Many Australian workers are accustomed to the old saying about putting their shoulder to the wheel to get a job done. But sometimes, the shoulders of those working in the construction industry, brickie’s labourers, and even retail and office workers in New South Wales and elsewhere wear out or suffer trauma through accidents or overuse.
Most work involves the shoulders, and it’s no surprise that shoulder injury compensation claims are common since shoulder injuries can be extremely painful and make it difficult or near impossible for the injured person to do their work.
Shoulder Injury Workers’ Compensation
Should your workplace shoulder injury be severe and have a long-term impact on your well-being and ability to perform your duties, you may be entitled to claim workcover shoulder injury compensation in NSW.
Call PK Simpson’s personal injury lawyers today for advice on how the workover agency in your state will measure your shoulder injury in your compensation claim.
SIRA Disability Measurements For Shoulder Injuries and WPI
The NSW State Insurance Regulatory Authority guidelines for shoulder injuries can be recognised as a form of permanent impairment when you claim compensation. However, accepting your injury in this category doesn’t necessarily mean your compensation claim will be successful or what you expected. You may have to meet a certain disability measurement from one or more injuries to qualify for the WPI or whole-person impairment percentage. Talk to PK Simpson compensation lawyers for advice and assistance on disability measurements with regard to your claim for shoulder injury compensation.
Work-Related Shoulder Injury Permanent Impairment
Your work-related shoulder injury cannot be categorised as a permanent impairment until the condition has stabilised, and if you had a shoulder injury requiring surgery, the assessment could not be made until it heals. Healing and stabilisation usually takes between 6 – 12 months before you can claim a permanent impairment benefit in NSW.
Types of Shoulder Injuries
Shoulders are complex structures with two main bones, the scapula or shoulder blade, and the humerus or upper arm bone forming the glenohumeral or shoulder joint where the bones meet. The glenohumeral joint is covered with cartilage, allowing smooth movement and minimum friction. The clavicle or collarbone is also part of the shoulder and fractured collar bones are common shoulder injuries at work and in sports.
Industry Worker Compensation Claims
People working in some occupations such as those mentioned above and including warehousing, industries that employ storemen and packers, fruit pickers and factory workers and those in the retail industry for instance, are susceptible to shoulder injury.
Tradies and farriers, agricultural workers and the like, miners and anyone in a job that requires lifting or repetitive movement can suffer injuries such as the following which may form part of a shoulder injury compensation claim:
Fractured shoulder: A shoulder fracture can involve one bone or all three, i.e the upper arm bone, the shoulder blade or the collarbone.
Sprained shoulder: When a person sustained a shoulder sprain, it means the ligaments are torn through injury. Ligaments are fibrous tissue that holds the shoulder bones together in and around the joint and allows for smooth movement.
Strained shoulder: When the shoulder muscles and tendons are torn or stretched, it is called a shoulder strain and it can occur commonly when lifting heavy objects, typing with a poor posture or repetitive movements without proper breaks.
Frozen shoulder – Adhesive capsulitis, or frozen shoulder, is caused when the tissue within the shoulder joint thickens due to scarring from an old injury. The development of scar tissue happens over time making the joint tighter and thicker, making movement more difficult.
Rotator cuff injury: A rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles surrounding the shoulder joint. The cuff keeps the upper arm bone (the humeral head) in place in the shoulder socket. A torn rotator cuff or a cuff injury impairs the person’s ability to properly and painlessly maneuver their arm and shoulder.
Impinged shoulder: When the tendons and rotator cuff are inflamed due to overwork, repetitive motion or wear and tear it is called shoulder impingement syndrome. Such rotator cuff injuries can cause severe pain, loss of movement of the arm and shoulder and weakness.
Shoulder dislocation: When the humerus or the ball of the upper arm bone slips out of the shoulder socket or glenoid space, it’s known as a dislocated shoulder. Shoulder subluxation is similar, and occurs when the bone is partially dislocated from the socket.
Why You Shouldn’t Try to Work on With a Shoulder Injury
Shoulder instability and a worsening of your condition can occur if you try to keep on working with a shoulder injury. You should follow your doctor’s advice and take enough time to rest. Shoulder instability is a chronic condition that can leave your shoulder open to recurrent pain and further injury. Shoulder injuries can negatively affect your ability to work and enjoy life.
Diagnosis Code For Shoulder Injury Compensation Claims
If you’ve sustained a work-related shoulder injury, you must report it to your employer as soon as possible and seek medical advice or treatment. Your shoulder injury will be subject to the diagnosis codes in government guidelines which are based on a template developed through a national process facilitated by Safe Work Australia and similar to guidelines developed and used in the NSW workers compensation system.
- Provisions in the guidelines are the result of extensive deliberations by medical specialists who reviewed the 5th edition of the American Medical Association’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (AMA5), in most cases in the Australian workers compensation context.
- Most shoulder injuries and disorders with an abnormal range of movement are assessed using AMA5 Section 16.4 “evaluating abnormal motion”. According to AMA5, internal and external rotation of the shoulder is measured with the elbow flexed to 90 degrees and the arm abducted in the coronal plane to 90 degrees. Where it’s not possible to achieve abduction to 90 degrees, symmetrical measurement of rotation is to be at the point of maximal abduction.
- Where the loss of shoulder motion in a rotator cuff injury does not reflect the severity of the tear, and in the rare cases where there is no associated pain, assessment may be made using “strength evaluation” in AMA5 Section 16.8c.
Should you claim workers’ compensation for your shoulder injury, it’s best to call PK Simpson’s personal injury lawyers to help you with the forms and other requirements. We can arrange for trusted expert Medico Legal practitioners to assess your case using various tests and diagnosis codes to assess your shoulder injury.
What to Do if Your Workers’ Compensation Claim is Denied
If your shoulder injury workers’ compensation claim is denied or you aren’t happy with the results, call PK Simpson lawyers as soon as possible so our compensation experts can lodge a dispute for you.
We can help you get the injury compensation benefits you are entitled to receive so you can continue with your recovery, and if your work-related shoulder injury is severe and you believe it will affect your work now and in future, you may be eligible for a permanent impairment benefit.
Our team of expert personal injury lawyers at PK Simpson know all the ins and outs of this area of law, so we can give you solid advice. Contact us here today or call 1300 757 467.