The value of a workers’ compensation shoulder injury settlement depends on factors specific to the case. This article will discuss what an injured worker should look at to gauge the value of his or her shoulder injury case.
How Permanent Damage Affects Settlement Value in a Shoulder Case
When thinking about settling a workers’ compensation shoulder injury case, the insurance carrier will look at whether the shoulder was permanently damaged. In NY Workers’ Compensation Law, permanent damage to the shoulder is measured in a specific way. The Workers’ Compensation Board has issued Guidelines to help figure out how bad the damage is and what the case is worth.
Doctors and attorneys use these Workers’ Compensation Guidelines to come up with a percentage of permanent damage to the shoulder. In workers comp, this percentage is known as Schedule Loss of Use. Schedule Loss of Use represents the permanent injury to the shoulder from the work accident. For example, no permanent injury to the shoulder equals a 0% Loss of Use to the arm. A complete amputation of the arm at the shoulder would equal a 100% Loss of Use to the arm. The higher the percentage, the worse the injury. This Loss of Use percentage can greatly impact the value of a workers compensation shoulder injury settlement.
Doctors come up with a Loss of Use percentage by examining the worker’s shoulder. They also measure range of motion and review MRI’s, x-rays, and operative reports. Why does the Loss of Use percentage matter? The higher the percentage of Loss of Use, the more the case may be worth.
How Can an Attorney Create Value for a Shoulder Injury Settlement?
The injured worker and insurance carrier will usually disagree over the percentage of damage, or Loss of Use, to the shoulder. In that situation, hiring an attorney can make all the difference. An attorney who understands the workers comp Guidelines and process can successfully argue for a higher percentage.
Insurance carrier’s know what firms will take an easy settlement versus take a case to trial. Here at the Platta Law Firm, PLLC, we will take the case as far as necessary to ensure a worker gets the money they deserve for a workers compensation shoulder injury.
How to Calculate a Workers Compensation Award for a Shoulder Injury
A Schedule Loss of Use percentage equals a certain number of weeks of compensation. For example, if a worker suffers from a 10% Schedule Loss of Use to the arm from a shoulder injury, he or she will receive 31.2 weeks of compensation. The worker must then multiply that number of weeks by the rate of pay set in the workers compensation case. That figure will equal a money award. The amount of lost wages already paid to the injured worker on the case is then taken out. The balance goes to the worker.
A Loss of Use Award for a shoulder injury does not include the cost of future medical care. It also does not include any value for pain and suffering. Instead, the award only pays the worker for future lost time and lost ability to earn from the shoulder injury.
Once the parties estimate the value of a claim by considering the factors above, they may settle on a percentage for Schedule Loss of Use. If so, medical treatment will remain open on the case. Or, the parties may instead agree to close the entire claim with a Section 32 Settlement Agreement. A Section 32 Settlement is a closure of all or part of the workers comp claim in exchange for money. If you are considering a workers compensation shoulder injury settlement, contact The Platta Law Firm, PLLC. We would be glad to discuss your workers compensation shoulder injury case and settlement options.