There is no average workers’ compensation settlement for a shoulder injury. The settlement you receive will depend on criteria that are very specific to your situation, such as:
- The extent of your injury, including whether it will ever fully heal
- How much time off you had to take while your injury healed
- The cost of treating your injury, both in the past and in the future
How Serious Is the Shoulder Injury?
As a general rule, the more severe your injury, the more money you can collect in a workers’ compensation settlement. For example, a case involving bursitis from which you fully recover is probably worth less than a case involving permanent muscle damage.
Only a doctor can decide how serious your injury is for workers’ compensation purposes. They may consider factors such as:
- How long your symptoms linger—for instance, are you (or will you be) still in pain months after the fact?
- To what extent the injury affects your ability to use your shoulder
- Any scar tissue left by the injury or treatments you received for it
- Any permanent disability, such as loss of flexibility, caused by the injury
When you see a doctor after suffering a shoulder injury, be honest with them about how it happened and how the injury feels. Do not try to exaggerate or hide any part of your injury, as this could jeopardize your claim for compensation.If you or your insurer disagrees with the doctor’s verdict, you may be directed to see another doctor for a second opinion. Talk to your lawyer if you have any questions about this process.
How Do Shoulder Injuries Affect Employment?
If your job requires you to move your arm or shoulder a lot, a shoulder injury can have a devastating effect on your ability to earn a living. You might have to:
- Stay home from work for an extended period of time
- Accept light duty or scale back your working hours, either temporarily or permanently
- Find a new job that can accommodate your permanent disability
- Retire early and/or apply for government disability benefits
There is no average workers’ compensation settlement for a shoulder injury in part because every injured worker makes a different salary and loses a different amount because of their injury.Your employer’s insurer will decide how much you qualify to receive in workers’ comp benefits. However, their assessment may reflect how much they want to pay more than your needs. You can always hire a lawyer to calculate your case’s worth, just to be sure that whatever the insurance company offers you accurately reflects your losses.
How Much Do Shoulder Injuries Cost?
Depending on the type and extent of your shoulder injury, you may require treatments like:
- Physical therapy
- A sling or other protective device
- Hospital stays
- Chiropractic care
The cost of such treatments can vary greatly. For instance, someone who needs one round of physical therapy and a week’s worth of pain medication will spend far less than someone who requires multiple surgeries and weeks in physical therapy.
Any settlement you receive should account for not only the treatments you have received thus far but the treatments you will probably require in the future as well.
What Will Your Shoulder Injury Settlement Include?
As the California Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) states, your first step to receiving a workers’ comp settlement is to report the injury to your employer “as soon as possible.” If you do not report the injury within 30 days, you could lose the right to compensation.A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you determine how much money you deserve based on the factors outlined above. They can then:
- Assess any settlement offers the insurance company makes and let you know if they are appropriate
- Meet with the insurer’s representatives to negotiate a fair settlement
- Collect evidence to prove you qualify for the benefits you asked for
- File an objection with the DWC if your claim is unfairly denied
- Attend any mediation or hearings required to straighten out disagreements regarding your claim
As your lawyer negotiates a settlement, you will also have to think about whether to accept a lump sum settlement or receive payments over time. Your attorney can review the pros and cons of each option so you can make the right decision for yourself.
What Complications May Arise When Filing for Workers’ Comp?
While some people have no trouble getting the benefits they need, all too many applicants do run into problems on the way to receiving a settlement. For example:
- Your employer might deny that the injury took place during working hours, which would make you ineligible for workers’ compensation.
- The insurer may undervalue your injuries or try to send you back to work before you are ready, thus reducing the settlement you can receive.
- Your employer may fire you or otherwise punish you for exercising your right to file for benefits, which is illegal.
It is impossible to tell ahead of time how your case may unfold. For this reason, you can protect yourself by hiring a workers’ compensation attorney as early in the process as you can. They can deal with complications by:
- Communicating directly with the other side to see if the disagreements stem from a simple misunderstanding or something else
- Taking legal action against your employer if they infringed on your right to ask for workers’ compensation benefits
- Presenting the other side with evidence to show that your claim is well-supported and that their position is not consistent with the known facts
- Keeping you informed of how your case is going and making sure you have all the information you need to navigate the claims system
Get the Shoulder Injury Compensation You Deserve
Call KJT Law Group today so we can start assessing and pursuing your workers’ compensation claim. You can reach Contact or call us at (818) 507-8525. Our team can explain in greater detail why there is no average workers’ compensation settlement for a shoulder injury—and, more importantly, fight for the amount your injury entitles you to receive.