Guide to Workers Compensation Settlement for Shoulder Injuries
The value of Virginia workers’ compensation settlements for shoulder injuries, such as rotator cuff tears, frozen shoulders, and SLAP tears, is case-specific, meaning that it depends largely on the particular facts of a claim.
The Workers’ Compensation Board has issued guidelines for determining the worth of a case. In this article, we will discuss the factors that can significantly impact the ultimate value of a workers’ compensation settlement, as well as how to seek fair compensation for shoulder injuries.
If you or a loved one suffered a shoulder injury in a work-related accident, we invite you to call our office to schedule a free consultation with experienced Virginia workers’ compensation attorney Mark Hurt. As a workers’ comp attorney with over two decades of legal experience, Mark can listen to the facts of your case, explain your legal options, and tenaciously pursue the maximum workers’ compensation settlement possible.
A Closer Look at the Anatomy of a Shoulder
The workers’ compensation claims process can be challenging, as it requires injured workers to have an understanding of both medical and legal factors. The shoulder is a complex joint with many different muscles and ligaments that can be injured during the course of employment. When assessing a workers’ compensation shoulder injury claim, it is important to understand how the anatomy of the shoulder contributes to the resulting injury.
The shoulder joint is comprised of three bones: the clavicle (collar bone), the scapula (shoulder blade), and the humerus (upper arm bone). The head of the humerus fits into the glenoid fossa of your scapula, creating a ball and socket joint that allows for elevation, abduction, adduction, and rotation of your arm.
The capsule surrounding the shoulder joint is comprised of two layers: an outer layer called the glenohumeral ligament and an inner layer called the subscapularis tendon. These two layers work together to stabilize your shoulder joint while allowing it to move freely. These layers are critical in preventing dislocation or subluxation of your shoulder joint. The rotator cuff muscles also help stabilize this area by attaching to various parts of your humerus bone and scapula bone.
The rotator cuff muscles include four muscles: supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis. They all work together to provide stability to the shoulder joint while allowing it to move freely.
When determining the value of a workers’ compensation settlement, the extent of the injuries and their long-term impacts will significantly influence a claim’s value. At The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, we regularly consult with experts, specialists, and physicians who assist in evaluating the extent of the injuries so that full and fair workers’ comp settlements can be negotiated.
How is the Process for Shoulder Injury Compensation Under Virginia Workers’ Compensation Statutes?
Shoulder injuries are common in the workplace, and they can be painful and debilitating. Rotator cuff tears, frozen shoulders, SLAP tears, and other shoulder injuries may be caused by repetitive motions or sudden trauma. Most of these injuries develop over time, but some may happen immediately after an accident or fall at work.
When a worker is injured during the course of employment, the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC) provides benefits, including medical care and partial wage replacement. To obtain compensation, employees who are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits must apply through their employer (and its insurer).
If you or a loved one suffered a shoulder injury while working, it is vital to immediately report the injury to the employer and seek immediate medical treatment. Once an employer is notified about a work accident, it should provide a list of physicians from which to choose. The employer and its workers’ compensation insurer are responsible for fully covering the expenses associated with treatment provided by approved physicians. Conversely, if an injured worker chooses a physician that is not on the employer-provided list, he or she may be responsible for paying for the cost of the treatment out of pocket or through a private health insurance plan.
Even when claims are valid, the WCC regularly denies workers’ compensation claims when it believes an individual was not actually injured at work or if the employee did not follow the proper procedures associated with receiving workers’ compensation benefits. If you or a loved one was denied workers’ compensation benefits, it might be possible to file an appeal. Contact The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt today to schedule a consultation with an experienced shoulder injury lawyer to learn more about filing an initial workers’ comp claim or appealing denied benefits.
What are the Common Causes of Rotator Cuff Injury?
Rotator cuff injuries are common among people who work in physically demanding fields, like construction, manufacturing, and sports. The most common cause of rotator cuff injury is overuse, which can occur gradually or suddenly.
If you’re experiencing pain in your shoulder, it’s important to see your doctor right away. There are different types of tests and treatments available to help you manage your pain and aid in your recovery.
Common causes of rotator cuff injuries include:
- Repetitive motions. If you work in a factory where you perform the same tasks over and over again with little variation, this can put stress on your shoulder muscles and tendons. You may experience shoulder pain or stiffness after a long day at work or during exercise.
- Trauma. If you’ve had an injury that involves trauma to an arm bone (such as a broken bone), this can also damage the ligaments around the joint as well as surrounding muscles and tendons near the joint. These injuries often require surgery for proper healing and recovery time.
- Tendon & Muscle Tears. Injuries that do not involve direct trauma can cause significant damage by tearing tendons or muscle. Such injuries include bursitis (inflammation of a bursa) and impingement syndrome (when the tendons become pinched against the acromion).
How is a Rotator Cuff Tear Diagnosed?
Rotator cuff tears are diagnosed using a combination of tests, including X-rays, MRIs, and arthroscopy.
X-rays can help identify changes in the shape of the shoulder joint, such as bone spurs or calcium deposits. The X-ray may also show signs of arthritis, a condition in which the cartilage in joints begins to wear away. If you have ongoing pain in your shoulder that doesn’t improve with treatment, an x-ray may be highly beneficial.
