Car accidents are known for causing a wide variety of life-changing and painful injuries. One of the most difficult injuries car accident victims endure is torn rotator cuffs. This debilitating shoulder injury can significantly limit your range of motion which may make it difficult or impossible for you to complete daily living tasks.
Fortunately, when you are diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff after a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your suffering. Your Atlanta car accident lawyer can help you identify the liable party and quantify your damages to maximize your personal injury settlement and ensure those responsible are held accountable for their negligence.
What Is a Rotator Cuff Injury?
There are four tendons and muscles surrounding the shoulder joint. This is known as the rotator cuff. When the muscles and tendons around the shoulder joint are severely injured, torn, or severed during an accident, it can severely impact your range of motion.
If your rotator cuff is injured in a car accident caused by drunk driving, distracted driving, or any other type of collision, it could prevent you from being able to feed yourself, reach for objects, and do many other activities, such as bathe, use the bathroom, and even take care of your children.
How a Rotator Cuff Tears
There are several ways in which you can tear your rotator cuff. In some cases, torn rotator cuffs happen over time due to repetitive use in the workplace. If this is the case, you may have the right to seek worker’s compensation benefits through your employer.
However, if you were involved in a serious car accident, your rotator cuff could tear due to the impact of the collision on your shoulder. Your rotator cuff could also tear due to the way the seat belt holds you in place when the vehicle collides with a stationary object, with your shoulder absorbing the force of the collision.
How a Car Accident Can Lead to a Torn Rotator Cuff
Car accidents of any kind have the potential to cause torn rotator cuffs. More often than not, sideswipe accidents, head-on collisions, T-bone accidents, and rear-end collisions are known for severe shoulder injuries and torn rotator cuffs.
When you are involved in an accident, you may suddenly and instinctively put your hands up on the dashboard or brace yourself against the steering wheel. When the shoulder is unrelaxed, the full force of the collision is absorbed by your shoulder, often causing an acute tear.
Symptoms of a Torn Rotator Cuff
Immediately after your car accident, it is crucial to get medical attention. You may not initially notice the severity of your shoulder injury. However, a torn rotator cough exhibits very specific symptoms you should be aware of, such as:
- A limited range of motion
- Pain radiating throughout your affected arm
- Weakening in the shoulder area
- Severe pain in the outer area or top of your shoulder region
- A clicking or popping sound when you try to move your arm
- Swelling in the shoulder region
- Difficulty sleeping because of increased pressure on your shoulder area
Fortunately, your healthcare provider can easily diagnose a torn rotator cuff after a car accident. You can expect your initial medical examiner to go over your medical history in-depth to determine whether you have any degenerative shoulder issues. They will also need to physically examine the area for obvious signs of an injury and confirm their torn rotator cuff diagnosis with an x-ray or other diagnostic imaging.
Treatment for a Torn Rotator Cuff
The good news is that torn rotator cuffs are generally not fatal. Although car accident victims could succumb to infections when repairing the torn rotator cuff, this is unlikely. Your healthcare provider may be able to treat your torn rotator cuff injuries depending on the severity of the chair and the extent of your shoulder injuries.
For minor torn rotator cuffs, one or more of the following treatment options may be possible:
- Applying topical medications via an ultrasound
- Temporarily reducing torn rotator cuff pain with corticosteroid injections
- Regular physical and occupational therapy with a healthcare provider to strengthen your shoulder muscles and tendons
Treating a Torn Rotator Cuff Surgically
Unfortunately, if your torn rotator cuff is severe, instead of going with one of the previously mentioned treatment options, your healthcare provider may suggest surgical intervention. There are several potential surgical options that may be available depending on the extent of your injury. These include:
- Mini-open repairs – With a mini-open repair, your surgeon will need to make a small incision that is only centimeters long and make the repair to your torn rotator cuff using advanced medical technological tools.
- Open repairs – Your surgeon may suggest open repairs to remove bone spurs. This is generally only recommended when tears are abnormal in size, or the shoulder joint requires additional space to make repairs.
- Arthroscopic procedures – Arthroscopic surgical repairs are generally reserved for the most severe rotator cuff injuries. Your physician will use an endoscope, which is a small camera, to see inside your shoulder joint.
Why You Should Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
Although most torn rotator cuffs are caused over time, it is not at all uncommon for car accidents to cause the same injuries. Unfortunately, the insurance company may attempt to escape liability by arguing you had a pre-existing condition or that the torn rotator cuff was not a result of the collision. With help from an aggressive and knowledgeable Atlanta car accident attorney, you can ensure the insurance company and other at-fault parties compensate you fairly for your suffering.
By introducing compelling medical evidence to support your case, we can prove your torn rotator cuff was directly caused by the car accident you were involved in. You can learn more about how the claims process works and how much you could be awarded for your torn rotator cuff injuries when you contact our office for a free, no-obligation consultation. Get started on your case as soon as today when you call our legal team or complete our quick contact form.