Pursuing A South Carolina Workers' Compensation Claim Due To A Shoulder Injury

           One of the most common types of work injuries in South Carolina is a shoulder injury. The reason is that the shoulder joint is one of the most commonly used joints in the entire body and consists of numerous and complex muscles, ligaments, cartilage and tendons. Shoulder joints are always suspect to acute injuries from lifting and carrying objects and can pain and also develop over time from repetitive and intense routines.

Common Types of Shoulder Injuries At Work

            Rotator Cuff Tears: The rotator cuff consists of a group of muscles and tendons that surrounds the AC joint and is responsible for the overall movement of the shoulder. Rotator cuff tears usually occur with a specific acute injury during an overhead movement. Age is also a risk factor.  A rotator cuff tear is usually described as a dull ache deep in the shoulder accompanied by weakness in the arm, specifically when reaching overhead or behind your back.

            Shoulder Impingement/Rotator Cuff Tendinitis: Unlike an actual tear to the rotator cuff, shoulder impingement is usually caused by repetitive lifting and overhead movements over an extended period of time. It is usually described as tenderness in the front of the shoulder or midpoint of the arm. Symptoms usually start off as mild aching pain and increase over time.

            Dislocated Shoulder/Shoulder Instability: A shoulder dislocation occurs when your upper arm bone pops out of the cup-shaped socket that’s part of your shoulder blade. It can be an obvious visibly-out-of-place shoulder but can also be mild and not visible to the common person. Significant shoulder injuries are often accompanies by labral tears or Bankart lesions.

            SLAP Tear: A SLAP tear is an acronym for Superior Labrum Anterior and Posterior. In a SLAP tear, the top (superior) part of the labrum is injured. During a SLAP tear, it is common for the bicep tendon to suffer damage as well. They are most common in athletes who throw overhead, such as baseball and tennis players.

            Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis): Frozen shoulder is characterized by pain, stiffness and limited range of motion over an extended period of time. From a medical standpoint, frozen shoulder syndrome is broken down into three separate phases that usually occurs slowly over a period of one to two years. 

            Shoulder Arthritis: This is simply a condition where the articular cartilage of bone wears down over an extended period of time causing bones to rub together during movement. A painful grinding a clicking is usually heard with movement. The most common cause is use and age.

South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Benefits For Shoulder Injuries

            In general, if you suffer a shoulder injury during the course of your job, you are entitled to medical treatment, compensation for any time you miss from work as a result of your injury and payment for any potential permanent disability that results from your injury. The first two benefits, medical treatment and wage benefits are fairly straightforward, but payment for permanent disability is a little more complex.

            Workers’ compensation laws in South Carolina sets for a specific number of weeks of compensation for each body part. The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act provides that the shoulder is worth 300 weeks of your compensation rate, or two-thirds your average weekly wage. For example, if you suffer an injury that results in a 15% impairment to your shoulder, you would be entitled to 45 weeks of your compensation rate. However, it is very important to understand that the impairment rating is only one of several factors that to consider when determining your overall entitlement to benefits. Other factors to consider would be your physical ability to work, work history, education and transferable skills.

Talk to a South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorney About Your Shoulder Injury

            The Law Office of Jared C. Williams, LLC has experience helping injured workers get maximum compensation for their work injuries. If you have suffered a shoulder injury during the course of your job and need to speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer in Charleston, SC, please feel free to contact our law firm at (843) 991-6528 to see if we can help. We look forward to being of assistance.