A torn muscle, tendon, or an overextension injury can be extremely painful and impact your life more than you may realize. Think about your occupation. Could you continue to work if you tore a tendon or muscle in your shoulder? What about in your knee? If you can’t continue to work because of an injury, how would you pay your monthly expenses? If you get hurt on the job, you should consider filing a workers’ compensation claim to get help with the expenses that occur because of your injury. Workers’ Compensation Basics People who tear a muscle, tendon, or who injure a joint because of an overextension may be qualified to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Most employers are required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance to protect their employees. It doesn’t cost workers anything to file a claim if they are hurt on the job. To file a claim, you should speak with your manager or your Human Resources Manager. They can help you with the forms and can refer you to a doctor who can treat your on the job injury at no charge. How Do Torn Muscles and Tendons Affect Your Ability to Work? Torn muscles and tendons aren’t life threatening, but these injuries can certainly change your life. Torn muscles and tendons generally occur when a muscle is stretched too quickly, and it can severely impact the ability to use that torn muscle to do work. Often, the tear happens where a muscle is attached to a tendon. Swelling, bruising and pain can occur, and there is can be a lump where the detached muscle is sitting. Servers, nurses, warehouse workers, factory workers, and construction workers all face a very real risk of receiving a torn muscle or tendon while on the job. However, all workers are at risk because a slip and fall can cause you to overextend your knee or even your arm as you try to balance. An overextension can cause damage to the tendons and muscles. Torn muscles and tendons often require surgery to repair the issue. These surgeries can be very expensive. In many professions, people aren’t able to work as they recover. Workers’ compensation can be very beneficial because it gives you access to medical care as well as to other potential benefits. What Benefits Are Provided By Workers’ Compensation? Workers’ compensation insurance is designed as a safety net to protect injured workers. It offers several benefits. However, it’s important to note that you may not necessarily qualify for every benefit provided. If you have questions about whether you should receive a certain benefit, you should talk with a qualified workers’ compensation attorney. Here are some of the benefits available to injured workers who meet workers’ compensation requirements: Help with medical expenses. Workers’ compensation is best known for its ability to provide injured workers with medical care. This is important even if you have health insurance because there is no deductible that you need to meet for the insurance to kick in. If you need durable medical equipment like crutches or slings, those would be covered, in addition to doctor's visits and other medical care related to your injury. Lost wages. If you are unable to work because of your torn muscle or tendon, you could be eligible to receive a portion of your lost wages through workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation provides both temporary and permanent disability for workers who meet their guidelines. Occupational training. If your injury is permanent and you’ll no longer be able to work in your chosen profession, workers’ compensation may provide you with occupational training. This can help you re-enter the workforce. How to File for Workers’ Compensation with a Torn Muscle If you tear a muscle while at work, it will be very painful. You will need to have the injury assessed and treated properly before returning to work. Most torn muscle injuries will heal in time, but you may not be able to return to normal duties until recovery is judged to be satisfactory. In the meantime, you should be able to claim compensation for any medical treatment as well as a percentage, typically around 66% of what you might have earned, while you are off work. To ensure you get the compensation you are entitled to you must make sure you follow the established procedure for filing a workers’ compensation claim. WC claims are covered by your employer’s insurance policy with a commercial insurance carrier. The procedure is determined, however, not by the insurer, but by the state workers’ compensation department or board that establishes rules and oversees claims. This body establishes a time line for WC claims. The two most important time limits to consider when making a claim are: a time limit for letting your supervisor know about the injury; and a time limit for filing a claim. In most states, you should let your supervisor, or manager, know about the injury as soon as you can and in any case within a couple of weeks. It’s not good enough to expect that if you have to seek immediate medical treatment that someone at work will pass on the message, although in many workplaces, this is actually quite likely. Your employer is expected to keep an official record of workplace related injuries. Information on this database will be used when your claim is filed and eventually lodged with the insurer. Even if think that your employer has already recorded details of your injury, what happened, why it happened and when, don’t take it for granted as you could lose your entitlement to a compensation payment later. Before you go to a doctor to assess the torn muscle injury, find out if your employer’s insurer has a preferred medical provider and whether any visits to a doctor or hospital that are not on that list of providers would invalidate a claim. Insurers make the call on this. Some insist that you use their providers throughout. Others say you must have your injury assessed first by one of the doctors on their list and others leave it to you. The time limit for filing a claim for workers’ compensation is 2 or 3 years in most states. That means that if you file your WC claim after the cut-off date, it could mean that you lose the chance of obtaining compensation. In fact, it is in your interest to see a workers’ comp. attorney about filing a claim as soon as you are physically able to do so. Your attorney will help you ensure that you have all the documentation at your fingertips to convince your employer’s insurer that your claim is both genuine and deserving. Evidence to Support a Claim for a Torn Muscle You don’t need any evidence to show who caused the injury and whether your employer was negligent. You will need evidence to show that the accident and injury happened while at work. Insurers will want to see evidence of this type before you get the chance to receive a payment. You could use any eye witness statements, preferably someone reliable who saw what happened and why. The workplace may have had security cameras fitted somewhere close to where you were injured. If this is the case, you may be able to get hold of the footage that covered the accident Potential Settlement Amounts for a Torn Muscle Torn muscle injuries usually self heal eventually, but can be painful and make it difficult to return to full time work. They tend to fall into the category of temporary partial or temporary full disabilities. A settlement should pay for a percentage of lost earnings while not at work, or a top-up of a part time wage if you were working full time before the accident. Usually, there is no argument about the lost earnings’ component, even if it is only about two thirds of what you could have earned. What can be more contentious is the cost of medical treatment. This should include medication prescribed to you, tests, doctor’s fees and surgery if it has occurred. Hire a Workers' Compensation For Your Case If you tore a muscle at work and believe you will be out of work for at least a year, then you may want to seek the counsel of a workers' compensation attorney. Your attorney will be able to help gather your evidence of your muscle tear and will give you the best options on how to proceed with a claim against your employer. An attorney can answer any questions that you may have and can also help you get the benefits that you deserve for your injury. Your lawyer will make sure that your rights are protected throughout the process.