What To Do if You Get a Shoulder Injury at Work [Guide]

woman holding her shoulder and neck after getting injured at work

Perhaps unsurprisingly, shoulder injuries are among the most common workplace injuries we see. They can occur in just about any industry and impact everyone from construction workers, to healthcare professionals, to office workers. From mild strains to serious fractures and tears, a shoulder injury can cause pain, delay your ability to return to work, and lead to significant financial hardship.

While there are steps that can be taken to prevent injuries in workplaces, there’s no way to completely eliminate the risk. But if you sustain a shoulder injury at work, you can file a workers’ compensation claim and receive financial assistance to help you cope.

At RGMR, we’re honored to fight for the rights of injured Oregon workers, and we routinely deal with shoulder injury work claims. In this article, we’re outlining the steps you should take after hurting your shoulder at work.

Workers’ Compensation for Shoulder Injuries

A left or right shoulder injury at work can result from an accident (like a fall), overexertion (such as lifting a heavy box or piece of equipment), or from a repetitive task (such as filing papers or typing for long periods of time). In Oregon, employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to provide financial benefits to employees who are dealing with a wide range of different workplace injuries and occupational diseases, including shoulder injuries.

Common Shoulder Injuries

Every year, millions of people suffer from shoulder problems that require medical attention. From mild sprains and strains, to arthritis, to chronic inflammation, impingement, and fractures, shoulder issues can cause significant physical and psychological pain. 

Some of the most common shoulder injuries that occur at work include:

Who’s at Risk of a Shoulder Injury at Work?

Workers in any industry can get injured or develop an occupational condition. But there are certainly industries that have higher rates of injury, which naturally leads to higher rates of workers’ comp claims in certain fields.

Most workplace shoulder sprains, strains, and tears take place in jobs that involve overexertion or repetitive tasks. These types of issues frequently occur in factories and warehouses, healthcare facilities, office environments, and on construction sites. Other industries where shoulder injuries are common include landscaping, retail, plumbing, carpentry, emergency services, logging, and fishing.

While these industries carry additional risk, people in any line of work can sustain a right or left shoulder injury due to a workplace fall or other accident.

Steps To Take After A Workplace Shoulder Injury

person getting a massage after getting a shoulder injury at work in oregon

1. Report Your Injury To Your Employer

After any type of injury, the first step of the claims process is to report the incident to your supervisor as soon as possible. They are legally required to provide you with Form 801 “Report of Job Injury or illness.” If your employer fails to provide you with the correct form, you can download Form 801 directly from the Oregon.gov website. 

2. Seek Medical Attention

Documenting your injury is essential to getting the benefits you need. Whether your injury is severe or minor, you should seek an assessment and treatment from a healthcare professional. While your employer can request that you see a company doctor, you have the right to visit a doctor of your choosing. 

At your appointment, be sure to mention to your physician that you sustained your shoulder injury at work. He or she will help you fill out Form 827 “Worker’s and Health Care Provider’s Report for Workers’ Compensation Claims.”

Related: How to Advocate for Yourself with Workers’ Comp Doctors

3. Reach Out To a Workers Comp Attorney

Having professional legal representation from an experienced attorney will significantly increase your chances of a successful claim. They will guide you through the process, help you avoid common mistakes, provide you with legal advice, and represent you during legal proceedings.

4. File Your Claim

After you fill out Form 801, you can return it to your employer. They are legally required to file the completed form within 5 days of being notified of your injury. If they fail to file within the required time, your attorney can help you file the form yourself.

5. Keep Records

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for employers and insurance companies to use unfair or deceitful tactics in an attempt to deny you coverage. That’s why it is essential to keep all written communication and documents related to your injury in a safe place. These can include copies of completed forms, emails or texts between you and your employer, witness testimonies from co-workers, and medical reports.

6. Comply With the Case Investigation

Once your claim is filed, your employer’s workers’ comp insurance provider, such as SAIF, will conduct an investigation to assess the validity of your claim. It’s vital that you’re honest and transparent throughout the investigation. 

The insurance company may:

7. Wait for a Decision

The insurance company has 60 days from the time your employer was made aware of the injury to come to a decision. You can check the progress of your claim online to stay informed.

If Your Claim is Approved…

You’ll be sent a notice of approval, which will detail your benefits. In some instances, you may receive approval of only some of the benefits you requested. If this happens, your attorney will help you fight any unfair denial. 

If Your Claim Is Denied…

You’ll be sent a letter detailing the reasons for denial. Receiving news of your claim being denied can be devastating. But don’t give up! Your attorney will help you appeal the decision and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Did You Hurt Your Shoulder at Work? You’re Not Alone.

doctor inspecting man's injured shoulder

Shoulder injuries at work are all too common. They can result in significant physical, psychological, and financial pain for workers in just about any industry. At Ransom, Gilbertson, Martin, & Ratliff, LLP, we fight tirelessly for the rights of injured Oregon workers to help them secure workers’ comp for shoulder injury issues.

We have over 70 years of combined experience. We know the system like the backs of our hands. The legal process can be frustrating and isn’t always fair, but we’ve helped countless injured workers fight and win their cases so they can receive the benefits they need and deserve.

Don’t hesitate to contact us to tell us about your situation, ask any questions you have, and get started filing your claim. We provide free consultations and won’t charge you a penny unless we win your case.

Adian Martin

Adian Martin (JD) is an accomplished attorney with over 25 years of experience. His goal is to use his legal expertise and passion for problem-solving to help people get the benefits and proper compensation they deserve after an injury. He received his law degree from Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College and is currently a partner at Ransom Gilbertson Martin & Ratliff. In his spare time, Adian enjoys exploring the outdoors with his dog and bicycling.

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