The constant swinging of the hammer, the regular lifting of building materials over your head and a fall, landing on your outstretched arm, all may contribute to your work-related shoulder injury as a construction worker. It is likely an injury to your rotator cuff – the muscles and tendons that encompass the shoulder joint.
The occasional painkiller works for a short time, but your shoulder injury continues to hurt. It has gotten to the point where the pain has become too much to bear, resulting in you having to miss work. It will heal. However, it will take a long time to do so, forcing you to make alternate plans within your work and personal lives. You may even have to undergo surgery.
Physical therapy? Steroids? Surgery?
A rotator cuff injury such as a tear is not uncommon among people employed in the construction injury. It is an injury often sustained by workers such as painters and builders who perform the same and repeated overhead shoulder motions.
Such an injury occurs in other ways besides repetitive motion. An accident, such as catching yourself from a fall, or lifting unusually heavy objects that overwhelm you, place a great amount of strain on your shoulder and also may cause a rotator cuff tear.
In some cases, physical therapy may help you overcome a rotator cuff injury. Other times, physicians treat such an injury through a steroid injection, often cortisone. The most severe cases may require surgery. Any of these treatments may keep a construction worker off the job for months.
According to a report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, injuries and illnesses to the shoulder led to workers missing roughly 26 days of work in 2014, more so than any other body part.
With those days of missed work, you as a construction worker might qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. If you had a clear “injury by accident” such as a fall, then you should immediately report the injury to your employer in writing. But, if your injury is the result of repetitive motion at work, get a legal consultation before reporting it to the employer. This is a very tricky case to get covered, so you need to be prepared before you talk to the employer or insurance company about it. When you get the medical care be sure to tell the doctor exactly how you got hurt. Insurance companies often deny shoulder injury claims so you will probably need to work with a legal ally who will make sure no one takes advantage of you. Bob Bollinger is a Board Certified Specialist in Workers’ Compensation Law and has successfully handled many cases involving rotator cuff injuries due to both falls and repetitive motion. Contact Bob for advice on how to proceed with your claim.