Shoulder injuries, through either a single traumatic event at work or due to an employee’s work duties over time, are common work injuries in Wisconsin. In addition to medical bills and lost wages, injured workers can pursue permanent partial disability benefits, which are assigned by a treating doctor when the injured worker reaches a healing plateau. This functional disability assessment correlates to a dollar value for the injured worker.
Certain surgical procedures carry “minimum” percentages of disability under Wisconsin law. These minimum disability ratings for surgical procedures are most common with knee and back claims. On the other hand, shoulder surgeries, including rotator cuff repairs and labrum procedures, do not warrant a minimum percentage of disability rating. A total shoulder replacement carries a 50% minimum percentage of disability rating, but typically the permanent partial disability for shoulder injuries is based on range of motion limitations, pain, weakness, and any other disabling factors.
As an injured worker nears an end of healing, they should discuss their shoulder condition with the doctor. The treating doctor needs to document the range of motion limitations, weakness and other disabling factors. No matter the shoulder surgery, if injured workers have questions about the rating of permanent partial disability, they should reach out to a qualified legal professional to discuss the rating.