When you are performing a physical job, your shoulder is one of the most important parts of your body. If your shoulder is injured, you would not be fully able to use your arms. If your shoulder injury was work-related, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits that could both replace part of your lost wages and cover reasonable medical expenses.
Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm can help you with your workers’ compensation claim, both when you file it and when you experience issues afterward. Contact us to speak with a Greenville workers’ compensation lawyer today.
What to Do if You Injured Your Shoulder on the Job
Under South Carolina law, you must report your injury to your employer within 90 days of when you knew or should have known about it. Otherwise, you may lose your right to claim workers’ compensation benefits. Especially with shoulder injuries that are related to overuse, there may be a question about when you should have discovered your injury. Thus, you should report your injury to your employer as soon as possible.
Then, you should see a doctor to diagnose and treat your injury. Your employer has the right to direct you to a doctor of their choosing. There is a chance that you may get a second opinion if you would like, but it is not guaranteed.
Workers’ compensation claims are a legal matter. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you, especially when your claim involves difficult issues, or you would need to negotiate a settlement.
Types of Shoulder Injuries on the Job
The shoulder is a very complex joint, since it is the most flexible one in the body. There is a large amount of strain on your shoulder when you are using your arms or lifting heavy items. There are numerous parts of the shoulder that can be injured. You could suffer a sudden injury due to a particular motion or strain.
Alternatively, the wear and tear on your shoulder over an extended period of time could cause overuse injuries.
Potential work-related shoulder injuries include:
- Rotator cuff tear: the rotator cuff are muscles and tendons that hold your shoulder in place and allow it to move. Overuse can wear down the muscles and tendons to the point where there is a tear. The movement of your shoulder is then restricted.
- Bursitis: The bursa is a sac that reduces friction between tissues in the body. Bursitis is when there is an inflammation in this sac that causes a reduction of motion in your shoulder.
- Tendonitis: Your shoulder is made up of tendons. These tendons can become inflamed from regular usage, causing you constant pain and discomfort.
- Shoulder impingement: Here, the outer edge of your shoulder blade is contacting your rotator cuff. The rotator cuff would get pinched, causing pain and a reduction in movement. A shoulder impingement can result from overuse or a sudden injury
- SLAP tear: The labrum is cartilage that lines the shoulder where your arm bone fits into the joint. You may suffer a tear in this cartilage, either from overuse or a sudden injury.
Some of these shoulder injuries may go away over time with rest and rehabilitation. Others may require surgery to fix tears. In some cases, your shoulder injury may be permanent, keeping you from doing a job that requires the continuous usage of your arms. You may need a workers’ compensation settlement when you cannot perform your job for an extended period of time.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits in South Carolina
Workers’ compensation benefits will cover two-thirds of your lost wages, up to a statutory cap. In South Carolina, the 2023 cap is set at $1,035.78. The cap is adjusted upward each year to account for a higher average weekly wage in the state. You could take your lost wages portion as a weekly payment or enter into a settlement with the insurance company.
Your benefits will also cover reasonable medical expenses to treat your injury. Usually, this includes medical treatment and physical therapy. Workers’ compensation should pay for your surgery, assuming it is reasonable care that has been recommended by a doctor. If the insurance company will not cover shoulder surgery, you would have the right to file an appeal. The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission would then determine whether the insurance company needs to pay for your surgery.
Contact a Greenville Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today
If you have suffered a shoulder injury at work, Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm can help you when you apply for the workers’ compensation benefits that you need. The first step is to reach out to us for your free no-obligation initial consultation. You can send us a message online, or you can call us today at (864) 280-7660 to speak with a lawyer. You do not need to pay anything upfront.