Shoulder injuries are common for laborers. In fact, the shoulder is one of the most likely body parts to be injured on the job. Its function is crucial enough that you may be unable to work until the injury is treated and heals. In some cases, you may even be permanently injured.
North Carolina law entitles you to the cost of medical care and a portion of your lost wages when you are unable to work because of your shoulder injury. Contact the Wilmington workers’ compensation attorneys at Horton Mendez when you have questions about shoulder injury at work settlements or need help with your workers’ compensation claims.
Examples of Work-Related Shoulder Injuries
Your shoulders bear a heavy load when you have a physical job. You can suffer an injury in a sudden accident or over time because of the repetitive stress that a physical job places on your shoulders.
Here are some work-related shoulder injuries that can lead to a workers’ compensation claim:
- Rotator cuff tears
- Labrum tears
- Dislocations of the joint
- Peripheral nerve impairment
- Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis)
- Shoulder strain
- Impingement syndrome of the shoulder
Shoulder injuries are not necessarily easy workers’ compensation claims. You are legally entitled to benefits if you can show that the injury was work-related. Since many of these injuries occur over time, the insurance company may deny the claim because they will claim that your injury happened outside of work.
The sooner you get medical treatment for your injury, the better your chances of demonstrating that it was work-related.
Treatment and Medical Care for Shoulder Injuries
You should always see a doctor as soon as you begin to feel any pain in your shoulder. Since many shoulder injuries happen over time, the success of your claim can depend on timely medical treatment and notifying your employer of the injury. Your doctor may opt for one of a number of treatment options, depending on the severity of your injury.
Here are some ways that your shoulder injury may be treated:
- Cortisone injections to help relieve the pain
- Rehabilitation to help restore your range of motion and strength in your shoulder
- Taking a prescription for anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce swelling in your shoulder
- Rest and ice
If no other treatment options work, you may need surgery to repair your shoulder.
Your doctor may use several of these treatment options together and opt for surgery as a last resort. Even surgery may not heal your shoulder injury entirely. Much of your physical strength comes from your shoulders. It may even take more than one surgery to repair a shoulder injury fully.
How to Start a Claim for Workers’ Compensation After a Shoulder Injury
Once you have realized that you have suffered an injury, your first step must be to notify your employer of your injury. You are better off giving this notice in writing, so nobody can dispute that you met your obligation. You have 30 days from the date of the injury to notify your employer, or you may be unable to make a claim.
Then, you will assemble your documentation and file the claim form with the North Carolina Industrial Commission. Workers’ compensation documentation can include the following:
- The diagnosis of your injury and medical records
- Forms filled out by your medical provider
- Statements from witnesses that show your injury was work-related
- Proof that you notified your employer of your injury in time
- Records that will show your average weekly wage
You have two years from the date of the injury to file the claim.
How Much Your Shoulder Injury Claim May Be Worth
Full workers’ compensation benefits under North Carolina law are equal to two-thirds of your average weekly wage before the injury, up to a maximum of $1,184 per week. You will receive this amount if you suffer a temporary total disability that keeps you from working at all. Your benefits will be payable for up to 500 weeks or until you can return to work.
The valuation of your claim would be more complex if you suffered a permanent disability. You will receive a disability rating based on the severity of your injury. For example, a medical examination can determine that you are 50 percent disabled. Then, you will receive your weekly benefit multiplied by one-half to reflect your disability rating.
You may not agree with the disability rating that was given to you. Shoulder injuries can be debilitating and serious, especially if you are in a physical line of work. You may need to contest your disability rating to get more money.
If you have been permanently disabled, you can enter into a settlement agreement now to get all your money upfront. Your future benefits will be discounted based on the present value of money, and you will be paid one lump sum right now. Settlements can take some negotiation to ensure that you are getting the right amount.
Contact a Wilmington Shoulder Injury Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
If you have questions about a workers’ comp shoulder injury settlement or you have any other issues related to your claim, the lawyers at Horton Mendez Injury Attorneys are standing by and ready to help you.
The first step is to contact us for a free initial consultation. You can speak with one of your attorneys by sending us a message online or by calling us today at 910-405-7751. We know the tricks that insurance companies use to make your life harder, and we are ready to fight on your behalf.