Shoulder Injuries From Accidents
Shoulder Accident Injury Claim
Shoulder injuries caused by accidents can be absolutely devastating to a victim’s mobility. An accident can result in a fractured shoulder, dislocated shoulder joint, or torn rotator cuff. The anatomy of the shoulder is both complex and delicate. Our bodies are not designed to take on the blunt force trauma of a car accident, motorcycle accident, or slip and fall. The soft-tissues of the shoulder, including the tendons, ligaments, and muscles can be badly damaged when they are impacted by a hard surface such as a door, concrete, or dashboard.
If your shoulder is injured it is critical to get top notch medical treatment from an orthopedist who specializes in diagnosing shoulder trauma. Once you get xrays and MRI, your doctor should be able to identify the extent of the damage caused and how to treat the injury.
Physical therapy and pain medication may offer temporary relief. When that type of treatment is not effective, your only remaining option may be surgery. Depending on the nature of the shoulder injury, surgery can require months of rehabilitation and can cost thousands of dollars.
Shoulder fracture, shoulder separations, and dislocation can all lead to early onset arthritis. Injuries like these from a motor vehicle accident can speed up the degenerative changes in the human body.
Shoulder Injury or Rotator Cuff Tear?
The shoulder is made up of three different bones, which include the humerus, scapula, and clavicle. It is considered a ball-and-socket joint and the arm is kept in the shoulder socket by the muscles of the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff consists of four muscles that join together as tendons and create a covering surrounding the humerus. When a rotator cuff tear occurs, the tendon detaches from the head of the humerus either fully or partially. The most common area for rotator cuff tears to happen is in the supraspinatus muscle and tendon. Usually, the injury starts as the tendon begins to fray, and then it will completely tear.
The two different types of rotator cuff tears include partial tears and full-thickness tears. A partial tear damages the soft tissue, but doesn’t totally sever it. A complete tear separates the soft tissue into two pieces. This usually causes a complete hole in the tendon itself.
There are two main causes of rotator cuff shoulder injuries. These include acute tears and degenerative tears. Acute tears are most commonly seen in car accidents and are often accompanied by other shoulder injuries. Degenerative tears are a result of wearing down a tendon over time. Degenerative rotator cuff tears are normally seen in the dominant arm, and if you have received this type of tear in one arm, then there is a higher chance of developing one in the other arm as well.
Symptoms of Rotator Cuff Tears
The symptoms of a rotator cuff tear are similar to other shoulder injuries, which is why it is important to get evaluated by a trained medical professional if you are experiencing any of them. Symptoms commonly associated with rotator cuff tears include: pain when lifting or lowering your arm, pain at night if you are sleeping on the injured shoulder, cracking and popping noises when moving the shoulder in certain positions, and weakness when rotating or lifting the arm.
Tears that occur during an automobile accident will usually, but not always, cause immediate intense pain. There may also be a snapping sensation and you will likely notice weakness in your shoulder. If the onset of pain develops over time following a crash, you will likely notice pain when you are lifting your arm above your head, or you will notice that over-the-counter medications are not providing relief from pain.
A medical doctor will be able to evaluate you to see if you have incurred a rotator cuff tear. A doctor will search for specific tender points in the shoulder and any deformities that point to a rotator cuff injury. He will also perform a series of tests that check the strength of your arm and shoulder and test the range of motion within your shoulder.
If your doctor believes that you have suffered a shoulder injury, he will order imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis. This will probably be an X-ray test, magnetic resonance imaging test, or ultrasound. These will allow the doctor to view the inside of your shoulder to determine the exact cause of the problem. If your doctor has diagnosed you with a rotator cuff tear following a serious car crash, call an experienced rotator cuff injury lawyer to discuss your case.
The goal of treatment with a rotator cuff injury is to decrease the amount of pain while increasing the function of the shoulder. Treatment routes for shoulder injuries fall into two main categories: conservative non-surgical treatment or surgical treatment. The non-surgical route reduces the level of pain and improves over all shoulder function in approximately 50 percent of all patients.
This type of treatment could include: rest, avoiding activity that causes pain, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and steroid injections. The non-surgical route avoids the expensive cost of surgery and the lengthy recovery time, however, it usually doesn’t allow for improvements in strength and you may never be able to return to a full activity level.
If you elect to have shoulder surgery for your rotator cuff tear, then you have a much better chance of returning to a full activity level following the recovery process. The surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff involves re-attaching the tendon to the humerus bone. If you have suffered a partial tear, then you may only need a procedure called debridement, which trims around the injured area. Your doctor will most likely recommend surgery if the tear was caused by an acute injury, such as a car crash, or if you have suffered a complete tear.
St. Louis Shoulder Injury Attorney
Shoulder injuries often cause a major disruption in your life. Medical treatment can be expensive and you may be unable to return to work for a while. Without the ability to earn a paycheck, your claim for lost wages can become significant and medical bills will start to pile up quickly. Most insurance claim adjusters will argue that a shoulder injury could not have been caused by a crash or accident, but instead was a result of age or a preexisting condition. A St. Louis shoulder injury lawyer from Schultz & Myers will fight for your claim and obtain a fair settlement for your damages.
Never give a recorded statement to anyone after an auto accident. If you injure your shoulder, seek immediate medical attention and then contact an injury attorney for advice on what to do next. These first steps are key. Unfortunately, you can do a lot of damage to your case unless steps are taken, from the start, to properly diagnose the shoulder injury, treat it, and uncover all of the potential insurance coverage available to compensate you for these injuries.