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What Is The Average Workers’ Comp Settlement For A Shoulder Injury In VA?


Getting injured on the job is stressful and costly, especially when it involves the shoulder, a very important joint in the body. What is a fair workers’ compensation for a shoulder injury? There is no true ‘average’ settlement amount because each case is unique. However, we can look at certain factors affecting the value of your claim, and consider them in the calculation of Virginia workers’ comp.

Types And Costs Of Shoulder Injuries

According to estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical expenses for an average shoulder injury can total $20,000 a year – but that’s excluding surgery. A worker with a shoulder injury also misses an average of 21 days of work during treatments and recovery. These are only some of the common losses you may have suffered due to your occupational injury.

Specifically, here are some estimates of medical costs associated with the different types of shoulder injury:

Rotator Cuff Injuries

The “rotator cuff” is a group of shoulder muscles and tendons that keeps the upper-arm bone centered in the round socket of the shoulder. This can be damaged or torn in an accident, through rigorous arm motions, or through normal wear-and-tear.

Some rotator cuff injuries may heal with self-care, but some require advanced treatments like steroid injections and surgery. Treatments may range between $300 and $15,000. A mini-open surgery averages $7,841, while an arthroscopy (“keyhole surgery”) averages $8,985.

Labral Tears

Within the shoulder socket is a rubbery material called the labrum, which cushions the joint and helps stabilize it. If the labrum is torn, shoulder movements become deeply painful and it may sometimes feel like the shoulder slips out of place. A common sub-type of this injury is a SLAP tear, which refers to Superior Labrum Anterior and Posterior tear.

A torn labrum or a SLAP injury can be addressed by orthopedic therapy, but in severe cases, doctors might recommend a surgery for lesion repair. The estimated national average cost for this is $20,478.

Dislocated Shoulder

This common injury often requires emergency room treatment. If treatment does not involve anesthesia, the total cost might be less than $1,000. But if anesthesia is necessary, that price can go up to $8,000.

Injuries Requiring Shoulder Replacement

Chronic shoulder pain, stiffness, severe shoulder fracture, and post-traumatic arthritis are examples of conditions that may necessitate shoulder replacement surgery. This surgical procedure involves replacing the head of the upper-arm bone and its corresponding shoulder socket with a metal ball and a polyethylene cup. The procedure can cost anywhere from $7,000 to $21,000 or more.

Frozen Shoulder

Medically known as “adhesive capsulitis,” a frozen shoulder is a painful condition that may follow a shoulder injury or surgery. During the body’s attempt to heal, it may overreact to the damage, causing the joint capsule to be inflamed and rigid. Typically, this injury may fade over time, but during its course, you may experience months of extreme pain and shoulder stiffness. To usher your healing, therapy is usually recommended, costing about $50 per visit.

All these types of shoulder injury come with ‘hidden’ costs, or expenses that you may not have anticipated but can quickly pile up. Examples are travel costs, multiple x-rays and other diagnostic tests, and additional needs like arm slings and shoulder braces.

Keep all bills, records, and receipts that are related to your injury, including non-medical ones like travel expenses to the doctor’s. Also document the number of days you have missed work, as well as the expected wages that you have lost from these. Keeping a comprehensive documentation of your economic losses will help you concretely establish your claim.

Together with an experienced workers comp lawyer, you must also consider your non-economic losses such as pain and suffering. These types of losses may be less tangible, but they are recognized by the law and can be assigned a dollar amount. Your attorney can help you determine the fair value of your non-economic damages and negotiate for it during the claims process.

How Workers’ Comp Is Computed In Virginia

In general, Virginia workers’ compensation is a weekly payment equal to 66.67 percent of your average weekly wages. The maximum compensation is worth 500 weeks, except in extreme cases.

Apart from your medical bills and other related expenses, your workers’ compensation should also cover your lost wages. A primary factor in calculating this is how much your injury has disabled you. Here are basic guidelines:

  • Temporary partial disability. This means you are able to work but can only earn less than normal because of your injury. Your benefits should be two-thirds of the difference between your earnings before injury and your earnings after injury. For example, if you were earning $800 before injury, then $500 after injury. The difference is $300, and two-thirds of that is $200 – that’s your benefits rate.
    You may receive your benefits until you’re able to earn your normal wages again, or you reach your maximum medical improvement, or you reach the 500-week cap.
  • Temporary total disability. This means you need to miss more than seven of work due to your injury. Your benefits should be two-thirds of your average weekly earnings until you reach the benefit cap.
  • Permanent partial disability. This typically means you have lost the use of a certain body part such as a hand or an arm. Compensation for this is also two-thirds of your average weekly wages, but the number of weeks is predetermined by the Virginia Guide for Permanent Loss.
  • Permanent total disability. This means that your injury permanently prevents you from working. Examples are total paralysis and severe brain injury. For this, you may be entitled to receive your temporary total rate every week for life.

As you can see, determining your maximum workers’ comp settlement can be particular and confusing. In addition, you need to anticipate the methods that employers and insurers may use to reduce your case value. The best way to fight for your rightful compensation is by getting the help of a workers’ comp lawyer who is not only skilled but dedicated to helping real people instead of companies.

Contact Slominski Law

Based in Lynchburg, VA, Slominski Law is dedicated to helping Virginians who deserve payments for their injuries. Let’s talk about your work-related shoulder injury. Your initial consultation with us is completely free. Call us today at  (434) 384-9400 or reach us through our online contact form.