When doctors refer to your rotator cuff, they are speaking about the various muscles and tendons in your shoulder that work to not only keep your humerus bone (upper arm) locked into your shoulder socket, but also allow your arm to maintain a full range of motion.
Four different muscles make up the rotator cuff:
- Teres Minor
The complicated anatomy that makes up the rotator cuff, the sheer range of motion it allows, and how much we rely on our arms during our daily life mean rotator cuff injuries take an immediate negative toll on the quality of our life.
Can You Injure Your Rotator Cuff in a Car Accident
Car accidents are a common reason why so many people seek medical attention for injured rotator cuffs. The only injury that’s more common than rotator cuff problems following a car accident is whiplash.
Surprisingly, the very item you’re required to use because it significantly reduces catastrophic injuries and even deaths during car accidents is also the cause of most rotator cuff injuries. It’s your seatbelt. During a car accident, the strap tightens sharply against your humerus, forcing the bone back at an awkward angle. This leads to a medical condition called impingement syndrome.
“Impingement syndrome describes a condition in which the tendons of the rotator cuff of the shoulder are pinched as they pass between the top of the upper arm (humerus) and the tip of the shoulder (acromion). The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and bones that share a common tendon. On one end, the muscles are attached at different places on the shoulder blade; on the other, they attach to the upper end of the arm bone.”-Cedars Sinai
Diagnosing Rotator Cuff Injuries
Just because your shoulder is stiff and/or sore following a car accident, it doesn’t always mean you have a rotator cuff injury. The only accurate way to determine that your rotator cuff was damaged is to have your doctor complete a physical exam. Based on the facts surrounding the car accident, your medical history, and the results of their exam, they’ll order an MRI or x-ray so they can get an accurate assessment of the injury.
Treatment for Rotator Cuff Injuries
The exact treatment for a rotator cuff injury that was sustained in a car accident depends on the severity of the injury. When the injury is mild, most doctors prefer to pursue a nonsurgical treatment process that can involve steroids, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy. You will also likely receive a list of activities that you shouldn’t do while you wait for your rotator cuff to heal. It’s likely that your restrictions will make it difficult to complete household chores and may even make it impossible for you to work until you’ve completely healed.
If you suffered a severe rotator cuff injury during a car accident, you’ll probably require arthroscopic surgery to correct the problem.
Will you Fully Recover From a Rotator Cuff Injury
The general rule of thumb is that it usually takes between six to eight weeks to recover from rotator cuff surgery, but that can vary based on the size of the rotator cuff tear, your age and general health, and the type of activity you do regularly. If the rotator cuff is severely damaged, it could take as long as 12 months before you are fully healed. While there are some exceptions, most patients recover their full range of motion and strength following rotator cuff surgery.
Can You File a Personal Injury Claim for a Rotator Cuff Injury that was Sustained During a Car Accident
If you’re wondering if you can file a personal injury claim for a rotator cuff that was injured in a car accident, the answer is yes. Unless you suffered from additional injuries, you probably won’t get a large settlement, but you can ask to be reimbursed for medical expenses connected to your rotator cuff, any wages you lost because your injury made it impossible for you to work, and any expenses you incurred because you were injured, such as housekeeping/pet walking/lawn maintenance, etc. Reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney today to have your case evaluated.
Contact a Trustworthy Washington Personal Injury Lawyer Today
While you’re legally allowed to file a personal injury claim after you sustain a rotator cuff injury during a car accident, it’s also possible you’ll get some pushback from the insurance company, which is why it’s a good idea to seek out the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer from Hess Law Office, PLLC. Your lawyer will help you figure out what expenses you’ve incurred as a result of your injury, calculate a fair settlement, and negotiate with the insurance company.
The best thing about having a good Hess Law Office, PLLC personal injury attorney in your corner is that you’re free to sit back and let your lawyer handle everything so you can concentrate on healing.