Rotator cuff tears are not uncommon injuries in car accidents. They might occur if there is trauma to the shoulder joint during the accident, which tears one of the tendons that forms the rotator cuff. The injury requires treatment and even may keep the patient out of work during recovery, especially if his or her job involves strenuous activities or repetitive movements. In any event, accident victims can pursue compensation for their damages by filing a claim against at-fault drivers.
Overview of the Rotator Cuff & Symptoms of a Tear
The shoulder joint is made of a ball and socket. Four different tendons keep the upper arm bone (the humerus) in the socket. These tendons form the rotator cuff. When one of the tendons tears, it can cause pain and limit mobility.
Most patients experience pain with a rotator cuff injury, especially when moving the arm and when lying on the arm at night, notes the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). There may be a crackling sensation when moving the shoulder as well.
The pain can affect ability to perform normal tasks, especially when reaching to perform overhead tasks. So those who perform a lot of overhead tasks at work, like painters, for example, will be unable to perform those tasks after a tear.
Treating a Rotator Cuff Tear
For people suffering from rotator cuff tears, there are three different types of surgeries that can repair the injury, according to the AAOS. One is an open repair, in which the surgeon detaches the deltoid muscle to work on the rotator cuff tendons. Another surgical method allows surgeons to work on the rotator cuff arthroscopically using a small incision through which a tiny camera and mini instruments make repairs. There is also a mini-open surgery where the surgeon makes a 3-5 cm incision to make repairs to the joint.
But doctors first may try non-surgical treatments before opting for surgery. These might include rest, anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injections and lifestyle adjustments during the healing period. For people who perform overhead work for their jobs, this can present a problem because they will be unable to perform their job duties.
Recovering Compensation for Damages Related to a Rotator Cuff Injury
Being unable to work can lead to a lot of lost wages during the recovery period. Consequently, injured drivers can pursue compensation for wages they lose because their rotator cuff injury prevents them from working.
And, of course, any medical bills should be recoverable in a claim. If surgery is required, medical costs can be especially significant. Injured drivers should work with their attorney to figure out the full extent of their medical costs, both current and future.
Walker, Billingsley & Bair can help drivers in Des Moines recover fair compensation after a car accident for these and other damages related to their injuries. Contact our office at (888) 435-9886 to schedule a free consultation with a lawyer.