A shoulder injury caused by a car accident can be incredibly painful. Even an accident at low speeds is capable of causing injuries to the shoulder nerves, tendons, soft tissue or bones. The rotator cuff area is especially vulnerable to injury and pain from an accident. And given the anatomy of the human body, there might be associated neck pain and arm injuries too.
If you suffered a shoulder injury in a car accident because of someone else’s recklessness or negligence, contact the shoulder injury lawyers at The Dominguez Firm today for a FREE consultation. You can reach us at 800-818-1818. We can travel to your home or hospital at a moment’s notice.
Below you’ll find out more about shoulder injuries and your rights if you’re injured in a car accident.
What Are Some Common Shoulder Injuries Caused by Car Accidents?
There are several types of shoulder injuries which can be caused by car accidents. Even whiplash, which we usually associate with the head and neck can also damage the shoulder. Examples of common shoulder injuries include:
- Rotator cuff tears – Our rotator cuffs allow us to move our arms freely. Any trauma-induced tears to the muscles and tendons in the rotator cuff can cause terrible pain and limit range of motion. MRIs are used to diagnose rotator cuff tears. For more serious rotator cuff tears, surgery may be necessary.
- Shoulder impingement – Shoulder trauma from an accident can cause shoulder impingement. That happens when your shoulder blade catches or pinches the muscles and tendons of your rotator cuff. Whiplash injuries can cause this injury. You could feel a constant numbness or pain in the front of that shoulder and the side of that arm.
- Shoulder dislocation – Just as the name sounds, a shoulder dislocation is when the bone at the top of the arm bone, which is shaped like a ball, pops out of its socket in the shoulder blade. Only a trained health care provider should put the arm bone back into the shoulder socket. That will help reduce the pain right away. However, rehabilitation will still be needed to strengthen muscles and improve range of motion.
- Shoulder fracture – This is a break to any of the bones in the shoulder. If the break is clean, they the patient will be given a sling to wear to allow the fracture to heal. If the bone did not break cleanly or is out of place, surgery involving pins, plates or wires would likely be needed.
- Labral tear – This is a tear of the cartilage along the rim of the shoulder socket called the labrum. This type of shoulder injury is diagnosed with an MRI. The symptoms are similar to those of a rotator cuff tear.
Studies have shown that 83% of shoulder injuries in accidents were to the seatbelt shoulder. Many of these injuries also occur when the driver braces themselves on the dashboard at impact.
What is Soft Tissue Damage?
Soft tissue injuries involve damage to a person’s ligaments, muscles or tendons as opposed to the bones. They can involve contusions (bruises), sprains or strains.
Examples of soft tissue shoulder damage are tears to the ligaments, tendons, muscles and shoulder joint capsule. Soft tissue damage is the most common type of shoulder injury caused by car accidents.
Even though soft tissue injuries don’t involve broken bones, they can still be quite serious. The shoulder pain can be severe enough to leave a person with a limited range of motion in not only their shoulders, but in their arms too. Some individuals may not be able to work for weeks and even months. In more serious cases, they can become permanently disabled.
Soft tissue shoulder damage from a car accident won’t get better on its own. It requires intense physical therapy to get over the stiffness, pain, numbness and limited range of motion the victim is experiencing.
What Are Some Symptoms of a Delayed Shoulder Injury?
If you have any of the following symptoms after your car accident, see a doctor right away:
- Back pain
- Shoulder pain
- Arm pain
- Neck pain
- Trouble sleeping due to pain in the shoulder area
Which brings us to an important piece of advice following your accident: don’t ignore symptoms of a shoulder injury.
Should I Wait to See if I’m in Pain Before Seeing a Doctor?
No. After a car accident, make sure you are seen by a doctor right away. Even if you think you’re completely fine, you should still seek medical attention. You could be experiencing an adrenaline rush that is masking your injuries. Don’t let this false sense of security keep you from going to an emergency room.
There are several reasons why you should go to an ER or your own doctor immediately:
- The most important reason is for your health. Not doing so can be dangerous. You might have life-threatening internal injuries or a serious shoulder injury that needs to be treated right away.
- Some injuries can take days or even weeks to appear. By allowing a doctor to diagnosis and provide treatment early, your chances of recovery improve dramatically.
- If you wait days, weeks or even months to see a doctor, it can damage your shoulder injury case significantly. Defense attorneys will question why you waited so long and downplay your injuries. They might even contend that your shoulder injury was not caused by your car accident in an attempt to pay out nothing at all.
What is My Car Accident Shoulder Injury Worth?
For any personal injury case, the severity of the person’s injuries will play a large part in determining their damages (the legal term for compensation). Shoulder injuries from car accidents can leave victims permanently disabled and have a devastating impact on their lives. Even a full recovery can take an extended period of time.
It’s important to realize that the medical costs of a shoulder injury can run into the tens of thousands of dollars and more. That’s especially true if long term rehabilitation and physical therapy are needed.
The problem is insurance companies and their attorneys do not want to pay out what you need to get your life back together. They’ll try to get you to take a low offer right away.
Instead, the shoulder injury lawyers at The Dominguez Firm are ready to fight for your right to the maximum compensation allowed by law. Your possible damages are broken down into two categories: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are exactly what they sound like: what your shoulder injury accident has cost you. That would include the following:
- Ambulance fees
- Emergency room bill
- Medical bills
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation expenses
- Mental health therapy
- Lost income and wages due to your shoulder injury
- Property damage, meaning the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle
Non-economic damages are based on the emotional losses you’ve suffered because of your shoulder injury. You might not be able to add them up like economic damages, but they’re usually the biggest part of a shoulder accident victim’s settlement or verdict amount.
Non-economic damages include compensation for:
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
An example of loss of enjoyment of life is a person who can’t play with their children like they did before their car accident because of their shoulder injury.
Note that there is no limit as to how much you can be awarded in non-economic damages in California.
Call the Shoulder Injury Lawyers at The Dominguez Firm
If you or a loved one suffered a shoulder injury in an accident, call car accident lawyers at The Dominguez Firm now for a FREE consultation at 800-818-1818. We work on a contingency basis which means you don’t have to worry about any upfront costs or surprise hidden fees when you become our client. Instead we receive a fixed percentage of your final settlement or verdict at the end of your case as payment. That percentage will be clearly indicated in the representation agreement you sign with us when you become our client.
And in the unlikely event we can’t obtain any compensation for you, you owe us nothing. If there is no recovery, there is no fee! So call us today.