If you hurt your shoulder at work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation. But how much workers comp settlement should you get for your shoulder injury?
Based on data from Florida’s Division of Workers Compensation, the average workers’ comp settlement amount for upper extremity injuries ranged from $16,000 to $21,000. “Upper extremities” refer to the part of your body starting from the shoulder joints down to the tips of your fingers. This data was taken from all workers’ comp claims filed in the state from 2011 to 2020.
In most cases, however, the numbers can vary widely. There are a lot of factors that can affect how much workers’ comp settlement you’ll get. But one thing is for certain: hiring a lawyer can help you get a more favorable settlement amount.
It’s not a secret that many employers and insurance companies would often shortchange injured employers with their workers’ comp benefits. If they can’t deny it, they’ll do everything to reduce it as much as possible. But an experienced workers comp lawyer like Victor Malca can help you negotiate the terms of your settlement in your favor. He has already helped thousands of injured workers in Florida and he can help you too. Give us a call now if you want to get the benefits you rightfully deserve.
Common Work-Related Shoulder Injuries
Shoulder injuries are some of the most common work-related injuries in the US. This is especially true for people who are constantly lifting heavy objects and doing repetitive tasks. Some of the most common shoulder injuries are:
- Rotator cuff tear. This is the most common type of shoulder injury and is usually caused by repetitive motions that cause wear and tear to the muscles and tendons. But you can also tear your rotator cuff in slip and fall accidents. Most rotator cuff injuries can be treated either with an ice pack or over-the-counter pain meds. But severe cases that cause chronic pain may require surgery.
- Frozen shoulder. You’ll most likely develop a frozen shoulder if you’ve been immobile or have limited mobility for a long period of time. This is usually the case for people recovering from a shoulder injury, broken arm, or a stroke. Like rotator cuff injuries, a severe case of frozen shoulder may need surgery.
- Impingement. Repetitive motions and age-related wear and tear often cause shoulder impingement. This may also require surgery if all the other pain management treatments won’t work.
- Shoulder dislocation. If you’ve pulled your shoulder too hard or rotated it too far, it could get dislocated. A few days of rest coupled with muscle relaxants are usually recommended for dislocated shoulders. But if nerves and blood vessels are damaged, you may need to undergo surgery.
Fracture. Work-related accidents can sometimes shatter your clavicle or humerus leading to fracture. Depending on the extent of the damage, treatments can range from applying an ice pack to a full-on shoulder replacement surgery.
What Will Your Settlement Include?
If your workers’ compensation claim is approved, your settlement will include lost wages reimbursement and medical benefits.
Lost Wages Benefits
While recovering from your shoulder injury, you’ll most likely have to take time off work. Lost wages benefit is a reimbursement for the wages you could have earned had you worked during those times.
In Florida, lost wages reimbursement is equal to 66 2/3 of your average weekly wage. Though severe injuries may entitle you up to 80% of your average weekly wage. But it must not be more than the state’s maximum limit which changes every year. For 2021, the maximum compensation rate is $1,011.
Under the law, you are entitled to receive wage loss benefits until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). But for permanent disabilities, your lost wages benefit will depend on your impairment rating.
If you got injured at work, it’s only right that your employer or insurance company will pay for your medical treatments. This includes medical expenses that are “reasonable and necessary” to cure your condition such as:
- emergency treatment
- medications and medical supplies
- hospitalization costs
- surgery costs (if necessary)
- doctor’s visits
- therapy (as may be necessary)
However, medical care under workers comp is heavily regulated. You can’t just get treatment from any doctor you want. They must be accredited by your insurance company. Otherwise, your workers’ comp claim can get denied.
In the event of death, your dependents are also entitled to death benefits as detailed under Florida’s workers’ compensation law.
Factors Affecting Your Settlement Amount
As mentioned, the settlement amount for shoulder injuries can vary widely due to various factors. This includes:
The Severity of Your Injury
Work-related injuries are divided into four categories depending on their severity:
- permanent partial disability
- permanent total disability
- temporary partial disability
- temporary total disability
Since temporarily disabled workers are expected to recover, their settlements tend to be lesser than those with permanent disabilities.
Besides, lost wages benefits depend on how long you’re out of work. If your injury is so severe, you’ll most likely need a longer recovery time. This means that, in most cases, the more severe your injury is, the bigger wage loss benefits you’ll get.
Your Earnings Before the Accident
As I’ve said, lost wages reimbursement is computed based on your average weekly wage. So if you were earning a decent amount before your injury, your workers’ comp settlement will most likely be substantial.
The Medical Treatments You Need
Since medical benefits will form part of your workers’ comp settlement, the medical treatments you need will affect your settlement amount. If your shoulder injury requires costly surgeries, then you are entitled to higher medical benefits than those who only need over-the-counter medications.
Lump Sum vs. Monthly Payments
When a settlement agreement is reached, you’ll usually be asked if you want to receive it in a lump sum or in monthly structured payments.
Lump sum payment means you’ll receive all of your benefits in one go. It’s good if you’re in dire need of money at the moment. But the downside to a lump sum check is that you won’t be able to get additional payments once the money runs out. If your recovery takes longer than you initially expect, you might be left with no money and no work. In some states, you also won’t be allowed to claim additional medical benefits if your condition worsens.
Structured payments, on the other hand, mean that you’ll receive benefits for the entire duration of your disability. The good thing about this is you’ll have a monthly check to cover your expenses while you’re recovering. Plus, you can claim additional medical benefits should your disability worsen.
If you’re not sure which option to choose, your workers’ comp attorney can help.
VICTOR MALCA – Florida Workers Compensation & Social Security Disability Attorney
Victor Malca P.A. has over 27 years of litigation experience in Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability lawsuits. His experience and continued success when fighting for his clients puts him among the most trusted workers’ compensation attorney’s in Florida. He specializes in representing injured workers on compensation benefit cases and disabled individuals claiming lost social security disability benefits.
Book a free consultation today. Our unwavering advocacy for employee rights and privileges are recognized by our past clients across South Florida.
About The Author
Judy Ponio is a writer and editor for the Victor Malca Law P.A. website and blog. She enjoys helping people in need with questions about social security disability and workers compensation law. She has a passion for helping those in need and the elderly with accurate legal information that can make a positive difference in their lives.