Many workers sustain shoulder injuries, knee injuries, and lower back injuries on the job. Most of them involve damage to soft tissue such as muscles, ligaments, and tendons. If you suffer a soft tissue injury that involves a sprain, strain, or muscle tear in the course of performing your job in South Carolina, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance may cover your medical treatment and provide other benefits.
Muscle strains and tears can be extremely painful and leave you unable to handle the physical demands of your job, especially if it involves lifting or bending. If your injury keeps you off the job for a period of time while you are under a doctor’s care, you may be entitled to weekly checks from workers’ comp to replace a portion of your lost wages, in addition to paid medical care.
If you have questions about your rights under South Carolina’s workers’ compensation system after suffering strain or sprain injuries at work, reach out to our South Carolina workers’ compensation attorneys at Joye Law Firm for a free case review. For more than 50 years, our legal team has worked to help injured workers seek the benefits available by law to recover from work-related injuries.
Our results-focused attorneys will pursue the full benefits available to you under S.C. workers’ compensation law, including medical treatment, temporary disability benefits, and permanent disability payments. We have achieved numerous significant settlements for injured workers with soft tissue injuries including shoulder injuries, knee injuries, and lower back injuries.
Every workers’ comp case stands on its own and past results are not predictive of future cases. But our record of successful results and testimonials from former clients do reflect our extensive experience handling workers’ compensation cases and the effort we make on behalf of our clients.
Call or contact our firm today for a free initial case review.
What Are Strains, Sprains, and Tears?
Strains, sprains, and tears include injuries that a worker can suffer to soft tissues throughout the body. Strains specifically refer to injuries that occur to tendons or to the muscles themselves. A sprain refers to an injury to a ligament, a band of connective tissue that holds bones together at the joints and performs a supporting and stabilizing role for joints.
Strains and sprains occur when tendons, muscles, or ligaments become overstretched, causing the tissues to be damaged or causing microtears to form. These injuries typically produce symptoms such as pain, swelling, or bruising to the affected area. Tendon and muscle strains can result in involuntary spasms. Both strain and sprain injuries may cause stiffness and difficulty with movement as the tissue heals.
A tear injury typically refers to a partial or full rupture of the ligament, tendon, or muscle tissue. While sprains and strains usually heal with rest and rehabilitation, tears often require surgery to reconnect or replace the damaged tissue, especially for complete tears.
Are Soft Tissue Injuries Serious Injuries?
Soft tissue injuries such as sprains and strains are often assumed to be less serious than other types of injuries a worker may suffer on the job, such as broken bones. Some strained muscles heal in few days. But soft tissue injuries also can be serious enough to require corrective surgery and require time off work to repair the damage and restore normal mobility and strength when a tear injury is unlikely to heal on its own.
Most people can make a complete recovery from a strain or sprain injury with prescribed rest and physical rehabilitation. Even more serious injuries can usually be fixed to the point that an injured person can make a full recovery.
However, when soft tissue injuries are not properly treated, the injury can develop permanent complications that can result in a reduction or complete loss of mobility, strength, or range of motion. If you believe you may have suffered a soft tissue injury, you should see a doctor as soon as possible for an exam to have your injury diagnosed and have a course of treatment prescribed. If the doctor prescribes physical therapy, you should attend the P.T. appointments.
How Long Does It Take to Recover from a Strain, Sprain, or Tear?
The recovery time for a strain, sprain, or tears depends on several factors, such as the type of injury, the location of the injury, the severity of the injury, and the treatment required to address the injury. Depending on these factors, the recovery from strain or tear injuries can take anywhere from a few days to several months.
For milder injuries, recovery from a soft tissue injury may only require a few days of rest, ice, compression, and elevation (also known as the RICE method) for healing to occur. More serious injuries, particularly with strains, may require a longer period of rest and immobilization. A doctor may recommend using a brace or splint to reduce movement to allow the injured tissue to heal.
When you have experienced a tear injury to soft tissue, the recovery time can be as long as several months, particularly if surgery is required to repair or replace the torn tissue. Planning and preparing for surgery can take several days to several weeks. The post-surgical recovery may involve weeks or months of physical therapy to regain strength and stability in the affected area.
The recovery time from a strain, sprain, or tear becomes an important question when your injury keeps you out of work. If you suffered an injury on the job, you may be entitled to seek workers’ compensation benefits that will pay for the medical treatment and provide partial replacement of your wages if you need to miss time from work during your recovery.
Are Strains, Sprains, and Tears Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
After a work-related strain, sprain, or tear, you may be entitled to file for workers’ compensation benefits. Typically, to qualify for workers’ comp benefits, you need to show that your injury or the accident that caused your injury happened at work or occurred in the course and scope of your employment. That makes it important to report the injury to your employer as soon as possible so it’s documented as a workplace injury.
Depending on how your injury occurs, proving that your soft-tissue injury is work-related may be straightforward or more challenging. For example, let’s assume you suffer a slip and fall at work that immediately causes you pain, discomfort, or mobility issues. If you seek prompt medical attention soon afterward and are diagnosed with a strain, sprain, or tear, you may have an easier time proving that your injury occurred at work and therefore should be covered by workers’ compensation.
But if you have a fall or some other accident at work and don’t report the accident or seek medical attention for some time, your employer may question whether your injury occurred on the job. For that reason, you should always report any accident, injury, or pain that you suffer on the job as soon as possible, even if you don’t think of it as significant at the time. Letting your employer know as soon as possible that you may have suffered an injury while doing your job can strengthen your case that your sprain, strain, or tear injury is work-related.
Under certain circumstances, you may also be eligible to have a strain, sprain, or tear injury caused by repetitive stress trauma covered by workers’ compensation. Rather than occurring quickly, repetitive stress injuries develop gradually from performing the same task over and over again at work. The repetitive motion can put stress on certain body parts, causing inflammation and injury that may be covered by workers’ comp benefits.
However, as with an injury caused by a traumatic accident at work, you are required to report symptoms of an occupational illness to your employer as soon as you become aware of them. In addition, you may need to rely on medical documentation from your treating provider to help establish that your strain, sprain, or tear resulted from repetitive stress that you suffered on the job, and not from an accident that you suffered while off the job. Our knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorneys at Joye Law Firm can help you seek the proper medical documentation to receive workers’ comp coverage.
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you have suffered a sprain or strain or another soft tissue injury on the job, contact Joye Law Firm for a free, no-obligation consultation with a knowledgeable workers compensation attorney. We’ll review your options and explain how we can help you pursue the financial benefits and resources you need to treat your injury and get back to work.
At Joye Law Firm, we are committed to serving our clients and supporting the South Carolina communities where we live and work. Our firm’s “Joye in the Community” program includes our Annual Scholarship Program, sponsorship of selected charitable partners, and fundraising initiatives for the American Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity, and the Humane Society among other causes.
To make access to qualified legal representation more convenient, we have offices in Charleston, Summerville, Myrtle Beach, Columbia, and Clinton and represent clients throughout the state. Give us a call at (888) 324-3100 or contact us online.