Work Related Shoulder Injuries
The shoulder is one of the most common body parts injured in work-related accidents. Primarily because it is one of the most often-used body parts in almost all areas of employment, particularly, physical employment. Common types of employees who often sustain work-related shoulder injuries include the following: sheet metal workers, electricians, carpenters, plumbers, pipe-fitters, gas-fitters, HVAC, etc. However, a work-related shoulder injury can include just about any type of worker, ie, a secretary reaching for a heavy file.
Shoulder injuries range from simple strains, to tendonitis, to complete rotator cuff tears. Treatment ranges just as wide, ranging from rest and over the counter medications, to physical therapy, to cortisone therapy, to surgery. Depending upon the extent of the injury and the treatment options available, the disability period following can be relatively brief to permanent.
As you can see from what was said above, there is a good deal of uncertainty following such injuries and with that comes a lot of worry and anxiety to the injured employee.
An experienced Massachusetts Workers Comp lawyer is essential in guiding an injured employee through this process.
Benefits due under the MA Workers Comp Law (M.G.L. Chapter 152) include the following:
- Section 34 - Temporary Total Disability benefits
- Section 34A - Permanent and Total Disability benefits
- Section 35 - Temporary Partial Disability benefits
The extent of the injury and the treatment course will generally determine which benefits the injured employee will be entitled to following their injury.
For example, a young union sheet metal worker who sustains a torn rotator cuff, requiring surgery, will likely be entitled to Section 34 benefits following his/her injury. He/she could undergo physical therapy, followed by cortisone injections, and then, if this doesn't help, surgery to repair the torn rotator cuff. A treatment course like this can take months to well over a year. Hopefully, this individual will then be able to return to his/her job, at which point the Section 34 benefits will cease.
On the other hand, a 60-year old pipe-fitter, who sustains the same injury and undergoes the same treatment course, may never be able to return to his/her job. Following 3 years of temporary total disability benefits under Section 34, would potentially be entitled to Permanent and Total Disability benefits under Section 34A.
Another example may be an office worker, who strains his/her shoulder. Because of this injury, he/she may only be able to due part time work, reducing his/her hours in half until they recover to full duty. In a situation like this, partial disability benefits are available under Section 35, for up to 5 years. This section provides weekly disability payments representing a portion of the difference between the employee's pre-injury wages, and what they are able to earn post-injury.
The point to all of this is that a work-related shoulder injury and the employee's entitlement to Workers Comp benefits varies case to case. It is vital to have an experienced Massachusetts Workers Comp Lawyer at your side during this process. Calling an attorney as early as possible following a work-related injury is key! Insurance companies don't wait in defending against such claims. You shouldn't wait either.
At Troupe Law Office, we have over 60 years of combined experience, solely in the representation of injured workers and their families. We are experienced workers comp lawyers, located on the North Shore of Boston, in Peabody. We serve workers comp cases throughout Massachusetts including Boston, Lawrence, Fall River, Worcester and Springfield.
Call us any time for a free consultation of your case.