Shoulder injuries can be incredibly painful. Due to continuous use, the shoulder joint is also especially prone to work-related injuries. Common work-related incidents resulting in shoulder injuries include traumatic events and cumulative strain. As a result, these injuries often limit an employee’s movement and ability to work for long periods of time.
The end result is serious pain and time away from work. And for particularly serious injuries, employees are very likely to lose valuable time at work, should their injury require surgery or rehabilitation. According to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Labor, the median number of days away from work in 2015 due to occupational injuries was eight. While eight days away from work would qualify as a major financial hardship for most American workers, physical rehab for shoulder injuries can often last for weeks.
If you’ve sustained a shoulder injury while working on the job, then you owe it to yourself to explore your workers’ compensation rights. It may be in your best interest to review the following questions regarding your possible workers’ compensation benefits:
When do I report my shoulder injury?
If a work-related incident has caused your shoulder injury, it’s necessary that you report your injury and its connection to your work to your employer as soon as possible. According to Iowa workers’ compensation law, you have 90 days to report the injury to your employer beginning on the date the injury is identified. Because slow-developing injuries are often hard to diagnose, get ready to take action as soon as you can.
Should you fail to give your employer notice of your shoulder injury within 90 days, your claim for workers’ compensation benefits may be defeated. In addition to notifying your supervisor, you should also inform your union steward if you are a union member. Your union steward may be able to help you through the workers’ comp process.
Do my workers’ comp benefits differ under the new Iowa workers’ comp law?
Prior to the 2017 Iowa workers’ compensation law changes, shoulder injuries would be considered with those sustained to the “body as a whole”. This would allow for workers with permanent consequences to be considered for benefits according to a multi-factor analysis, including their age, education, and experience. However, as of July 2017, shoulder injuries are now considered extremity injuries and only functional impairment is considered.
This means that benefits for shoulder injuries suffered after July 1, 2017, permanent consequences are determined only by the worker’s physical impairment rating. Also, prior to the new law, compensation for shoulder injuries was based on a percentage of impairment of 500 weeks. However, now the severity of the shoulder injury is based on a maximum percentage of 400 weeks. Additionally, “body as a whole” disability for shoulder injuries is no longer allowed.
Although the new law reduces some benefits, employers may now be required to pay up to $15,000 toward vocational training. This allows for the employee to be able to seek out new career opportunities that will allow them to work should they suffer from permanent disability.
If you or a loved one are suffering from a shoulder injury caused by a work-related incident, then you might be confused about the right steps to take. Because of the new Iowa workers’ compensation law, many workers are confused about the benefits they are (or are not) entitled to receive. If you need help filing a claim for a work injury, or if your workers’ comp claim has been unfairly denied, then an experienced Iowa workers’ comp attorney, like those at Rush & Nicholson, may be able to help.
For more information, contact the law offices of Rush and Nicholson for a consultation today. You may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.