I Hurt My Shoulder at Work and My Doctor Thinks It's a Torn Rotator Cuff. What Do I Do?

A torn rotator cuff (tears of the the tendons in one or more of the major muscles of the shoulder) is a painful, often disabling injury.  Many times it requires surgery, especially if an MRI confirms a tear and physical therapy or injections haven't helped.

How do you protect yourself if this serious injury happens at work?

First, tell your employer it happened on the job. We call this giving notice, and it should be done as soon as possible after the injury.

Next, get to a specialist. This is not an injury that can be managed or treated by a family physician and maybe not even by a general orthopedic surgeon.

Third, be wary of doctors referred by the insurance company. The insurance company will be watching their bottom line, not advocating for your care. If the insurance company referred you a doctor ask yourself: is he going to order expensive tests, like an MRI, that the insurance company will have to pay for?  Is he going to believe you when you say how much it hurts? Is he thorough and does he seem objective? You should not let the insurance companies' doctor manage your treatment.

Finally, file your workers' compensation claim in the right jurisdiction.

These are the things you should do, but remember, there is a lot more to it.  Making a mistake can cost you a lot of money in lost wages and a lot of time and treatment when it comes to your injury. In most cases, you should not go it alone. You may need an advocate to fight for your rights.

Before you make any serious and difficult decisions, read the free book offered by our offices and written just for workers hurt on the job in the D.C. area: Protect Your Rights:  The Ultimate Guide to D.C. Workers Compensation.

It's free to injured workers and their families in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.  So order your free copy today.