Typical Settlement for Rotator Cuff Injury at Work
Many employees expect their employers to provide a safe working environment to prevent accidents and injuries in the workplace. Unfortunately, work accidents are more common than one might think, and in most cases, they can lead to injuries that may affect a worker's ability to live a normal life.
Rotator cuff injuries are among the most devastating work-related injuries, often resulting in long-term mobility problems. Not only is it difficult to treat this type of injury, but it can also be challenging to prove, which can affect an employee's ability to fight a workers' compensation claim.
The personal injury attorneys at Schuerger Shunnarah have extensive experience handling workers' compensation claims and go to war fighting for the rights of injured workers across Nashville, Tennessee.
Those who have suffered injuries while performing work duties should immediately contact Schuerger Shunnarah to discuss their case and learn more about their legal rights. They can answer questions like, "What is mmi in workers comp?"
What Are Rotator Cuff Injuries?
A rotator cuff injury, also known as a rotator cuff tear, is a type of shoulder injury involving the progressive wear and tear of tendon tissue resulting from repetitive movements over a long period of time.
There are two types of rotator cuff injuries:
Partial: This involves the tendon partially tearing away from the arm bone or shoulder joint while still remaining attached to it.
Complete: In this type of injury, the tendon is not attached to the arm bone and is completely torn away.
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, over 2 million Americans suffer from rotator cuff tears each year. Although these injuries can happen to anyone, they are more common in older adults.
Common Causes of Rotator Cuff Injuries in Nashville, Tennessee
There are many different causes of such shoulder injuries in the United States, some of which include the following:
One of the major causes of a torn rotator cuff in the workplace is constant or repetitive motion. Overuse of the shoulder muscle can cause serious wear and tear over time, weakening the tendon and making it more susceptible to tearing.
Employees who stock items on shelves or work as painters, for example, are at risk of shoulder injuries due to the nature of their jobs.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Any accident that involves falling onto the shoulders or arms can lead to a shoulder injury. Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common causes of rotator cuff injuries in the United States.
A rotator cuff tear can occur when a person falls from a considerable height onto their shoulders or with their arms extended in an attempt to break the fall. This can lead to a torn rotator cuff, requiring surgery and physical therapy to help heal the wound and restore some mobility to the shoulder.
Lifting Heavy Objects
When a person lifts heavy objects without using the proper techniques, it increases the risk of shoulder injuries.
Workers at construction companies often lift heavy objects as part of their daily duties, and losing focus on the job can lead to severe rotator cuff tears.
Many jobs require employees to drive vehicles, including postal services, delivery companies, trucking, and more. A motor vehicle crash can lead to a variety of injuries, including a rotator cuff tear.
Can Employees Receive Compensation for Rotator Cuff Tears?
In Nashville, Tennessee, businesses must carry workers' compensation for all employees if there are five or more workers. This type of insurance pays for the employee's medical bills, lost wages, compensation for permanent injuries, and death benefits if an employee suffers injuries or dies while performing work duties.
What Is a Typical Settlement for Rotator Cuff Injury at Work?
Although most shoulder injuries settle for anywhere between $20,000 and $150,000, it is challenging to determine the typical settlement for a rotator cuff tear.
Since the majority of personal injury cases settle outside of court, the amount victims receive remains confidential, making it difficult to calculate the average settlement value.
Factors Affecting the Settlement of Rotator Cuff Tears
It is important to note that several factors can affect the compensation an injured worker receives for their rotator cuff injury, and these include the following:
Lost Wages and Disability Benefits
When an injured worker suffers injuries, they may be unable to work for a few days, weeks, or even months. In extreme cases involving permanent injuries, the victim may never return to work. Fortunately, workers' compensation compensates the injured workers for the lost wages from not attending their job due to their injuries.
In Nashville, Tennessee, employees may receive two-thirds of the difference in their average weekly wage as temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits when they apply for a workers' compensation claim.
Suppose an employee has an average weekly wage of $600 and works for only a few hours a week due to their injury, resulting in $200 pay. In this scenario, the employee will receive the $200 for the hours they've worked and $266.68 (66 2/3% x $400.00).
If a work-related accident results in a permanent partial disability, the worker may receive benefits to address the degree of impairment caused. After a medical assessment, the doctor will allocate an impairment rating to the injury sustained by the injured victim, which represents the percentage loss of bodily function. The insurance company will multiply this rating by 450 weeks and two-thirds of their average wages to determine the compensation they must pay out.
Suppose a worker has an average weekly wage of $900, and the medical doctor gives them an impairment rating of 20%. In this case, they will receive $600 a week for 90 weeks (450 weeks multiplied by 20%) or a total of $54,000.
If the person suffers a permanent disability and cannot return to work, the insurance company must pay two-thirds of their average weekly wages for the rest of their life until the injured worker reaches retirement age. The disability benefits for total disability compared to partial are much higher.
It is important to note that there are maximum and minimum amounts for temporary and permanent disability benefits. For any worker injured between July 1st, 2022, and June 30th, 2023, the maximum temporary and permanent benefits rate is $1,233.10 and $1,121.
The Severity of the Injury
Besides lost wages or disability benefits, the employer's insurance company must also pay for all the medical expenses incurred following the work-related injury.
