Maximizing Workers’ Compensation for Workplace Shoulder Injuries

Work injuries involving the shoulder are more common than many realize and can be very debilitating.  A very common shoulder injury workers suffer involves the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that stabilize the shoulder and help it move. Symptoms of a rotator cuff injury can include shoulder pain and muscle weakness and is often diagnosed using MRI or ultrasound to more accurately evaluate rotator cuff tendons.

While some shoulder injuries respond to immobilization with a progression toward physical therapy, others may require surgery. Rotator cuff repairs can usually be performed arthroscopically, where torn tendons are repaired or reattached to the bone. The post op recovery often involves wearing a sling, engaging in physical therapy to restore motion and strength.

Although treatment options are pretty straight forward recovery can run the gamut. Those suffering from rotator cuff or other injuries to their shoulder now all too well how debilitating it can be. Pain and immobility can make even basic tasks such as getting dressed challenging let alone trying to get back to work.  Even those who elect surgery have their work cut out for them as recovery can take weeks to months or even years resulting in increasing financial insecurity.

Fortunately, under Iowa workers’ compensation, you are entitled to medical care and wage replacement if you are injured at work. As of 2017, shoulder injures changed from being considered body as a whole injuries to scheduled member injuries with a maximum 400 weeks of disability benefits. A doctor assigns the impairment rating to determine how many weeks the injured worker receives.

To maximize your benefits for a shoulder injury, it is important to work with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney:

  • It may be that you are evaluated as a scheduled member injury when in fact your injury may be considered a body as a whole workers’ comp claim because it involves areas covered under whole body such as the clavicle. You may also be able to make a claim for a second injury benefit, if your injury involves more than one area of the body.
  • Impairment ratings posed by the insurance company’s chosen doctor may be challenged – you are entitled to a second opinion under Iowa law. An injured worker can choose the doctor who provides a second opinion so it is certainly helpful to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer who can point you to competent and trustworthy doctors in your area.
  • Because workers can become severely disabled by a shoulder injury, they may be eligible for vocational assistance under Iowa workers’ compensation law. A knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney can provide you needed information to apply for these benefits.

Workers’ Comp Benefits for a Workplace Shoulder Injury

Contact Experienced Iowa Workers’ Comp Benefits Attorney

When you have suffered a workplace shoulder injury it is worthwhile to contact an Iowa worker’s compensation attorney to discuss your situation. With the help of an attorney you may be able to secure a longer duration of benefits which can make all the difference as you work on recovery. Contact the Des Moines workers’ compensation attorneys of Stoltze & Stoltze PLC for an overview of the process and a candid assessment of your case to determine if hiring an attorney is a good strategy for your circumstances.  When you have questions about what to do after a workplace injury, go to what you need to know about your workplace injury for more information or call515.989.8529 for your free consultation.