Shoulder injuries commonly occur in the workplace, especially in jobs that require repetitive arm movements and those that require pushing, pulling and lifting heavy objects. Shoulder pain may develop from the shoulder joint or from muscles and tendon injuries. A shoulder injury can limit a worker’s ability to do their job and cause a person to lose mobility and range of motion in their arm. Shoulder injuries often require surgery and extensive physical therapy to heal properly.
A worker who injures his or her shoulder on the job may be eligible for workers’ compensation income and medical benefits. Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws are complicated. Employers and insurance companies often dispute valid worker’s compensation claims. At Gregory Smith Law, LLC, we have an in-depth understanding of injured workers’ rights under Georgia law. Attorney Gregory Smith knows the appropriate steps to take to help injured workers access the full benefits available by law
Gregory Smith Law has secured millions in benefits for injured workers. Let us put our skills and knowledge to work for you, too. Contact us today for a free consultation.
What Are Some Common Causes of Shoulder Injuries?
Workplace shoulder injuries can be caused by a variety of factors. The most common causes of workplace shoulder injuries include:
- Lifting, pushing and pulling – Workers who forcefully exert themselves while moving heavy equipment, boxes, or materials on the job can suffer shoulder injuries. This can happen in many different workplace settings. Shoulder injuries due to overexertion often occur in warehouses, factories, and construction areas. But they can also occur in grocery stores, restaurants, medical facilities and other work environments when workers lift, push, and pull heavy loads.
- Working in an awkward position – Some workers have to contort their bodies into awkward positions to perform their job such as plumbers and electricians working in confined spaces. When workers try to complete tasks while in awkward postures, shoulder injuries may occur.
- Repetitive movements – Some workers regularly perform repetitive tasks. Over time, performing these tasks again and again can cause repetitive stress shoulder injuries. For example, production and assembly line workers who perform the same arm and shoulder movements over and over can develop chronic pain in their arms and shoulders.
- Slip and fall injuries – Slip and fall injuries can occur in any work environment. A slip and fall accident can result in a traumatic shoulder injury.
Common Shoulder Injuries You Could Suffer at Your Job
Some shoulder injuries may only require ice and rest. More serious injuries such as rotator cuff tears may require surgery to repair. The most common shoulder injuries that occur in the workplace include:
- Dislocated shoulder – A dislocated shoulder occurs when the upper arm pops out of the shoulder socket. The shoulder can become dislocated in multiple directions. In most cases, the shoulder dislocates in a forward direction. Depending on the severity, a dislocated shoulder might require surgery and/or physical therapy to heal properly.
- Rotator cuff injury – Your rotator cuff is a collection of muscles and tendons that protects your shoulder and allows you to move your arms over your head. Workers who sustain shoulder trauma often tear their rotator cuff, which can severely limit strength and mobility in the arm and shoulder. Rotator cuff injuries are often initially treated with ice and physical therapy, but surgery may be required to reattach a torn tendon.
- Fractures – When a worker fractures or breaks their upper arm bone, this can result in a shoulder injury. Depending upon the severity of the fracture and where it occurs, surgery may be necessary.
- Shoulder impingement syndrome – Repeatedly performing overhead lifting activities can lead to impingement syndrome. An injured worker with impingement syndrome may have trouble lifting their arms above their head.
What Kind of Compensation Can You Get for a Work-Related Shoulder Injury?
Workers’ compensation insurance covers medical treatment for workers who sustain shoulder injuries on the job. It also provides some temporary financial assistance while the worker is unable to work. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. An injured employee may be eligible for benefits regardless of who caused the injury. You simply need to show that you were injured while doing your job.
Workers’ compensation typically covers:
- Medical benefits – Any reasonable and necessary medical expenses you incur as a result of your workplace shoulder injury may be covered by workers’ comp, including MRI scans, surgery, physical therapy, and other costs associated with your recovery.
- Lost wages –Workers’ compensation is designed to make up for a portion of lost wages due to the injured employee’s inability to work. A worker may receive weekly wage loss benefits for temporary partial disability (TPD), temporary total disability (TTD), and permanent partial disability (PPD).
What Steps Should You Take If You Suffer a Shoulder Injury at Work?
If you sustain a shoulder injury on the job, the first thing you should do is notify your employer. Make sure you do this in writing so that there is a record of your injury. Do this as soon as possible, and within 30 days, so that you don’t lose your benefits.
You will need to seek medical care from a list of authorized doctors. Your employer is required by Georgia law to post a list of at least six medical providers for you to choose from.
Navigating the process of applying for workers’ compensation can be challenging, especially if you are trying to recover from a debilitating shoulder injury. If you’ve been injured on the job in Georgia, contact our team at Gregory Smith Law, LLC, to set up a free consultation.
We will guide you through the workers’ compensation process and pursue the full benefits you are entitled to claim as an injured worker. Get in touch with us today to get started.