Shoulder injuries can be very painful and limiting, and some may even require surgery. They may greatly affect an employee's ability to do their job, and they can keep an employee from working for extended periods of time. There are many ways you may have injured your shoulder at work. Shoulder injuries may be caused by one traumatic incident or cumulative strain over time. Often, shoulder injuries are caused by jobs that require lifting or reaching above your head.
On the Job, Shoulder Injuries Qualify for Workers' Compensation in Iowa
If you sustain a compensable Iowa Workers' Compensation injury to your shoulder, you are entitled to Iowa Work Comp. benefits. Those benefits include medical benefits (the employer and insurance carrier pays your medical expenses for the injury), healing period benefits and permanency benefits. Healing period benefits are benefits paid to you on a weekly basis for each week you are off of work as a result of the injury. Those benefits continue until you return to work, are released to similar employment, or placed at maximum medical improvement. Permanency benefits are paid at the end of the healing period benefits.
Your Compensation Depends on the Severity of the Injury, and Your Ability to Do Future Work
Because the injury is to your shoulder, it is considered an injury to your body as a whole. "Body as a whole" injuries are compensated based on how the injury affects your ability to earn income. This is called “industrial disability benefits.” The way an injury affects your ability to earn a living is determined based on your age, education, past work history, restrictions, impairment and a number of other factors. These benefits are significantly higher than the benefits for scheduled member injury to your arm, hand, leg or foot. Shoulder injuries can result in significant effects on a person's ability to work certain jobs and can have a drastic effect on one's ability to work and earn a living.
Ultimately, there is a determination of how the injury affects your ability to work in percentage terms. For example, if you lose 50 percent of your ability to work, you would be entitled to 50 percent of 500 weeks (amount set by law) or 250 weeks of Workers' Compensation benefits for the injury.
Always Report Injuries Immediately, then Contact an Iowa Workers' Comp Attorney
It is important that you tell your employer as soon as you sustain a work injury to your shoulder. You may need medical treatment, and you do not want your injury to worsen. It is best to report your injury in writing to your employer. You are required to report the injury within 90 days of the date of the injury. If you miss the deadline, your benefits may be denied. Once you report your injury to your supervisor, it is advisable that you contact an experienced Workers' Compensation lawyer in Iowa to help you evaluate your case and ensure that you are getting the benefits entitled to you under Iowa law.