Under personal injury law, medical expenses may include current medical bills, hospital fees, transportation costs to and from the medical provider, surgery bills, therapy and rehabilitation, prescription medication, and other medical bills, as well as future medical expenses.
Not all shoulder injuries are the same, and some may require rotator cuff surgery. If the worker's torn rotator cuff requires future surgeries, it could drastically increase the value of the settlement.
Serious rotator cuff injuries come with mobility problems, chronic pain, and permanent weakness in the victim's arms. This could affect their ability to work and require rotator cuff repair surgery, therapy sessions, and other medical treatments. In such cases, the settlement can reach $100,000 or even go beyond that.
If the rotator cuff tear comes with a frozen shoulder, labral tears, or other injuries that require shoulder replacement surgery, it could result in a higher settlement.
An injured worker's age plays a role in determining the value of the settlement. A younger employee who suffers serious injuries will likely receive greater compensation than an older employee as they have many more years towards their retirement age.
A Valid Personal Injury Lawsuit
There are several situations where injured workers can pursue a personal injury lawsuit against their employer, including:
Lack of workers' compensation insurance
Discrimination against the injured employee
When an injured employee has a valid personal injury lawsuit, they can recover a higher settlement than if they were to pursue workers' compensation.
A workers' compensation claim only provides disability benefits and compensation for medical expenses incurred. On the other hand, an injured employee can pursue economic damages and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, reduced quality of life, mental anguish, and more when bringing a lawsuit.
What Are the Types of Rotator Cuff Injury Settlements?
There are two different types of settlements in a workers' compensation claim, and they are as follows:
Stipulation and Award
Although this is not the most common outcome of a workers' compensation claim, stipulations and awards can happen. It occurs when the injured employee agrees to enter into a working relationship with the employer's insurance company, where the insurer pays for their disability benefits and medical expenses for a certain period of time.
During this arrangement, the injured worker can request to adjust the medical benefits if their injury worsens over time.
Compromise and Release
The majority of workers' compensation claims end in a compromise and release. In these types of settlements, the employer's insurance company agrees to pay a lump sum settlement amount to resolve the claim.
During this type of agreement, there is very little that the injured worker can do if they incur an unexpected medical expense later down the road.
What Should Injured Workers Do After Their Rotator Cuff Injury?
When an injured worker suffers a rotator cuff injury or any other injury, they must immediately inform their employer of the accident and seek medical help.
Once they report the incident to their employer, they will receive a list of pre-approved medical providers to choose from to pursue their medical treatment. It is important to note that the employer's insurance provider is responsible for covering the damages arising from a work-related accident.
If the injured worker chooses to seek treatment from another medical provider not on the employer's pre-approved list, they may have to pay the expenses from their pocket or reach out to their health insurer if they have purchased private insurance.
In most cases where the shoulder pain and symptoms do not go away after a couple of days, the medical provider will refer the injured worker to an orthopedic surgeon. After conducting an x-ray, reviewing the victim's medical history, and assessing their symptoms, the surgeon may have to start a conservative treatment which involves resting the shoulder in a sling, prescribing pain medications, and recommending therapy exercises.
However, if the symptoms do not improve, the surgeon will conduct further tests, including an MRI, to assess the severity of the rotator cuff injury before determining the need for surgery. There are three types of rotator cuff repair surgery, which includes:
How Long Do Injured Workers Have to Pursue Workers Comp Settlement?
After suffering torn rotator cuff injuries, seeking medical and legal help is crucial. Under Tennessee's statute of limitations, injured workers have only one year from the date of their injury to pursue workers' compensation claims. Failure to submit a claim within the time limit can prevent them from receiving a workers' comp settlement.
Does an Injured Worker Need to Work with an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer?
Although state law allows injured workers to receive workers' compensation for injuries sustained at work, getting enough money from the employer's insurance company can be challenging.
Insurers are profit-driven, and processing payouts can impact their profits. They are not in the business of pleasing injured victims, which is why they often reduce or deny workers' compensation claims.
It is crucial for injured workers to seek out help from experienced personal injury attorneys. A skilled workers comp lawyer in Nashville will review the accident details, help the victim properly fill out the workers' compensation form, and submit the necessary documentation to increase their chances of obtaining maximum rotator cuff injury settlement.
In cases involving employer negligence, the injured worker may have a valid personal injury lawsuit. Pursuing matters in court is much different than filing a workers' compensation claim, which is why it is best to seek legal help from experienced personal injury attorneys.
Get Help by Scheduling a Free Consultation with Trial Attorneys
A shoulder injury, such as a rotator cuff tear, can have severe consequences for the injured worker. Many workers are quick to shrug off work-related injuries, thinking they will get better with time. However, in most cases, these injuries get worse the longer the injured worker delays medical treatment. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also answer questions like, "How does workmans comp work when u have 2 jobs?"
Those suffering from a rotator cuff injury should immediately contact (833) 692-5038 for a free consultation with experienced trial attorneys at Schuerger Shunnarah. They have extensive and successful trial experience and can help protect the rights of injured victims by aggressively fighting for a fair workers' comp shoulder injury settlement.