There are a variety of shoulder injuries that could leave an individual with chronic pain and limited movement of that part of the body after being in an auto accident. A victim may suffer a broken clavicle or scapula or a dislocation of the shoulder joint. Soft tissue injuries such as rotator cuff tears are also commonly reported by patients who have been in a crash
A shoulder may become dislocated when the arm is forcefully twisted in an unnatural motion. Posterior dislocations may occur if an individual suffers from a seizure or muscle spasms, which may cause the muscles to tighten up unexpectedly. While fractures of the clavicle are common in a car accident, a fracture to the scapula only occurs in high speed crashes as it is protected by the chest and other muscles.
Clavicle or shoulder fractures can generally be treated without the need for surgery. The area of the fracture is immobilized in a sling for a period of several weeks in combination with ice and other pain medication. Surgery may be needed in the event of a compound fracture or if there is damage to the shoulder joint itself in addition to the fracture. Mild shoulder strains or separations are also treated without surgery.
Anyone who suffers a shoulder injury or any other type of injury in a car crash may wish to take legal action against the driver whose negligence caused the accident. Recoverable damages could include the costs of necessary medical care and treatment as well as compensation for income that was lost due to an inability to return to work for an extended period of time.
Source: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, “Shoulder Trauma (Fractures and Dislocations)”, accessed on Feb. 9, 2015