LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Donald Joseph Banovitz | Oct 28, 2013

Shoulder Pain and Injuries after a Car Accident

It’s not uncommon for someone to suffer shoulder pain after a car accident. There are different kinds of injuries, such as a tear or shoulder separation. This can happen when someone is bracing for impact, or when there is a direct blow to the shoulder.

Rotator Cuff and Shoulder Joint Tears

A rotator cuff consists of four muscles that keep the arm in the socket. It attaches the humerus (upper arm bone) to the shoulder blade and allows for rotating and lifting the arm. When this area is injured in a car accident, it is often by a rotator cuff tear.

Another kind of tear can occur with the shoulder joint, which consists of three bones including the humerus, shoulder blade and collarbone. It is called a glenoid labrum tear because it affects the glenoid (socket where the upper arm bone rests) and labrum (tissue that aids in stabilizing the joint).

Symptoms for both types of tears are similar, in that the person experiences a lot of pain. Certain movements such as lifting can exacerbate the pain. It may worsen at night or when lying on the affected side.

There may be weakness in the limb or the sensation of grinding, popping or locking. The injuries could decrease strength and range of motion as well.

The severity of the tear impacts the type of treatment necessary. A partial tear may require rest, pain medication and limiting/modifying certain activities. Sometimes physical therapy or steroid injections help.

If these forms of treatment don’t work or the tear is severe, it could necessitate surgery. Recovery will be longer, especially when considering rehabilitation afterward. But even with surgery, some patients endure chronic pain or become permanently disabled.

Tears from Shoulder Separation and Dislocated Shoulder

Shoulder separation is actually caused by a tear in the ligaments attached to the collarbone’s underside. This type of injury is called a shoulder separation because the tear causes the collarbone to separate from the AC joint (acromioclavicular joint).

As with the aforementioned tears, noninvasive treatment is typically the first option. If the pain continues or there is severe deformity, surgery would be required for a shoulder separation.

Another possible source of shoulder pain after a car accident is a dislocated shoulder, which happens when the head of the upper arm bone is forced out of the socket (glenoid). It can be a partial or complete dislocation. The tendons or ligaments in the shoulder may also be torn.

Treatment requires the doctor to manipulate the bone back into place. It may then require a sling, icing, pain medication, and rehabilitation exercises.

Seeking Compensation When a Car Accident Results in Shoulder Injuries

If the car accident that led to the shoulder pain was caused by someone else’s negligence, that individual may have to pay for medical expenses.

If the injury was more severe, there may be damages available in addition to the costs for treatment and care like:

· lost wages;

· pain and suffering;

· permanent disability; and

· mental anguish.

Get help pursuing a car accident claim in Aurora. Contact D.J. Banovitz at (303) 300-5060.

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