Not only can a shoulder labral tear be extremely painful, but it can severely limit your range of motion. In some cases, it can prevent you from performing everyday activities. While some shoulder labral tears are unavoidable, others are the result of repetitive stress. If your job requires you to perform over-the-head lifting or you suffered a work-related accident that you believe contributed to a shoulder labral tear, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
What Is a Shoulder Labral Tear?
The shoulder is where the upper arm bone (the humerus) connects with the shoulder blade (the scapula). Thinking of the shoulder as a ball-and-socket joint, the labrum is the connective tissue surrounding the “ball” of the joint. The shoulder labrum facilitates smooth movement of the shoulder and, when damaged, can result in pain and shoulder dislocation.
What to Do After a Shoulder Labral Tear
If you have experienced a work-related shoulder labral tear, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, even if your injury didn’t occur at work, it may be caused by the repetitive stress put on your body while carrying out your work-related duties. Thus, even if you first noticed your symptoms while away from the job, you may still qualify for benefits.
How you handle the next few weeks can have a major impact on your claim’s likelihood of success. Below are a few important steps to take to preserve your rights and increase your chances of success of obtaining a settlement for shoulder injuries.
Report the Injury
Regardless of where you first notice that your shoulder labrum is torn, the first thing to do is to report your injury to your employer. Reporting your injury in a timely manner is crucial to the success of your workers’ compensation claim. If you wait to report your injury, you make it easier for your employer or their insurance company to argue that it was the result of something unrelated to your work. Reporting your injury is also important because it will give your employer the opportunity to get you any medical care you need to address the injury.
Keep in mind that your employee manual may set forth a specific way that you need to give your employer notice. For example, calling your boss to tell them about a torn shoulder labrum may not be the best choice. If possible, you want to notify your employer in writing.
Obtain Medical Treatment
In the case of a work-related shoulder labral tear, chances are you won’t want to wait long before getting medical attention. However, after any workplace injury, it is important that you seek timely medical care. Not only will this ensure you give doctors the best chance at helping you, but it will also show that your injury is serious.
Your employer will ask you to see a doctor of their choice, which is the employer’s right under the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Law. However, your employer must authorize any treament recommended by their chosen provider. If your employer is denying medical treament you will want to consult with a skilled workers’ compensation attorney to make sure that you are receiving all benefits available
Save All Communication
After you file a report with your employer, there may be a back-and-forth between you and your employer’s human resources department. When possible, it is best to communicate over email and save the emails for future reference. If an HR representative pops in for a spur-of-the-moment visit, do not refuse them, but be sure to send a follow-up email outlining what you talked about.
Consult with a Workers’ Comp Lawyer
Shoulder labral tears fall within the category of injuries covered by workers’ compensation laws. However, this does not guarantee a settlement for shoulder injuries. Most often, your employer will have workers’ compensation insurance, meaning you will not be dealing directly with your employer throughout most of the process. Instead, you will be dealing with an insurance company representative who handles these cases for a living. Like all insurance companies, a workers’ compensation insurance carrier may attempt to deny a valid claim to save the company money.
Having an experienced attorney by your side throughout the process can ensure that the insurance company does not take advantage of you. A lawyer will also know how to effectively prepare your claim, what documentation is necessary, and the type and amount of benefits for which your injury may qualify.
Call the Experienced Workers’ Comp Attorneys at Petro Cohen
At Petro Cohen, we have successfully handled shoulder labral tear claims as well as many other types of workplace injuries. Our law firm has been consistently recognized as one of New Jersey’s leading firms in the area of workers’ comp. The firm received the highest rating by Martindale-Hubbell – the world’s foremost authority on law firm credentials – in Professional Excellence and Ethical Standards and Legal Ability.
In addition to the firm’s stellar reputation, the department head, Frank Petro, is respected locally, regionally, and nationally as a leading attorney in this specialized field. He has been recognized as an outstanding attorney by Best Lawyers® every year since 1995 and by Super Lawyers® every year since 2005. Moreover, he has achieved a rating of “Superb” on the leading lawyer-review website, Avvo®, the highest achievable rating.
Along with Suzanne Holz Meola, Terri Hiles, Daniel Rosenthal, and Sam Scimeca, our New Jersey workers’ comp attorneys have more than 100 years of combined experience, having successfully handled thousands of litigated workers’ comp cases throughout New Jersey. This experience and winning track record means that you are going to have a skilled New Jersey worksite injury attorney who will work for you.
The knowledgeable and experienced workers’ comp lawyers at Petro Cohen, P.C. offer free consultations to injured employees and only ask you to pay if they are successful in helping you get approved for benefits. And as a valued client of our firm, you can always expect legal excellence when our proven New Jersey workers’ comp legal team handle your matter, regardless of the size of your case.
To schedule your free consultation, call Petro Cohen at 888-675-7606 today.