Q How can I prove that my rotator cuff injury was caused by my construction job?
In order to get payment for an injury sustained on the job, you will have to prove that your condition was caused as a direct result of your employment. This is simpler when the injury was caused by an accident at work, but can be tricky if the condition progressed slowly over time—and either could cause painful rotator cuff injury.
The Many Causes of a Rotator Cuff Injury
There are many ways a rotator cuff injury may be caused by construction work, including:
- Overhead reaching – Any activity that places the arms over the head can constrict the tight space in the shoulder that the rotator cuff tendons pass through. Painting with a roller, lifting and stacking heavy materials, and tool and machine work in awkward spaces or beyond your reach can easily lead to a construction work rotator cuff injury.
- Forceful arm movements – Rotator cuff tendons may be torn in a single incident, such as swinging a hammer or pulling a rip cord. A sudden turn while the arm is outstretched, car accidents on-the-job, or a fall that places the victim on his back may cause the tendons to tear, making surgical recovery likely.
- Repetitive stress – In many cases, a rotator cuff injury is not caused by a sudden event, but by years of repetitive movements that have gradually caused the tendons to become inflamed.
- Overtime – Many New Jersey construction workers split their time between NJ and New York, taking as many jobs as they can to provide for their families. They may not have the luxury of taking a day off if they’re being paid overtime to finish a job, leaving their bodies without proper rest.
- Other work-related conditions – Construction work takes a major toll on the body, causing lifelong chronic conditions that weaken the worker’s bodily systems. It is not uncommon for other body parts to overcompensate for these weakened or damaged systems, making it just a matter of time until a major injury occurs. For example, a construction worker may develop arthritis in his knees and hips that requires him to overuse his arms, placing additional strain on the rotator cuff tendons.
Depending on the extent of your injury, you may be able to treat rotator cuff inflammation with physical therapy exercises or a steroid injection for the pain. If the tendon is torn or pain persists, you may need surgery and weeks of rehabilitation--both of which should be covered by your employer.
To find out how you can get workers’ comp to cover your rotator cuff injury, click the link on this page to read through our FREE book, What the Injured Worker Needs to Know: Your Workers’ Comp Guide.