What should you do about your shoulder injury?
No one ever expects to be in a car or truck collision but their brute force and high speed can easily hurt different parts of your body. You may have just suffered a shoulder injury.
Your pain can be excruciating. And your financial damage can be serious if not handled properly. You can be left with huge medical bills, substantial lost wages, and other adverse effects.
Fortunately, medical treatment and the passage of time often resolve someone’s injury.
We thought to write about this topic because we just resolved a case for a man who underwent an arthroscopic shoulder surgery and a man on a motorcycle was diagnosed yesterday with shoulder tears that will require surgery.
We only represent people injured in collisions so we have seen countless people who have suffered a shoulder injury over the last 41 years.
Anatomy of the shoulder
The shoulder is a part of the body that we take for granted until suddenly we can’t move our arm. It is a complicated ball and socket joint with many moving parts that are easily injured.
The shoulder has two main bones, the upper arm (humerus) and shoulder blade (scapula). The collarbone (clavicle) provides further support. There are also muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints that enable the arm to move freely.
Any of these can get hurt when people are slammed into the metal door, airbags hit their upper bodies, or they are hurled into the steering wheel or dashboard.
Shoulder injury types
Depending on the severity of the crash, size of the vehicles, angle of impact, and other factors this may have happened to you:
- your shoulder is now dislocated or separated;
- your humerus, clavicle or scapula is fractured;
- your rotator cuff (a group of four muscles and tendons) is torn;
- your tendons and ligaments are torn or inflamed;
- your SLAP (Superior Labrum Anterior-Posterior) or other cartilage is torn;
- your fluid-filled sacs (bursae) are irritated; or
- your shoulder is sprained or strained.
This diagram shows you where these parts are located.
If you have any of the following symptoms, you should immediately go to the hospital or your doctor for x-rays and evaluation:
- severe pain
We understand that due to Covid you may be reluctant to do this, but the sooner you can be diagnosed and treated, the better. Just taking pain-relieving medications like Advils will not resolve the problem if there is damage to the joint.
X-rays often do not reveal the full extent of your shoulder injury, but they can rule out broken bones.
Your personal doctor can prescribe extra-strong pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications. But they are probably not able to treat this problem. They can refer you for physical therapy that can help relieve your shoulder injury. They can show you stretches and exercises that you can do at home.
If your pain continues, your PCP can refer you to an orthopedic (bone and joint) specialist who will order diagnostic tests, especially a Magnetic Resonance Image (MRI). This is a sophisticated magnet that can create more sophisticated imagery of the shoulder.
Sometimes the shoulder pain stems from a neck injury so neurological problems may also need to be examined.
Corticosteroid injections can be given, but are they can be ineffective to solve someone’s problem.
We can recommend good doctors, physical therapists, and orthopedic surgeons we have worked with — including the therapist who fixed Mr. Berenson’s injured shoulder this year.
If all else fails, an arthroscopic surgery may be needed to repair the damage. From our experience, this is only needed about 10% of the time.
A surgeon uses an arthroscope (a camera and light) so they can view what lies below the skin. He or she can see it on a monitor and make the necessary repairs.
This procedure is minimally invasive compared to the old method of opening up the entire shoulder. It takes about one hour and the patient is under anesthesia. There is no scar. The recovery time is usually quick.
If a serious shoulder injury is later diagnosed, you may need to take legal action against the negligent driver (and the company that hired him if he were driving a commercial vehicle like an 18-wheeler). You will need to explain your medical treatment to their insurance company’s attorney in a deposition and/or to a judge and jury in the courtroom.
We can help you
After you are injured in any vehicle crash that is not your fault, you should call a personal injury lawyer for help.
Berenson Injury Law has successfully handled all kinds of shoulder injury cases over the past 41 years.
Here is an example of a case we settled earlier this year:
A church executive used a “limo driver” to take him to DFW Airport when he went on business trips and assumed he was covered by liability insurance.
On this morning, the vehicle in front of them suddenly swerved because there was a giant box on State Highway 121. The driver swerved and crashed his Suburban into the other vehicle.
Our client broke a bone in his shoulder and had to have arthroscopic surgery. However the driver’s company denied coverage because he was using his business vehicle on his personal policy.
We continued and collected the full sum of $105,000 from our client’s uninsured motorists and personal injury protection policy. We are often able to get the entire insurance policy limits available.
This was an excellent result since his medical bills had been greatly reduced by his health insurance company, which cuts the amount of money and insurance adjuster or jury can pay in damages. Further, he was salaried and had no lost wages that had to be repaid.
He received $70,000 after attorney’s fees and case expenses and kindly wrote this review:
“I can proudly say that I am more than satisfied with the services I received. I love how the entire team is so compassionate and work hard to get you what you deserve. I’m grateful to have trusted such a team to represent me. 5 stars is not enough credit compared to what this company deserves! I highly recommend!!”
If you have shoulder pain, seek medical treatment. Then contact us for legal help. Our award-winning personal injury law firm will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
For more information about other injuries people get after being in a car or truck crash: