Workers' Compensation: Valuing Your Shoulder Injury Claim

Many workers in Mississippi suffer shoulder injuries in the course and scope of their employment. Typical shoulder injuries include rotator cuff damage and bursitis of the shoulder. Rotary cuff repair surgery is a common surgery in workers' compensation cases. We are often asked to help workers' compensation claimants that have shoulder injuries.

If you are wondering what your shoulder injury case is worth, you should consider the following factors. First, you have to reach maximum medical improvement ("MMI"). MMI means you are as good as you are going to get. Typically when your doctor releases you you are at MMI. You might continue to have pain management treatment even when you are at MMI.

Once you've been released we also need to know what percentage loss of use your doctor believes you've suffered for your shoulder. The American Medical Association Impairment Guidelines are pubished and used by doctors to determine what percentage loss of use your shoulder suffered. For instance your doctor might state that you have a 10% permenant impairment rating to your right upper extremity. The value of your claim can be computed by taking the total amount of weeks you can possibly get for an arm injury (200) and multiplying that by your disability rating. So in the case of 10% you multiple 200 x .10. You get 20 weeks. Then you multiple 20 weeks by 66 2/3 % your average weekly wage. For instance, someone who makes $450 a week has a compensation rate of $300.015. That is $450 x .6667. Therefore the full formula for this hypothetical workers' claim is 200 x .10 x $300.015=$6,000.30.

However, you likely are entiteld to more than just your impairment rating. The law says that you are entiteld to your total industrial loss of use. Industrial loss of use is determined by looking at the type of work a claimant has historically performed and then deteriming how much the workers' injury will impact his ability to do this work. For instance in Howard Industries Inc, v. Robbins, the Mississippi Court of Appeals determined that a worker with a 45% impairment rating to his shoulder suffered a 90% industrial loss of use. Howard Industries Inc, v. Robbins, 176 So.3d 113 (Miss Ct. App. 2015). Age, work experience, and education are all critical factors in determining what your industrial loss of use is. Any permanent restrictions such as restrictions on overhead lifting are also very pertinent to determining your industrial loss of use and settlement value.

Future medical treatment can also be an important part of your shoulder injury claim.  You can "cash out" the value of your future medical treatment, but in return the workers' compensation carrier no longer has to pay for your medical treatment.

Our attorneys at Haug, Farrar, & Franco can help you get through your workers' compensation case. We will fight to get you the maximum compensation under the law. If you were injured on the job give us a call today!