Car Accidents Can Cause a Rotator Cuff Tear

man with shoulder injuryCar accidents can cause rotator cuff tears, a shoulder injury that can restrict your range of motion and cause pain as you complete daily tasks. While a rotator cuff tear is often thought of as a sports injury, car accidents are also a common cause. The Sacramento car accident attorneys at the Arnold Law Firm have compiled this guide to help you understand rotator cuff tears caused by car accidents.

What Is a Rotator Cuff Tear?

The rotator cuff consists of four muscles and tendons surrounding the shoulder joint that allow the shoulder to have a wide range of motion. A rotator cuff tear is when one of the tendons is torn due to an accident or repetitive use. This injury can be extremely painful and can severely limit your ability to move your arm and shoulder.

Symptoms of Rotator Cuff Tears

The following symptoms may indicate you have suffered a rotator cuff tear: 

  • Severe and/or sudden pain in the shoulder’s top or outer sides
  • Limited range of motion
  • Inability to raise arm above head
  • Muscle weakness
  • Pain that radiates down your arm
  • Swelling
  • Overall weakness in the shoulder
  • Popping or clicking when the shoulder moves
  • Sleep difficulties when pressure is placed on the shoulder
  • Pain in the neck or upper back

Rotator cuff tears are diagnosed by a physical examination of the shoulder and imaging, such as an X-ray or ultrasound. Seeing a doctor right away after a car accident will ensure your rotator cuff tear is accurately diagnosed.

Your doctor will also gather your past medical history to determine that your shoulder was in healthy condition prior to the accident. The medical documentation of the injury gathered during this visit will also be important in proving that your injury was caused by the accident and not an underlying condition.

Treating Rotator Cuff Tears

Rotator cuff tears range in severity, and the type of treatment depends on the location, size and depth of the tear. Small or mild tears may only require resting the shoulder, physical therapy, topical medications and/or corticosteroid injections for temporary pain reduction.

Larger tears or those that do not improve with other treatment may require surgery. Options may include: 

  • Open repair – An open surgery where bone spurs are removed and the muscles and tendons are manipulated for correction.
  • Mini-open repair – A smaller variation of the open repair, requiring a smaller incision.
  • All-arthroscopic repair – A surgery performed with a mini camera inserted into the joint. Micro-surgical tools are used to perform the repair.

How Do Car Accidents Cause Rotator Cuff Tears?

All kinds of car accidents can cause rotator cuff tears, but they are frequently seen in rear-end collisions. In a rear-end accident, you may see it coming by looking in your rearview mirror or hearing tires squealing behind you.

When you are expecting an impact, you are likely to brace yourself, putting the shoulder in an unrelaxed position. When these muscles are tense like this, the shoulder absorbs the force during the impact – which can easily cause a rotator cuff tear.

How an Attorney Can Help with Rotator Cuff Claims

Because rotator cuff tears are commonly associated with degenerative conditions, sports injuries or normal repetitive use, insurance companies typically deny these claims when the injury resulted from a car accident. Proving that a car accident caused a rotator cuff tear can be difficult. If you were diagnosed with a rotator cuff tear after an accident but did not experience symptoms before the crash happened, it is likely your injury was caused by the collision.

Working with a skilled personal injury lawyer will improve your chances of successfully recovering compensation for your injury. An attorney knows how to support the claim that your injury stems from the accident and not from another cause, and negotiate a fair settlement that compensates you for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages experienced due to the rotator cuff tear.

Get Help for Your Injuries Now

The attorneys at the Arnold Law Firm are experienced in helping clients who have suffered rotator cuff tears in auto collisions. We will investigate your claim to find evidence that shows your injury was caused by the accident and that the at-fault driver is responsible for the damages you have suffered.

Request a free, no obligation consultation today and learn the legal options available for pursuing compensation. If you choose to pursue legal action with our firm, there are no upfront fees. We get paid if we are able to help you recover compensation for your injuries.

Call (916) 777-7777 or complete our Free Case Evaluation form now.