Shoulder Injuries in Car Accidents
When many people think about car accident injuries, they imagine concussions, whiplash, and lacerations. While these types of injuries are often sustained by car accident victims, a number of people also suffer from shoulder injuries, which can be extremely debilitating. For help collecting compensation to cover the cost of treating your own accident-related shoulder injury, please call one of our dedicated car accident attorneys today.
Types of Shoulder Injuries
Most car accident-related shoulder injuries fall under one of the following categories:
- Bone fractures of the upper arm bone, shoulder blade, collar bone, or socket;
- Dislocations, which occur when the bones on opposite sides of a joint are forcibly moved so that they no longer align; and
- Soft-tissue injuries, which includes tears in the ligaments, tendons, and muscles in the shoulder.
Those who are involved in severe impacts that occur at high speeds could sustain fractures to the clavicle or the top of the humerus. These types of breaks are especially common in those who are t-boned, or struck from the side at a high rate of speed. Symptoms of a clavicle fracture include swelling in the middle of the collarbone and limited range of motion in the shoulder. However, if the shoulder itself is swollen and movement is both extremely painful and limited, the victim is most likely suffering from a proximal humerus fracture. Fortunately, in most cases, these types of breaks can be treated without surgery, unless the bone is severely out of place or has broken through the skin, in which case plates, pins, and screws may need to be used to fix the fractured pieces of bone.
Dislocations of the acromioclavicular joint, or the AC joint, are also relatively common car accident-related injuries and occur when the joint located where the collarbone meets the highest point of the shoulder blade separates due to torn ligaments. This causes the shoulder blade to move downward, causing a bump to appear above the shoulder. In mild cases, a ligament may only be sprained and not torn, while severe cases, where the ligament is actually torn all the way through, could also push the collarbone out of alignment. The type of treatment that a patient needs in these cases depends on whether the injury involves a sprain or a tear. Whether surgical or nonsurgical, treatment also usually involves the use of a sling, cold packs, and medications.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries involve damage to the ligaments, muscles, joints, and tendons. One of the most common types of soft tissue injury is the rotator cuff tear, which occurs when the large tendon that is made up of four muscles combines to form a cuff over the upper part of the arm, known as the rotator cuff, tears. Pain usually starts in the shoulder and radiates down the arm, even affecting injured parties while they sleep. These types of injuries are characterized by significant pain and weakness, as well as a loss of stability and motor control. Treatment could involve anti-inflammatory medications or steroids injections, although in most severe cases, surgical intervention will be required. Tears in the cartilage on the inner part of the shoulder joint, also known as superior labral tears from anterior to posterior (SLAP), are also common in car accidents and result in pain, restricted range of motion, and a lack of upper arm strength.
Call Today for Help with Your Case
If you sustained a shoulder injury in a car accident for which you were not at fault, please contact Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C. at 737-201-0543 to speak with an experienced car accident attorney about your legal options.