A torn rotator cuff is among the most common injury suffered by Illinois workers. It is a painful injury, and while it is not usually life-threatening, it can certainly be life changing. While surgery and physical therapy can typically restore total mobility, you’ll likely be permanently limited in terms of how much stress you can put on your arms and shoulders. In short, a torn rotator cuff can be costly, and that cost can extend over the rest of your life.
If you’ve suffered an on-the-job injury like a torn rotator cuff, we can help you file your claim and ensure you’re treated fairly.
A Costly Injury
It is important you never underestimate what a work injury may cost you. You deserve a settlement that will compensate you for the full value of the loss you have suffered.
Your rotator cuff is an important group of tendons that attach to your upper arm and help hold your shoulder in place. It is essential to your arm mobility and for performing normal day-to-day activities. An injury to the rotator cuff, then, isn’t just painful. It can disrupt your quality of life, making it hard to do basic tasks, from getting dressed in the morning to combing your hair.
Rotator cuff tears do not heal on their own. Leaving them untreated results in permanent loss of at least some arm mobility. As a result, surgery to repair the tears is usually the recommended treatment. That can cost as much as $20,000.
In addition, a rotator cuff tear often results in lost work time. You may not be able to perform your job while you have the injury, and even after surgery, your surgeon will likely recommend you put as little stress on the rotator cuff as possible for at least a year. Doctors may also put permanent restrictions on what you can lift. In other words, you may never be able to do the job that caused the tears in the first place.
Rotator cuff injuries can also aggravate other conditions, such as arthritis, which may leave you further disabled. And it’s not unusual for patients to re-aggravate their injuries in the first year, requiring additional surgeries
Given the cost of the surgery itself, the likelihood of lost wages, and the many other complications that can occur, workers’ compensation settlements for torn rotator cuffs generally average between $75,000 and $125,000.
A Full-Body Injury
Luckily, the state of Illinois recognizes just how debilitating a torn rotator cuff can be. In Will County Forest Preserve v Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, an appellate court found that such injuries should be treated as “whole body” rather than “arm” (2012).
What’s the significance of this ruling? In calculating workers’ compensation benefits, body parts are each assigned a particular value. An arm is worth 253 weeks of disability compensation, and you are generally compensated for whatever percentage of limb loss you’ve suffered. If, for instance, you lost sixty percent use of your arm, you would be compensated for sixty percent of that 253 weeks of disability.
However, a whole-body injury is worth more than double that amount, or 500 weeks of disability compensation.
Rotator cuff injuries can happen suddenly or as the result of repeated stress on the shoulders, particularly as the result of heavy lifting. As you might expect, several professions are especially prone to injury, including construction workers, factory workers, carpenters, painters, and truck drivers.
It’s important to know that your job doesn’t have to have caused your injury for you to be eligible for workers’ compensation. It may only have aggravated that injury. Your employer is still responsible for medical expenses and any disability payments you may be entitled to.
According to Illinois law, your employer hires you “as is,” meaning they accept you with any preexisting physical conditions you might have. Even if you injured your rotator cuff doing another activity, if your job worsens your condition, you can still claim benefits.
This is one reason why it is important to report any injury you sustain on the job immediately and to fully document what occurred. While you have up to forty-five days to inform your employer, the longer you wait the more likely your employer’s insurer will be to question the validity of your claim.
If you or someone you love has suffered a torn rotator cuff at work, the attorneys at Cullotta Bravo Law Group can help. We’ll help you determine the best course of action for your situation, and make sure you get the settlement you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at (630) 225-8341 or contact us online.