Visitor Question

Treatment for possible torn rotator cuff?

Submitted By: Kendall (Ryder, North Dakota)

My job entails climbing up and down rail cars, pulling big hoses, and pulling on valves and up and down semi’s. About a month or so ago my left arm started losing strength, to the point now it has lost 80 percent of its strength. I was working full time but now have been lowered part time.

I have a very good doctor friend, who came over the other night to look at my arm at the house. He advised me to get an MRI of my shoulder, but they are expensive and I have no insurance. He thinks I have a torn rotator cuff.

Can I file a workmans’ comp claim against my employer even though I don’t remember a specific incident that any injury happened? I only know that my shoulder has gotten so much worse this past month. How can I get treatment for this? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Kendall,

You certainly can file a workers’ compensation claim. The time period in the State of North Dakota for filing a workers comp claim is up to 90 days after the onset of the injury. It appears you still have plenty of time.

You indicate your employer is aware of your arm (rotator cuff) injury and as a result assigned you to part-time work. Your employer is aware because you notified him your arm was injured. As long as your arm injury was not pre-existing, or outside of work you haven’t been engaging in activities likely to have caused your rotator cuff injury, there’s every likelihood your claim will be honored.

Once you file your claim you will be able to choose a doctor from the insurance company’s list of approved doctors. In your case, you’ll probably need an orthopedist. Workers’ comp should pay all your medical bills, including the costs of MRIs, CT Scans and X-rays.

If you have to miss work you’ll be entitled to collect about two thirds of your lost wages. Because your injury occurred while you were working full time, you should demand the amount of your lost wage compensation be based on your full-time and not part-time pay.

If you run into any problems you can always consult with a workers’ compensation attorney. Most will not charge for an initial office consultation.

Learn more here: Back Injuries at Work

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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