April 18, 2022

What Does Shoulder Pain after a Car Accident Indicate?

shoulder pain

Your shoulders could be especially vulnerable to injuries caused by a car accident. The often violent and jarring nature of a car collision could cause a variety of shoulder injuries that are very painful.

If you are driving, the steering wheel, dash, and even the seat belt shoulder harness could endanger one or both shoulders. An airbag deployment might help to lessen the blow, but it also could dislocate one or both shoulders. A shoulder injury could occur in many ways.

It is possible for the injury to be latent or delayed because of shock from the accident. Pain from more obvious injuries might mask your shoulder pain for a while. But an injured shoulder always shows itself sooner or later.

Common Causes of Shoulder Pain after a Car Accident

The following are some of the more commonly encountered causes of shoulder pain following a car accident.

Fractured scapula. There is a large bone configured in a triangular shape in the shoulder that is called the scapula. It more commonly is referred to as the shoulder blade and is the largest bone in your shoulder. It is hard to break, but a car accident is capable of fracturing the scapula and causing a lot of pain.

Rotator cuff tear. The rotator cuff connects four different muscles to the scapula and enables you to lift heavy objects and rotate your arm. A torn rotator cuff is a soft tissue injury that can be extremely painful when moving your arm in a way that causes it to rotate in the shoulder.

Shoulder dislocation. A car accident easily could dislocate the shoulder joint and cause extensive soft tissue damage. A fully or partially dislocated shoulder might require surgery to completely heal. Some shoulder dislocations lead to chronic shoulder pain that generally does not go away unless treated properly.

Whiplash. Whiplash happens when you are struck from the side or behind. The force of the blow causes your head to violently bounce or jerk around.

When that happens, the neck acts like a whip, unleashing the energy placed into it. That causes a lot of soft tissue damage that swells up, restricts movement, and causes a lot of pain.

Most whiplash injuries mostly heal after a couple of days. But extreme cases could take much longer to heal and could require physical therapy or other medical care.

Broken collarbone. The clavicle is more popularly known as the collarbone and could break during a car accident. It connects the shoulder blade to the sternum and is what gives the shoulder a more squared configuration.

It is a long, thin bone that many people break, including during car accidents. A broken collarbone can be very painful and make your shoulder hurt. Surgery might be required to fix it properly.

Common Symptoms of Shoulder Injuries

Pain in the shoulder area after a car accident does not necessarily mean you have suffered a serious injury. However, it certainly is a sign of soft tissue damage, which is relatively common.

General soreness and body aches are common side effects of car accidents and could make your shoulder hurt for a few days. When the pain is especially bad or occurs when moving your arm or body in a particular way, you might have something worse.

For example, a torn rotator cuff could make it difficult to lift or rotate the same arm without experiencing a lot of pain. A dislocated shoulder could cause a lot of pain if you try to sleep on the same side as the injured shoulder. In addition, virtually any shoulder injury could lessen your ability to lift heavier weights and even hurt while driving.

Orthopedic Specialists Often Treat Shoulder Injuries

Whenever you feel any ongoing shoulder pain, it is best to have a doctor examine your ailing shoulder. If your shoulder immediately hurt following the accident, you should have gone to either the emergency room right away or your doctor the next day if possible.

Your doctor could use a variety of diagnostic tools, including MRI scans and X-rays, to confirm a shoulder injury. If the injury is bad enough, you likely would need to obtain treatment from an orthopedic surgeon.

The cost of a specialist can be very high. But it might be the only way to fully restore your shoulder’s strength and range of motion without pain. Health insurance and possibly an auto insurance claim could cover those costs and enable you to return to good health.

How to File Shoulder Injury Claims?

Whenever someone causes an accident that injures an accident survivor’s shoulder or any other part of the body, that driver is liable for damages. The vehicle should have insurance coverage to protect others against damages from bodily injuries. If you have no-fault auto insurance, your auto insurer might pay the cost.

Filing a claim requires doing more than just photocopying your medical bills and presenting them in a claim. You also need to file claims for any lost wages from missed work and other damages.

Most shoulder injuries require physical therapy for at least a couple of months. The pain and suffering that you endure are subject to insurance or legal claims. Also, if a shoulder injury stops you from participating in activities that you regularly enjoyed prior to the accident, you could be compensated for it.

An experienced car accident lawyer is the best resource for helping you to build a strong case and obtaining the evidence needed to file claims for damages. Your lawyer can handle all insurer inquiries and prepare a lawsuit if needed to press your claims in court.

Norristown Car Accident Lawyers at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C., Help to Hold Bad Drivers Accountable

If you suffered a shoulder injury in a car accident, the experienced Norristown car accident lawyers at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C., can help you to present strong claims for damages. We will investigate the cause of the accident and fight to secure the compensation for which you are entitled. Call us at 267-861-7100 or visit our website to set up a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia and King of Prussia, we serve clients in Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Delaware County, Bucks County, Chester County, and Norristown.