An MRI scan uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field to create detailed images of your joint. These scans can help doctors detect small tears in rotator cuff tendons and other soft tissues around a joint. It’s important to note that these scans do not always identify small tears because they happen deep within the tissue.
Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that allows doctors to look inside a shoulder joints without making large incisions or causing too much trauma to the area being examined. During this procedure, doctors insert tiny instruments called arthroscopic shavers into your joint through small incisions. The shavers remove pieces of damaged tissue so that new healthy tissue can grow back in its place.
How Are Torn Rotator Cuffs Treated?
Treatment for rotator cuff tears depends on their severity, location, and symptoms. Most people with milder injuries can be treated with non-surgical options such as rest, ice, pain relievers, and physical therapy. Those with more severe tears may need surgical intervention to repair the tendon or reconstruct part of it using a graft from another area of the body (allograft) or using synthetic material (proteins).
What is the Likelihood of a Full Recovery from a Rotator Cuff Injury?
It is possible to fully recover from a rotator cuff injury, but the recovery process can be lengthy. The majority of people who suffer from rotator cuff injuries will experience pain and loss of motion during the early stages of their recovery. However, with time, most individuals are able to regain their range of motion and strength in their shoulder joint.
The likelihood of full recovery depends on several factors, including:
- Age: Older individuals may not recover as quickly as younger ones due to age-related changes in tissue quality and blood supply to the injured area.
- Existing health conditions: People with diabetes or coronary artery disease may have an increased risk of complications when recovering from rotator cuff injuries since these conditions can impair blood flow to the affected area.
- Pre-existing damage: People who have previously injured their rotator cuffs may find it harder to regain full range of motion after surgery because scar tissue may limit movement in particular directions.
What is the Average Value of a Rotator Cuff Injury under Workers Comp?
The value of a rotator cuff injury under Virginia workers’ compensation depends on several factors, including whether an individual has already been treated for a rotator cuff injury, whether a full or partial rotator cuff tear is present, and how much time an employee misses from work.
In our experience, the average worker comp claim in Virginia for a shoulder injury typically ranges from $20,000 to $175,000. This includes medical treatment and lost wages, as well as other costs such as temporary disability payments and permanent impairment awards.
What Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits Can I Receive for a Shoulder Injury?
Virginia’s workers compensation laws require employers to pay for medical expenses incurred by injured employees, including bills from doctors, physical therapy sessions, surgery, and medications prescribed by medical professionals.
In addition to those costs, injured employees can also receive temporary disability benefits while they’re recovering from their injuries. Those payments cover a portion of the regular income that would have been earned during your recovery period if an individual hadn’t been hurt on the job. If an injured worker already missed work due to a rotator cuff or other shoulder injury, then those lost wages will be calculated into the settlement amount when calculating temporary disability benefits. In general, Virginia Workers’ Compensation for lost wages is equal to 66.67% of an injured worker’s average weekly wages.
As a Virginia workers’ compensation attorney with over two decades of experience, firm-founding attorney Mark Hurt can assess the facts of your case, explain your legal options, and tenaciously fight for the maximum benefit amount possible. Call our office at 276.623.0808 today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
How Do I Calculate a Fair Workers Comp Settlement Amount for My Shoulder Injury? Understanding the Different Factors.
In Virginia, workers’ compensation benefits are calculated based on a percentage of the employee’s average weekly wage. The calculation is determined by multiplying your average weekly wage by two-thirds, which is the maximum amount that you can receive through workers’ compensation benefits. The amount of time an individual will receive these benefits is determined by statute, which specifies that an injured worker who has not reached full recovery after three years of work may be eligible for continuing benefits until he or she reaches maximum medical improvement (MMI). If an employee has not reached MMI after five years, then they may be eligible for permanent total disability benefits.
Injuries involving the shoulder can cause significant pain and discomfort and may prevent you from performing certain tasks at work or at home. Shoulder injuries can also lead to other problems, such as rotator cuff tears and frozen shoulder syndrome in some cases. To determine how much your shoulder injury will impact your ability to perform daily activities and work-related tasks, it is critical to consult with a physician so that your injury can be fully assessed.
When calculating a workers’ compensation settlement in Virginia, different factors will be considered, including:
- The type of injury – Are you suffering from an acute injury such as a tear, strain, or sprain? Or is it chronic, meaning that it has lasted more than three months? If it is chronic, the compensation will typically be less than if it were acute.
- The severity of the injury – How much pain are you in on a scale of one to ten? The more pain an individual is in, the higher a settlement may be. This can also mean that if there is any permanent shoulder damage, then the amount of compensation may increase as well.
- How long an employee has been out of work due to this injury – If it has been less than three months and an individual is still experiencing pain and discomfort while performing daily tasks around the house or doing things at work (such as typing or lifting), then this could affect a settlement because it means that there may be permanent damage present.
Schedule A Free Consultation with Experienced Virginia Workers’ Compensation Attorney Mark Hurt.
If you or a loved one suffered a shoulder injury while working, it is critical to understand your legal rights and options under Virginia’s workers’ compensation laws. As such, it is vital to speak with an experienced Virginia workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.
Virginia workers’ compensation lawyer Mark T. Hurt is ready to help you today! Mark Hurt has been handling shoulder injury claims for years and can zealously advocate for the maximum benefits to which you and your family are entitled. Contact The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Virginia workers’ compensation lawyer.