Muscle Strains and Workers’ Compensation
Florida’s Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Muscle strains, tears, and overextension injuries are extremely painful. They may not only impact your day-to-day life but your ability to work comfortably. With the right type of strain injury, would you be able to work? What if your job is physically demanding and further work would make the injury worse?
You may wonder if you can get compensation when you strain, tear, or overextend and injure yourself at work. After all, even if it is an injury that you will recover from eventually, in the meantime, you have medical costs and missed hours at work that are compounding.
How Workers’ Compensation Treats Strains and Sprains in Sunrise, FL
If you were to submit a claim for a muscle strain, it might be accepted. However, you may have to go to great lengths to prove that the strain or sprain affects your ability to work, and long enough to qualify for workers’ compensation. A minor sprain is unlikely to earn any compensation, especially if you are out of work for seven days and return to work 100 percent fully functional.
One issue that arises is sprain versus strain, especially when filing for workers’ compensation benefits. If you have a physically demanding job, you might deal with minor aches and pains daily. You may even suffer minor muscle injuries. But when you do not report these injuries, including a strain, it can lead to complications.
For starters, a strain may not heal, and a few days later you may realize that you need medical treatment. It might later be discovered that you did not have a strain, but a torn rotator cuff instead. Now the time has passed to report your work-related injury, and now you may be unable to file for workers’ compensation.
Regardless if it is a strain or sprain, you should report the injury – even if it seems minor. Reporting your injury starts the process so that if the injury turns out to be something more serious, you can still unlock your workers’ compensation benefits.
Sprain versus Strain: What Is the Difference?
A sprain means that you have wrenched the muscles that wrap around your joints, but you have not dislocated the joint itself. Lower muscle sprains, such as a lower back sprain, may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
A strain is when the muscles around the joint are weakened because they were overexerted or stretched too far beyond their limit. A strain may also be accepted by workers’ compensation if you can prove that the injury hinders your ability to work.
What Happens When You Strain a Muscle?
When you strain a muscle, it is the muscle fibers that stretch and pull, and may have micro-tears in them. These strains typically occur in the area where the tissue starts to turn into a tendon, known as your muscle-tendon junction. When disrupted, the tissue begins to stretch away or even detach from the tendon, which makes it impossible to create the power needed to move that joint.
Muscle strains are more likely when you have weak, tired, or inflexible muscles. They occur in athletes who fail to warm up before heavy recreational activities. But they also happen on the job when you are not lifting something heavy correctly, or you do not warm up your muscles before engaging in vigorous activity.
Strains and Sprains Are a Form of Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries are injuries on top your tendons, ligaments, and muscles. You could have a soft tissue injury from an accident at work, or repeated injuries over time, such as manual labor that you perform daily at work as part of your routine employment duties.
Soft tissue injuries can happen in any job setting, including jobs where you are not physically exerting yourself, such as the office. Acute soft tissue injuries may require surgery or even rehabilitation so that you can fully regain function and return to work; therefore, do not discount them because they are classified as “soft” injuries.
The Timeline of Workers’ Compensation
In Florida, you have specific timeframes for when you can start to receive your benefits if you are injured and cannot work with your muscle strain or sprain. For example, you could receive temporary total disability benefits, but the first seven days of your disability are not paid. However, if you miss 21 days or more, then you can receive retroactively paid benefits for the first seven days as well.
Once you file a claim, and the application is approved, it takes approximately 14 days to receive your check. Temporary compensation payments also continue to arrive every two weeks after the first check – like a paycheck. If you receive any back pay for long-term injuries, then you would receive those seven days paid within a disability payment.
Compensation You Can Receive
Depending on the severity of your muscle strain or sprain, you may receive compensation for your immediate costs, such as:
Medical Costs: Workers’ compensation does pay for your medical care. Even if you have employer-sponsored health insurance, your workers’ compensation covers the medical costs so that you have no out-of-pocket costs for your work-related injury. That includes copays and deductibles.
Lost Wages: When you cannot work because of an injury, workers’ compensation gives you a portion of your wages back through benefit payments. You receive 66 2/3 percent of your wages in your benefits when you are totally unable to work and not 100 percent.
Occupational Therapy: If you need occupational or rehabilitative therapy to return to work, workers’ compensation does cover the cost of those treatments.
Hire a Florida Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you have been injured at work and suffered a soft tissue injury or had a sprain that turned into something more serious, you need an attorney to help you with your claim. Workers’ compensation is something that you are entitled to, but dealing with the paperwork, negotiations, and ensuring you get a benefit check is not easy.