Compensation Attorney

It’s important that you know your rights under workers’ compensation laws. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help answer any questions that you have about your rights.

If you suffered a torn ligament while working, it’s important that you seek consultation with a workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible.