Unfortunately, some injuries are very common occurrences in automobile accidents.
One common type of injury resulting from an automobile accident is in the rotator cuff. These tend to arise in three ways: (1) tendinitis; (2) bursitis; and (3) strains or tears. However, the most common in an auto accident is a tear or strain due to the sudden and traumatic nature of the accident. Often times an injured party involved in an accident will tense up at the moment of impact causing the shoulder area to absorb a large amount of energy. This creates the possibility of a serious shoulder injury.
One potentially problematic issue with rotator cuff tears is that they also arise from general wear and tear from life. For instance, workers who use their shoulders repeatedly can develop degenerative rotator cuff injuries. Also, this injuries are common in athletes as well. Because of this, insurance carriers will often argue that injury preceded the auto accident. That is, the injured party had the rotator cuff condition before the car accident.
If you are involved in an auto accident, there are a few symptoms that should immediately alert you that you might have suffered a serious shoulder injury. First, immediate swelling in the shoulder area is often a strong indicator of a rotator cuff injury. Furthermore, radiating pain in the shoulder down the arm or side could be indicative of a rotator cuff tear. Finally, a decreased range of motion in the shoulder should serve to alert you of a possible tear or strain.
If any of these symptoms arise it is imperative to visit a doctor immediately. There, a doctor will likely perform a physical examination and take x-rays of the area to confirm a strain or tear.
The level of severity can vary widely in rotator cuff injuries. A minor strain may only require some physical therapy, rest, or a few injections. A more serious tear could require an open repair, a mini-open repair, or an arthroscopic repair. Which procedure is used will vary based on the severity of the injury but they can be invasive and costly.
Any shoulder injury resulting from a car accident should be treated very carefully. It is important to be consistent in your statements to insurance companies and physicians as the most common defense to this type of injury is that it was pre-existing. Retaining an attorney in these types of situations alleviates much of the burden placed on the injured party and allows them to focus on healing, rather than battling insurance companies over their medical history.