When a car crash occurs in California, it is likely that the occupants of the vehicles involved will suffer some sort of injury, no matter how minor or severe the crash is. Injuries to the upper body area, such as the shoulder, are common because these areas are not well protected. In collisions, some common types of shoulder injuries include dislocations, fractures, whiplash and torn rotator cuffs.
Shoulder dislocations are common injuries that occur in car crashes. These types of injuries happen when a person's body becomes forcefully twisted. Shoulder dislocations usually occur when the arm is above the shoulder level when a sudden force occurs, causing the humerus to twist out of the shoulder socket. A person who suffered a shoulder dislocation may have the sensation that their arm is "dead," and they may be unable to move the arm or joint area.
When a fracture, or a break, occurs in the shoulder area, the injury most often includes the clavicle and the humerus. Fractures in the shoulder can occur as a result of a car accident if a person is struck by heavy debris or if they strike the dashboard or windshield. While the clavicle and upper humerus are more likely to break, high-energy trauma to the chest could cause a person's scapula to suffer a fracture. Fractures are often accompanied by severe bruising in the area, pain and swelling.
Whiplash is especially common in rear-end accidents, and while you may typically associate whiplash with neck pain, it can also cause shoulder pain. This occurs when the force of the impact forces your head forward and then backward, causing soreness or even muscle tears to the sensitive muscles around the base of your neck and into your shoulders.
The rotator cuff is a group of muscles that attach your humerus to your shoulder blade. These muscles are used to lift and rotate your arm. Any injury to this muscle group can severely restrict your range of motion and also cause extensive pain. If you experience consistent pain when trying to lift or rotate your arm or shoulder, you may have suffered a rotator cuff injury in your car accident. These types of injuries can sometimes require extensive surgery to repair the damage.
Severe shoulder injuries could result in expensive medical bills and long recovery periods. If a person suffered a shoulder fracture, dislocation or torn rotator cuff in a car crash that they were not liable for, a personal injury attorney may assist with gathering the evidence that demonstrated that the injured person did not cause the crash. Additionally, they may help with estimating the total amount in damages the injured person sustained, including the cost of medical expenses and loss of income.