Something important to remember under Missouri workers’ compensation law is that each body part is given a value. This value is expressed in “weeks of compensation.” Shoulder injuries are the second highest value under Missouri Work Comp statutes and are based on 232 weeks of maximum compensation.
If you have has a shoulder injury, the severity of your injury determines what percentage of the 232 weeks of compensation you will receive. You are entitled to several forms of benefits and should know your worker’s compensation rights.
What if I injure my shoulder at work?
If you hurt a shoulder in a workplace accident, the first thing you should do is report the injury to your employer. You have 30 days to report the injury under Missouri law, but you should not wait. If your employer doesn’t send you to a doctor immediately, you should report your injury in writing in addition to reporting it verbally. You can do this via email or text, but make sure you keep a copy at home. Give them details on how and when the injury occurred.
Many claims are ruined by waiting to give notice of the injury so this first step is very important.
Don’t start treating your injury on your own. Under Missouri Work comp law, the employer gets to choose your health care providers. Unfortunately, many work comp insurance carriers want the cheapest option and will refuse to send you for an immediate MRI to determine the damage. You must continue to report the pain you are experiencing.
Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to what your shoulder injury claim is worth.
The value of your shoulder injury is going to be determined by many factors:
The type of Shoulder Injury
Much of the value will be determined by the type of injury.
Rotator Cuff Tears
A rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that act to stabilize the shoulder. It helps to lift and rotate the arm while to stabilizing the shoulder within the joint. A rotator cuff tear is a common shoulder injury in the workplace and can cause a lot of pain and disability. A torn rotator cuff will weaken your shoulder, which can make doing daily activities difficult.
This is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain for workers that use their hands above shoulder level to perform their job duties. It occurs when the tendons of the rotator cuff muscles become irritated and inflamed as they pass through the subacromial space. This can result in a lot of pain and even result in the loss of arm movement at the shoulder.
Shoulder Fractures and Trauma
There are 3 bones in the shoulder: the scapula, the clavicle and the humerus. There are 3 joints in the shoulder: the glenohumeral joint, the acromioclavicular joint and the sternoclavicular joint. Common injuries to these areas are fractures, dislocations and soft-tissue injuries. Falling is probably the most common way to fracture or dislocate your shoulder.
Did your shoulder injury require surgery? Did you break a bone or tear a ligament or joint?
If your Missouri work comp injury required surgery, you broke a bone or tore something, you are almost always better off hiring a lawyer. If you didn’t have a very severe injury, you probably don’t need a lawyer in most circumstances (most workers compensation attorneys in Missouri won’t tell you this).
On the other side, if you have had a serious injury, representing yourself can be very costly. The friendly, insurance company hired lawyer is not there to look out for you. It’s actually quite the contrary. Their job is to pay you as little as possible.
How was your recovery?
Did you have to have another surgery? Was your shoulder replaced? How long was your physical therapy? There are many other issues considered while determining how this is valued.
You must understand that shoulder injuries take a long time to heal. The physical therapy is often long and painful. But, you should complete the prescribed therapy and don’t quit. It will ruin your recovery and Missouri work comp claim.
Reinjury during therapy is very common and should be reported immediately.
Did you have a pre-existing condition?
This is where your medical condition may be called into dispute, even if you have never had any shoulder injury or treatment before. Your employer and its insurance company lawyers may try to claim your problems were due to “degenerative changes” i.e. getting older. This is one reason why you need a Missouri workers compensation lawyer after being severely injured.
How was your outcome?
Ultimately, when you are done treating and are at maximum medical improvement, MMI, you will get a rating.
Did you have a decent outcome? This is where hiring an experienced workers compensation attorney in Missouri will almost always pay for itself. As stated earlier, the employer chooses your treating physician in Missouri. This is big business for many hospitals doctors. They have a vested interest in saying you are as good as new even when you are clearly not. Second, the surgeon is often asked to grade his or her own work. You can imagine how they rank themselves.
An experienced Missouri work comp shoulder injury lawyer will be able to look at your records and have some idea what the claim is worth. If necessary, our office can send you to a doctor of our choice for an exam. Our office fronts the money for these exams and gets repaid out of your settlement.
Did this result in your permanent and total disability?
Do you think this shoulder injury will keep you from going back to any job (not just your old one)? If so, you need a Missouri workers compensation attorney.
There are numerous factors that determine the valuation of a Missouri work comp shoulder injury. Jason Krebs has handled hundreds of shoulder injuries, and it’s one of the main areas of Missouri work comp we handle at Krebs Law Firm. There is no cost to call our office and see if we can help you. We handle Missouri workplace injuries statewide. Give us a call at 1-800-345-0535 or 417-883-5886.