Workers’ Comp | Shoulder Injury Settlement
Those who have suffered an injury on the job usually don’t have a solid idea of how their cases will proceed or how much compensation they will be able to receive. Most of the time, they get their information secondhand from others who have either been through the process themselves or know someone who has. Here, we answer some basic questions about how workers’ comp shoulder injury settlements are evaluated. For more information, call the Law Office of Stephen Dewberry today.
How Much Are Workers’ Comp Shoulder Injury Settlement Cases Worth?
A number of factors go into determining the value of a workers’ comp shoulder injury settlement case. The largest factor, of course, is the severity of the injury. The main factors that will determine the value of your claim include the following:
- Amount of medical treatment required to treat the problem.
- Complications or complaints after surgery.
- The claimant’s salary or wages at the time of the injury.
- Future medical coverage expected for resolving lingering issues.
- Other factors that rate the severity of the injury.
As such, there’s no way to put a number on any individual claim. There are simply too many factors that need to be accounted for.
We have handled workers’ comp shoulder injury settlement cases for our clients. Call our Pasadena shoulder injury compensation lawyer for a free consultation.
What If You Suffer Permanent Loss?
If a doctor determines that there will be a permanent loss of your range of motion or chronic pain due to your injury, you may be able to receive a permanency award. The compensation commission awards permanency settlements in cases where injuries sustained cannot be surgically repaired or have hit an impasse in terms of treatment.
In most instances, if a worker fully recovers from their injury, they stand to gain very little (if not nothing) from a workers’ compensation claim in California. Workers’ comp claims are not the same as personal injury claims where the question of negligence determines culpability. Workers’ comp claims are considered no-fault in the U.S. It’s a completely different system for determining awards and settlements.
The California Workers’ Compensation Commission issues permanency awards after a hearing. In fact, it’s the only way a worker can force the insurance company to pay out on the claim. There is risk involved, however. Workers can lose the claim. This is why having a skilled workers’ compensation attorney advocating on your behalf is so important.
How Ratings Affect the Value of a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Both your workers’ comp lawyer and the insurance company will each choose their own doctor to assess your injuries. The two will represent a range which will give you some indication of both your lowest and highest possible reward. In the case of a shoulder injury, a percentage of permanent damage is assigned to your shoulder.
For instance, let’s say the insurance company assigns your shoulder 5% impairment, while your attorney’s doctor assigns your shoulder a 20% impairment. In some states, the number might fall somewhere between $2,000 and $33,000. However, there’s no way to know what number the California Workers’ Compensation Commission will go by, or whether or not it will be somewhere in the middle.
How Average Weekly Wages Affect the Value of Your Claim
An employee’s wages have a major impact on the amount of compensation they can expect to earn from their workers’ comp shoulder injury settlement. Let’s say two employees sustain the exact same shoulder injury and undergo identical treatment. They are both awarded an impairment score of 20%. 20% would equal 100 weeks of compensation.
Depending on how high your salary is, it would be subject to a tiered system that would assign you some number relative to other salaries. This number will be lower than your actual salary over those weeks. That number is then multiplied by the number of weeks, and then you have the value of what your settlement is worth.
Expectations of Future Medical Care
Lastly, reasonable expectations for future medical care can also impact your workers’ comp shoulder injury settlement. For instance, you may have to undergo a series of surgeries in order to repair the damage or you may need pain management treatment or physical therapy. A situation like that will increase your award as well as indicate the severity of your injury.
As with all claims that involve injuries, the more treatment you need and the more treatment you receive will have a major impact on the overall value of your claim.
One last thing to consider, insurance companies that deal in workers comp cases are not enthusiastic about paying out claims. It’s important to understand that the insurance company will be watching you, and do whatever is in their power to devalue your claim.
Permanent Partial Disability With a Shoulder Injury
In addition to other types of workers’ compensation, you may be able to get permanent partial disability, or PPD. PPD will pay you for the extent that you are permanently and partially disabled. This amount will be rated based on your ability to continue work.
An authorized treating physician will typically examine you and determine your PPD rating on you’ve reached maximum medical improvement. The doctor will consider the following:
- If you had shoulder surgery
- What type of shoulder surgery you had
- Your range of motion before surgery and now
- Your strength in your shoulder before surgery and now
Certain factors could result in an automatic addition to your rating. For example, a total shoulder replacement results in a 24 percent rating if you received an implant and a 30 percent rating if done as a resection. Many PPD ratings result in a combination of percentages that are added together to get a total PPD rating.
When Will I Receive PPD Benefits?
PPD benefits are not typically paid at the same time as temporary total disability (TTD) or temporary permanent disability (TPD) benefits. Thus, if you are still out of work and receiving TTD or TPD, then you will not likely begin to receive PPD benefits. If your injury makes you unable to work and you are not receiving other wage loss benefits, then your PPD may begin right away.
The length of time that you will receive PPD benefits depends on your rating. A higher rating means you will get PPD benefits for a longer amount of time. If you are still receiving TTD or TPD, you do not forfeit any of that time that you should receive PPD. Instead, it guarantees that you will receive benefits in the future.
Can I Appeal a PPD Rating?
Yes, you can appeal a PPD rating that you feel is too low. The doctor may not have considered all of your limitations, or it may have been calculated improperly. Whatever the reason, a lawyer can help you get a proper workers’ comp shoulder injury settlement.
Can I Get a Workers’ Comp Shoulder Injury Settlement for a PPD Rating?
Yes, you can get a settlement instead of regular payments from a PPD rating. A PPD rating results in a specific amount of money to be paid for a specific amount of time. Thus, it is fairly easy to calculate a proper settlement from a PPD rating.
Workers’ Comp Shoulder Injury Settlement in California
The process of filing for workers’ comp can be confusing and frustrating. You need a workers’ compensation attorney who understands your situation and will advocate tirelessly on your behalf. At the Law Office of Stephen Dewberry, we have handled many workers’ comp shoulder injury settlement cases for our clients. Give us a call today.