Unfortunately, there is no way to determine the average settlement for a torn rotator cuff because so many factors go into determining the financial value of one of these claims. Also, unlike court decisions, settlements are often kept private rather than announced and tracked publicly.
That doesn’t mean you are not without legal options if you suffered a fractured collarbone or another injury in a motor vehicle accident leading to a torn rotator cuff. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, nearly 2,000,000 Americans seek medical treatment every year for rotator cuff tears.
Recoverable Damages for a Rotator Cuff Tear
If someone else caused the accident that injured your shoulder, you might be able to pursue a claim for compensation against the at-fault party. The actual amount of money damages you might recover will depend on the unique circumstances of your case.
Here are a few examples of common categories of compensation injured people seek for torn rotator cuff injuries after a car accident:
- Lost income: If you did not get paid because your injuries prevented you from working during your convalescence, your lost wages can be a part of your money damages.
- Medical bills: People usually can recover the reasonable cost of the medical treatment they needed for their rotator cuff tear and other injuries.
- Pain and suffering: This category of money damages is in addition to the out-of-pocket losses of missed paychecks and healthcare expenses. Pain and suffering compensation refers to physical discomfort, emotional stress, and inconvenience.
There are several additional types of compensation a person might pursue after suffering a rotator cuff tear from a collision. Be sure to talk with your personal injury attorney about how the shoulder injury has impacted your life.
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Where the Rotator Cuff Is Located
The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles in the shoulder that hold your arm in your shoulder socket. The tendons of the rotator cuff make it possible for you to raise, lower, and rotate your arm.
How a Rotator Cuff Can Get Torn
A car accident injury to the shoulder or collarbone can detach a tendon from the humerus bone in the shoulder. If the tendon is not entirely separated from the bone, the person has a partial tear of the rotator cuff.
With a full-thickness tear, part of the tendon is detached from the bone. A full-thickness tear can be incomplete, involving a small part of the tendon, or a complete tear, which is, essentially, a hole in the tendon. An acute tear, the name for a tear from an injury as opposed to from degeneration, can happen with a wrist fracture, dislocated shoulder, or broken collarbone.
Symptoms of a Torn Rotator Cuff
A person who suffers an acute tear from a car accident will usually experience severe shoulder pain and weakness in the arm immediately, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Other symptoms include:
- Weakness in the shoulder makes it difficult to lift things.
- Your shoulder pain is worse at night or when resting the shoulder.
- You hear clicking or popping sounds when moving your arm in certain ways.
- It is difficult for you to raise your arm, and trying to do so is painful.
If you have any of these indications after a car accident in which you suffered an injury to your shoulder, collarbone, arm, or wrist, you will want to get a physical exam from your health care provider.
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Treatments for a Rotator Cuff Tear
Rotator cuff tears cannot heal on their own unless the patient undergoes surgical repair. If you are not a good candidate for surgery, there are non-surgical treatments that can decrease the pain and improve arm function for some patients, even though the improvement is not as complete as with surgical repair.
It often takes about a year for non-surgical treatments to show improvement. Non-surgical treatments include:
- Resting the shoulder and arm through the use of a sling, modified activities, and foregoing certain activities for a while.
- Physical therapy to make the shoulders stronger and more flexible.
- Controlling inflammation and discomfort by taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
- Having steroid injections to decrease swelling and lessen the pain.
People who undergo surgery could have the procedure performed on an outpatient basis or in a hospital, depending on the procedure needed. People often need to immobilize their arm for a month or two after surgical repair.
The patient could have improvement starting 4 to 6 months after surgery, but it can take a year to a year and a half for a full recovery. Depending on the size or age of the tear, a torn rotator cuff injury might not be repairable.
Contact Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers Today
Some people suffer chronic shoulder pain, weakness, and loss of function of the arm after a rotator cuff tear. If your torn rotator cuff was the result of an accident that was someone else’s fault, you might be able to seek compensation for your losses from the at-fault party.
Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers would be happy to talk to you at no charge. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.