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

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3 Ways to Avoid Messing Up Your Case After Rotator Cuff Tear

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. If you are a heavy duty worker, you might be dealing with a permanent injury that will keep you from going back to work. 

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

There are three essential things that you need to do when you're hurt at work in order to protect your legal case, your income, and your livelihood. 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.

Second, 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.

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. Make sure you choose the best doctor to be your long term provider to deal with this injury. You could be looking at months or even years of rehabilitation and/or rotator cuff repair surgery, so you want to make sure you choose the best physician from the outset. If you don't, it can be very difficult to get the physician approved later on.

Finally, file your workers' compensation claim in the right jurisdiction. If you were injured in Washington DC and you work in Washington DC, you should file your case in DC. Don't let the insurance adjuster tell you to file in the wrong state. They often tell injured workers they need to file in a state where they live, which is total BS. They know that Virginia and Maryland both pay less for workers comp injuries, and they want to cheapen your claim.

If You Have a Torn Rotator Cuff, There's A Chance You Won't Be Able to Go Back To Work Full Duty. 

Many people who tear their rotator cuff end up having a permanent impairment. If you have a permanent injury you cannot handle the claim on your own. You may need to learn a new skill set and change positions; which will cost money and time. You'll need to be covered by a settlement while you are busy making changes in your life; whether that be learning a new trade and skill set, or going back to school.

With A Torn Rotator Cuff  You Will Need Ongoing Legal Help to Protect Yourself and Your Family. You Need An Experienced Accident Lawyer For That.

These are the things you should consider, 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 - call us at 202-393-3320. And if you need help now, contact our experienced staff at 202-393-3320 and we will help you take the next right steps today.