Shoulder injuries can be crippling, leaving a person with little or no ability to work. Shoulder injuries are usually the result of a traumatic event such as a fall, abnormal twisting, or a forceful blow. However, these injuries can also be the result of a “gradual stress injury” which is when your shoulder simply wears out with overuse.
If you are injured at work you must inform your employer within 30 days of the date of your injury. Report ALL injuries, not just those that your employer thinks are serious.
Your employer will then report the injury to their insurance company. The insurance company will decide whether to pay you, on a voluntary basis, a portion of your lost wages and medical expenses related to your work injury.
Shoulder injuries are recognized as a common work-related injury, which should entitle you to Workers’ Compensation benefits. Still, employers and insurance companies often fight these claims – arguing that some activity other than work caused your shoulder injury or that it was “a pre-existing condition”. Insurers and employers do not want to pay you Workers’ Compensation benefits and will often search for any excuse to deny you benefits. When that happens you will need a lawyer experienced in the Workers' Compensation claims process in order to gain wage and medical benefits.
The shoulder is a complex joint, having to perform a balancing act of being both strong and flexible - far more flexible than other major joints such as elbows, knees or hips. This need for both strength and flexibility results in frequent work-related shoulder injuries. The most common work-related injuries include: rotator cuff tear, shoulder impingement, fractures, labral tears, SLAP (superior labrum anterior and posterior) lesion tears, and biceps tendon ruptures. These are serious conditions that often require surgery.
As with other injuries, when you seriously injure your shoulder at work you should not simply rely on the medical advice given by the doctor or nurse your employer has told you to see. If your pain or discomfort persists, you may have a far more serious injury than “just a muscle strain” that employer-centered providers diagnose. Your employer has the right to direct you to their doctor for only the first 10 days after your injury, after which you should choose your own doctor. You need to get your shoulder evaluated by a doctor you trust as soon as you can.
We have successfully represented clients from a variety of occupations in recovering lost wages and payment of medical bills for shoulder injuries that happen at work. Those occupations include truckers, laborers, delivery personnel, construction workers, painters, linemen, health care workers, heavy machine operators, assembly-line workers, iron workers, farmworkers, firefighters, personal care attendants, and many other related careers.
The lawyers at Irwin & Morris have successfully handled a wide variety of shoulder injury cases. Give us a call or send us a message using the contact form on this page, and we will answer any question or concerns you may have – free of charge.