Shoulder Injury After Car Accident? Here’s What to Do About It
Your shoulders are one of the most complex and most used parts of your body. You use your shoulders every time you move your arms and your hands. The shoulder is primarily a ball and socket joint that consists of 3 main bones – the clavicle (collar bone), the scapula (shoulder blade), and the humerus (arm bone).
These three bones are joined together by ligaments, muscles, tendons, and a joint capsule that allow it to function. This unique anatomy of the shoulder allows it to have an incredible range of motion, greater than that of any other joint in the body. However, this range of motion also makes the shoulder vulnerable to injury.
Every year, approximately 7.5 million people seek medical treatment for shoulder injuries. Some of the most common ways individuals sustain or aggravate shoulder injuries are from accidents, such as a fall, car crash, or work accident. However, individuals who are injured in these types of incidents are not always aware their shoulder pain was caused by the accident. Even if they are aware, they may not be sure what to do next in terms of treatment and what would be fair compensation.
Here are some of the common symptoms you may experience if you have sustained a shoulder injury. If you suspect your shoulder injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, it’s critical to seek medical care immediately. That’s because if you delay getting treatment, the insurance company may try to argue your shoulder pain was caused by something else.
9 Signs of a Substantial Shoulder Injury
The signs of a shoulder injury can be very apparent, but sometimes they’re not. If you sustained a shoulder injury after a car accident, you might experience the following:
- Intense pain around your shoulder
- Discoloration around the shoulder area
- Difficulty moving your arm without pain
- Shoulder pain that feels worse with exertion or activity
- Weakness, numbness, tingling, or swelling around the area
- Stiffness or tenderness
- Difficulty sleeping
- Abnormal sensations such as prickling
You might think that these symptoms will go away if you give them time. However, you may have greater underlying damage that may persist for months or years. This is another reason to get checked out by a doctor if you are experiencing shoulder pain after an accident.
6 Common Shoulder Injury Diagnosis
What may seem like some slight pain and discomfort in your shoulder could be signs of something much more serious. A few common shoulder related injuries you may have sustained include:
- Torn Rotator Cuff: Tear in the muscles surrounding the shoulder which can lead to immobility of the shoulder and continuous pulsating pain.
- Frozen Shoulder: Extreme stiffness in the shoulder which reduces the flexibility of the shoulder and makes it more prone to injury.
- Soft Tissue Injuries: This refers to any part of the body that isn’t bone such as a muscle, tendon, or ligament injury. These are all the main components that are responsible for holding your shoulder in place.
- Fracture: A fracture is a loss of continuity of the bone. Fractures of the shoulder usually involve the scapula (shoulder blade). This can result in pain, swelling, and noticeable bruising around the shoulder area.
- Dislocations – Acromioclavicular Joint (AC Joint): The acromioclavicular joint is the position where the collarbone (clavicle) and the highest point of the shoulder blade (acromion) meet. This injury can harm the ligaments that frame and stabilize the AC joint. Sometimes if the injury is severe enough, the ligaments can become completely torn. AC joint injuries can be mildly painful and show little noticeability on the outside. However, some can be very painful and deforming.
- Impingement: Upon raising your arm to shoulder height the space between the acromion ( a continuation of the scapular spine) and rotator cuff gets smaller. The acromion can rub against the tendon and the bursa, causing dreadful pain.
What Compensation May be Available to You
The most common types of compensation available for shoulder injuries include the following:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages and benefits: This refers to the pay you could have earned but were unable to do so because of your injuries. You can claim this in a personal injury claim against an at-fault party.
- Pain and suffering: Physical and emotional distress caused by the accident or the other party’s negligence.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: When you have suffered a physical or mental injury and that injury stops you from doing activities that you enjoyed doing before your injuries.
- Lost earning capacity: Future earning that you could have earned if your injury had not happened to you. This attempts to cover your reduced ability to earn a living in the future.
- Punitive Damages: Damages awarded to punish the defendant in certain cases, like drunk driving crashes.
What Are The Most Important Next Steps If You Sustained a Shoulder Injury in an Accident?
1. Seek Medical Attention
As mentioned above, if you have sustained a shoulder injury in an accident, you should seek medical treatment immediately. Remember, if not addressed right away, your shoulder injury might not heal properly. This can make the healing process longer and worsen your injuries. In some cases, it could even cause a degenerative disease over time. The extent of your shoulder injury may vary, but it’s important to seek medical advice to know for sure.
Another reason to seek medical attention as soon as possible for a shoulder injury that was caused by another party’s negligence is to ensure you recover full and fair compensation for your injuries and other losses. If you delay in seeking medical treatment, the insurance company may be able to argue some other incident that happened after your accident caused your shoulder injury. The sooner you get a diagnosis from a doctor, the better it will be for your personal injury claim.
Step Two: Contact a Charleston, West Virginia Injury Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident or because of negligence in West Virginia, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you recover what you have lost. In fact, at West Law Firm, our goal is to help you recover what you have lost and come out even stronger and better than before the accident.
At West Law Firm, our injury attorneys have decades of combined experience helping people who have been injured by negligence, and we invite you to call us for a Free Consultation to get more details about your rights and options. Call us toll free at 1-877-943-9378. There’s also no fee unless and until you recover compensation.
West Law Firm is located in Charleston, West Virginia. However, we serve clients throughout the state and country who have been hurt in WV. We’ll come to you!