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Does Workers Compensation Cover My Shoulder Injury?

Shoulder injuries are one of the most common types of injuries that occur in the workplace.  However, these injuries can be some of the most frustrating and difficult.

I never realized how I used my shoulder until I injured it.  I had a somewhat minor injury to my shoulder a number of years ago.  It seemed to affect everything I tried to do from brushing my hair to opening a door.

Whether you suffer a minor or more serious shoulder injury, it can make it difficult to do your job.  If an activity or task you were doing at work causes your shoulder injury, should you receive workers compensation for it?

Shoulder painDoes workers compensation cover my shoulder injury?

Georgia’s workers compensation law generally covers work-related injuries.  For the most part, that means injuries that you suffer at work should be covered by workers compensation.

The most obviously example of that is when you suffer a specific traumatic event at work.  Some common examples of this include:

  • You lift a heavy object and injure your shoulder
  • You reach overhead to grab something and your shoulder pops
  • You fall and land on your shoulder suffering an injury
  • Your shoulder gets jerked and you suffer an injury

These types of traumatic shoulder injuries while doing your job should be covered under workers compensation.

What if I had medical treatment for my shoulder before this injury occurred?

Having past medical treatment for a shoulder injury does not prevent you from receiving workers compensation benefits if you suffer a later on the job injury.  There are two different ways that this can come up:

  1. You suffer from a preexisting condition in your shoulder.  Then, you suffer a later work-related injury that aggravates that preexisting condition.
  2. You suffer one type of injury to your shoulder in the past and get medical treatment for it.  You later suffer a work-related injury to a different part of your shoulder that is unrelated to the first injury

In example #2, the injury that you suffer is a completely separate injury from you original injury.  While it is to the same general part of your body, it is a different part of that general part of your body and probably has nothing to do with the original injury.  These types of injuries should be covered under workers compensation.

Example #1 focuses on a situation where you reinjure the same part of your shoulder that you had injured before.  Even though the injury is to the exact same part of your shoulder, it still may be covered under Georgia’s workers compensation law.  This is because Georgia’s law covers aggravations of preexisting conditions.

There are special rules about aggravations of preexisting conditions that are a little different from regular injuries.  This article I wrote discusses the details of those special rules.

Am I covered if my shoulder problems developed gradually over time instead of from one specific event?

Yes.  Georgia’s workers compensation law covers injuries regardless of whether they develop from a specific traumatic event or gradually from repetitive trauma.

The list of types of injuries that I gave earlier focused on single traumatic events.  However, many people suffer injuries that develop as a result of several smaller accidents at work or as a result of doing the same repetitive or heavy tasks over and over again.

Some of the common types of work that I have seen lead to shoulder injuries include:

  • Lifting and carrying heavy objects
  • Overhead lifting or reaching
  • Repetitive use of your arms

It is not uncommon for insurance companies to try to deny these types of claims on the grounds that there was not a work-related accident.  But, the law in Georgia considers accidents to be more than just a one time, traumatic event.

Orthopedic doctor shoulder patientDoes Georgia workers compensation pay me while my shoulder injury keeps me out of work?

Yes.  Payment for your wage loss is one of the primary benefits that Georgia workers compensation provides.

If your work-related injury keeps you from working, you should start receiving wage loss benefits from the workers compensation insurance company.  These benefits you receive are known as temporary total disability benefits.  They are paid on a weekly basis.

If your injury allows you to perform light duty work, you may still be making less money.  If you are working but losing money as a result of your injury, you should receive temporary partial disability benefits.

Will workers compensation pay my medical bills for my shoulder treatment?

Medical treatment and testing for your injury is one of the other primary benefits that Georgia workers compensation provides.  The medical treatment and testing you need for your injury is covered one hundred percent with certain authorized doctors.  This means that you do not have to pay a copay or a deductible.

It is important that you understand how medical treatment works under Georgia’s workers compensation.  If you do not understand, you could fall into one of the following pitfalls:

  • Not being able to see the best doctor to treat your injury
  • Being responsible for payment of some of your medical bills because you treat with an unauthorized medical provider
  • Having your medical treatment delayed or denied because you do not understand how to get medical treatment approved

What if I have other questions about workers compensation?

Georgia’s workers compensation system can be very confusing.  You have to worry about getting the treatment you need and paying your bills while also worrying about not missing any deadlines that could cause you to lose your right to receive workers compensation benefits.

If you have questions, I would recommend that you try to get answers.  To find out more about how to schedule a time to talk to me about your workers compensation questions, just read this short article.

Jason Perkins is an attorney who specializes in representing injured workers.  He regularly publishes videos and write blog articles about Georgia’s workers compensation system and issues that are important to injured workers and their families.

To be notified of Jason’s new workers compensation videos, subscribe to his Georgia Workers Compensation Video Series channel on YouTube by clicking the subscribe button below.

Brittney-lee orourkeBrittney-lee orourke
05:23 18 Feb 22
Amazing! Jason and his team were very helpful and had the best communication by far. Walked me though every step with great detail and had answers for any question I had. They handled my case better then I could imagine, it was a weird case and they stayed on top of it and kept me updated every step of the way! Highly recommend this Team! Thanks so much to Jason and his Awesome team!-Brittney
China JonesChina Jones
18:58 08 Feb 22
I absolutely love this group of attorneys, when I was at my lowest they did everything they could to help me get justice for my injury. I believe if I were to have never picked my phone up and called the amazing group that helped me I definitely would not have received my idea of rights. If you have an issue and are just not sure please understand that they will help you, stay in contact, answer any question you have, and for sure get you the justice you deserve I thank them from the bottom of my heart and I will definitely refer them to anyone who has been hurt because they most definitely care about their work and clients.
Luv LocsLuv Locs
16:08 15 Jan 22
The entire law office was attentive and responsive to all of my concerns dealing with my workers compensation case.
moombimoombi
21:14 02 Jan 22
If you must get a lawyer involved, you’d do well to work with Jason Perkins and his team at Perkins Studdard Law.They were thorough in gathering information and in sharing all the steps in the workers comp process specific to my case. Jason and the team were responsive to my bevy of questions and concerns.I appreciated the informative videos and consultations provided by Jason over video meetings and multiple phone calls.I hope I’m never injured on the job again. However, if I am and if my employer responds as my previous employer did, I’ll contact Perkins Studdard Law immediately to handle the case.
Dana BessDana Bess
23:57 10 Dec 21
Everyone at Perkins Studdard was kind and professional. They were always extremely responsive and answered all questions that I had and followed up to make sure I had an understanding of what was going on along with emailing videos to explain every step of my case so I would know what to expect and be prepared. Jason is a very genuine person and I trusted him with my case. He answered so many questions for me even before I retained him as my WC lawyer. I highly recommend him and his associates at Perkins Studdard.
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