The shoulder is a complex ball and socket joint, which allows you to move your arm in almost every possible direction. It has a vast range of motion which helps you complete everyday tasks such as reaching for or lifting objects. Railroad employees covered by FELA face numerous potential workplace hazards and situations which can result in a shoulder injury. FELA workers involved in frequently extending and using their arm and shoulder to manipulate heavy objects are at high risk for damage to the shoulder’s ligaments, tendons and rotator cuff. Switchmen or other railroad employees who operate brakes, switches and levers are especially susceptible to FELA shoulder injuries. This risk significantly goes up if your FELA employer or other workers fail to follow safety protocols or maintain equipment.
Pain and discomfort can be an early sign that your shoulder may need further medical inspection. A proper medical evaluation can help you understand the extent of damage an injury may have caused to your shoulder. Due to the frequent use and complex range of motions a shoulder performs, it often takes longer to heal than other body parts. A severe FELA shoulder injury usually will not heal without medical attention including physical therapy and potentially surgery or replacement. It is important to understand your FELA rights and seek an experienced FELA attorney such as the team at The Youngdahl Law Firm, P.C. and Doyle Dennis LLP.
Shoulders are one of the most common FELA injuries. If equipment is not properly maintained employees operating defective or malfunctioning equipment may suffer a severe shoulder injury.
FELA Shoulder Injuries
Rotator Cuff Tears
Rotator cuff tears are tears in the muscles or tendons surrounding the shoulder joint. This railroad operator injury results in shoulder pain, especially on movement of the shoulder or arm. A rotator cuff tear can happen suddenly if you fall on your arm or lift something heavy in the railyard or overtime from wear and tear. Rotator cuff tears usually do not heal on their own without surgery. Some individuals can improve functionally and decrease pain with nonsurgical treatment.
SLAP tears for railroad workers occur when you tear cartilage in the inner part of your shoulder joint. The tears can be caused by injury or overuse and make it painful or difficult for you to move your shoulder and arm. Other risks for SLAP tears for railroad employees are falling on an outstretched arm or quickly maneuvering a heavy object. Left untreated, these tears can cause chronic pain, limit how much you can use your arm and shoulder, and lead to more serious shoulder problems.
Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition characterized by stiffness and pain in your shoulder joint. The most common causes of frozen shoulder for a railroad employee are the immobility that may result during recovery from a shoulder injury, broken arm or a stroke. Railroad workers who have had prolonged immobility or reduced mobility of the shoulder are at higher risk of developing frozen shoulder. If you’ve had an injury that makes it difficult to move your shoulder, talk to your doctor and understand your FELA rights.
A dislocated shoulder is an injury in which your upper arm bone pops out of the cup-shaped socket that’s part of your shoulder blade. The upper arm can be dislocated in workplace injuries by falls, collisions or traumas. A deformed shoulder, swelling, bruising, intense pain and immobility of the joint are the commonly noted symptoms. Treatment options include closed reduction, immobilization, medication, rehabilitation and in rare cases surgery. Railroad employees should seek medical attention if they are involved in a serious workplace accident.
A shoulder strain is a stretching or tearing of a muscle or tendon in the shoulder. It can happen in a workplace injury when the shoulder remains in one position for long periods of time, such as when carrying heavy objects or operating machinery with one arm and shoulder. An employee who has to handle switches, brakes, knuckles, or other heavy equipment is at risk for a shoulder strain injury.
If a railroad employee is unable to work due to a shoulder injury, he/she needs to fully understand his/her legal rights. The best way to understand your rights and seek compensation for a shoulder injury is to retain an experienced FELA attorney. Please contact The Youngdahl Law Firm, P.C. and Doyle Dennis LLP for a no cost evaluation of your potential FELA shoulder injury claim. Our firms have decades of experiences in highly contested litigation in the courtroom and beyond. The FELA railroad attorneys at The Youngdahl Law Firm, P.C. and Doyle Dennis LLP are proud to fight for our clients as we understand the difficulties of a FELA lawsuit, and support our clients every step of the way.