Ligaments are bands of tissue that link the bones of the body. The tissue is tough and composed of many fibers. A ligament limits the amount of movement between bones. Injuries to ligaments are most commonly at the knees and ankles. They can be strained or even torn away from the bone if a joint is unduly stressed, or when someone twists or lands from a fall in an awkward way. If you suffer a ligament tear on the job, you should consult a Chicago workers' compensation attorney at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck.Pursuing Benefits for Ligament Tears
Ligament tears are usually caused by trauma that overstresses the ligament beyond what it is able to bear. Both the knees and the ankles are weight-bearing and constantly under stress, particularly in construction and other jobs involving a lot of physical labor. If you have a ligament injury, it may be one of three grades.
A grade I ligament injury is a mild tear or stretching of the ligament that does not destabilize the joint. These usually heal in a few weeks, and strength is regained after six weeks when the collagen fibers mature. Generally, a grade I injury requires rest, icing, and anti-inflammatories.
A grade II ligament injury is a more serious tear that causes looseness in the joint but is not complete. Often, it is necessary to get supportive taping or use a weight-bearing brace to protect the tear and avoid stretching it any further. It can take up to 12 weeks to heal.
A grade III ligament injury involves a totally ruptured or torn ligament that may feel like a broken bone, in which it becomes impossible to place any weight on the joint. Sometimes a surgical repair by an orthopedic surgeon is required. A worker may not be able to go back to a job in which there is weight placed on that ligament for up to 12 months or sometimes longer.
If you suffer a ligament tear on the job, you may be able to recover workers' compensation benefits. These benefits are an exclusive remedy. You cannot pursue your employer for damages. Instead, you can obtain benefits without needing to prove fault by your employer or defend against an employer's claim that your own negligence caused the accident. Workers' compensation benefits are provided without a consideration of fault.
In many cases, your employer will know about your ligament tear because of observing the accident that caused it. However, you have 45 days to let your employer know about your ligament tear to get maximum workers' compensation benefits. You have three years to file a workers' compensation claim with the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission. When a claim is denied or you have a dispute with your employer's insurer about benefits, you should file a claim with the Commission and ask for a hearing within three years of the disability or within two years after the date of last being paid compensation. If you miss more than three workdays due to a ligament tear, your employer is supposed to report the injury to the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission. You have the burden of proving to the Commission that the ligament tear was sustained in the course of employment.
Workers' compensation benefits that your lawyer may be able to obtain include medical care, temporary partial disability, temporary total disability, permanent partial disability, or permanent total disability. The amount of workers' compensation varies. Disability benefits involving a temporary total disability, for example, are two-thirds of a worker's average weekly wage. These benefits only start if you miss three days of work due to the ligament tear. When you miss 14 days or more, you can be paid retroactively for the first three days of disability. In some cases, such as when a worker's pay includes overtime, bonuses, or commissions, the average weekly wage is a complicated calculation. It is important for a worker to realize that the more pay that is counted in this calculation, the larger the disability benefits check will be. However, there are also minimum and maximum legal limits for temporary total disability benefits.Hire a Dedicated Chicago Attorney to Seek Benefits on Your Behalf
If you suffered a ligament tear in a Chicago workplace, you should consult an experienced workers' compensation attorney. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck, we also represent victims in Aurora, Springfield, Champaign, Rockford, and Quincy, as well as other cities in Cook, Kane, Sangamon, Champaign, Winnebago, and Adams Counties. You can call us at 312-263-6330 or toll-free at 800-444-1525 for a free consultation.