The shoulder is a complex joint. Shoulder injuries such as dislocations and rotator cuff tears are common workplace injuries that can affect every aspect of your life. Even a minor shoulder injury can prevent you from completing your usual job duties.
If you have sustained a shoulder injury while on the job in Georgia, you could be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. But workers’ comp insurance administrators often dispute valid workplace injury claims. An experienced workers’ comp attorney can help you understand the benefits you are entitled to under Georgia workers’ compensation law.
Attorney Gregory Smith has been focusing on workers’ compensation claims for more than 25 years and is passionate about standing up for the rights of injured workers. Gregory Smith Law will help you seek the full benefits you are eligible to receive. Contact Gregory Smith Law, LLC for a free initial consultation to learn more about your legal options.
Common Causes of Shoulder Injuries at Work
The shoulder is one of the largest and most flexible joints in the body. It’s comprised of an intricate network of bones, muscles, tendons, and cartilage that all work together to enable a broad range of motion. Because shoulders are complex and frequently used, they are also particularly prone to injury.
Workers with jobs that involve physical labor are especially prone to shoulder injuries Injuries to the rotator cuff, the group of muscles and tendons surrounding the shoulder, are frequently caused by repetitive overhead work such as painting or carpentry and may require surgery.
Common causes of shoulder injuries at work include:
- Working in awkward positions
- Working with the arms raised above shoulder level
- Working with any amount of force or pressure on the shoulders, such as from shoulder-mounted moving straps
- Mechanical contact stress from resting the back, arms, shoulders, elbows, wrists, or hands against hard surfaces while working
- Holding the body in a static position with the shoulders flexed or elevated
- Vibrations traveling up the arm from power tools or other work equipment
- Exposure to extreme hot or cold temperatures
- Repetitive motions such as routine lifting, pushing or pulling tasks
- Overexertion from lifting, pushing or pulling heavy objects
- Blunt force trauma from work-related motor vehicle accidents
Symptoms of Shoulder Injuries
Shoulder injuries are typically caused by trauma, repetitive motion strain, or wear and tear over time. When a physician diagnoses a shoulder injury, the doctor will typically consider your job duties, recent incidents, and whether you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Restricted range of motion – A shoulder injury may make it difficult to lift your arm above your head, reach across the front of your body, or reach behind your back.
- Popping or clicking – If part of your shoulder was dislocated or fractured in a work-related accident, you may hear popping or clicking noises when you lift, rotate, move, or flex your affected arm.
- Dull or intense pain – Depending on the severity of your injury, you may experience a dull, throbbing pain throughout your affected arm or sharp, intense pain at the site of your shoulder injury.
- Tingling or numbness – If a shoulder injury causes swelling or inflammation, the irritated tissue can compress the nerves in the shoulder, causing a tingling or numb sensation.
- Weakness or stiffness – Repetitive motion stress and rotator cuff tears can cause shoulders to become stiff, weak, and difficult to move.
How Can You Avoid Shoulder Injuries at Work?
Many shoulder injuries are preventable. You can potentially decrease your risk of shoulder injuries at work if you:
- Pay attention to your body – If you notice any pain, tingling, numbness, or other unusual sensations after any work activity, take note. You may need to modify the way you are managing a task, avoid doing the task altogether, and visit a doctor for an examination.
- Use good posture at all times – Avoid slouching or hunching over when you sit or stand. Use proper lifting techniques whenever you lift any objects. Straighten your back and lift with your legs. If you have a desk, arrange everything you need so it’s comfortably within reach.
- Take regular breaks and stay healthy – Move around and stretch for a few minutes about once every hour to give your body a chance to rest.
- Ask for help when you need it – Don’t injure yourself through unnecessary overexertion or straining just to avoid bothering a co-worker. If you could use the help with a physical task at work, ask for it.
What Is the Average Workers’ Comp Shoulder Injury Settlement?
Every injury case is different, so there’s no true “average” workers’ comp settlement amount for a work-related shoulder injury.
Several different factors can affect the overall value of your settlement, such as:
- The average weekly income you earned before the shoulder injury
- The location, type, and severity of your shoulder injury
- Whether or not your shoulder injury prevents you from returning to work
- The current and anticipated future medical expenses to treat your shoulder injury
- Your disability rating, if the shoulder injury has left you disabled.
Generally speaking, your workers’ compensation benefits should cover the costs of any necessary medical expenses related to your injury. If you require long-term treatment, you may be entitled to benefits for that as well. If you are unable to return to your job due to the injury, workers’ comp benefits may pay for vocational rehabilitation to help you train for a new job.
If your workplace shoulder injury forces you to miss work for seven days or more, worker’s comp benefits may provide you weekly payments to cover a portion of your lost wages. These temporary disability benefits may pay up to two-thirds of your average pre-injury wages each week, with a maximum value of $675 per week.
If you can return to work in a reduced capacity after your injury, you may be entitled to reduced wage loss benefits while you are earning less.
Contact an Augusta Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
At Gregory Smith Law, LLC, our legal team focuses on workers’ compensation law and standing up for the rights of injured workers. If you have questions about workers’ comp benefits for a work-related shoulder injury, we are here to help. Contact our Augusta workers’ comp attorneys today for a free case review to learn more about how we can make a difference in your case.