Portland Personal Injury: Shoulder Pain After a Car Accident

The shoulder is one of the most complex areas of the body. Bones, ligaments, tendons, soft tissues, cartilage and a large joint area all make up the shoulder, making it an extremely vulnerable region susceptible to injury in a car crash. Portland personal injury lawyers see all types of shoulder injuries, some more debilitating than others. It’s an area where clients often ask:

Can I get compensation for shoulder pain after a car accident? The short answer is “yes,” depending, of course, on a number of factors. Working with an injury lawyer with experience in shoulder injuries can increase your chances for compensation and correct medical treatment. A good personal injury lawyer will help you find a good doctor, chiropractor, physical therapist, etc. for your pain.

My shoulder did not hurt until the day after the car accident. Is that normal? 

If anything is common about people who experience shoulder pain after a car accident, it’s that there’s nothing common about any two injuries. They vary from person to person and accident to accident. Many people describe severe pain in the shoulder immediately after a car crash. Others, however, feel little or nothing for several hours after the collision, particularly if the damage is to the soft tissues. In such cases, while the pain may not be immediately evident, once it flares, it can be excruciating.

Fractures, Tears, and Whiplash

With so many components making up the human shoulder, it’s not surprising to see the huge variation in injuries that can be caused to a single joint. If someone is experiencing shoulder pain after a car accident, any of the following injuries may be present:

  • Any one of the three bones that comprise the shoulder joint may be fractured.
  • The shoulder may be separated. This occurs when the collarbone and shoulder blade separate and can be incredibly painful.
  • If the rotator cuff tendon gets trapped under the end of the collarbone (known as the acromion), the tendon will become inflamed and very sore.
  • A large amount of cartilage is present in the shoulder area, acting as a shock absorber between the joint and surrounding bones. When a tear occurs in the cartilage that separates the cartilage from the bone of the joint, this is known as a SLAP tear.
  • Four muscles are included in the shoulder. If they tear, this would be referred to as a rotator cuff tear.
  • Other injuries sustained in car crashes can lead to pain radiating out to the shoulder area. Trauma to the chest or back, or a whiplash injury can all lead to severe pain in the shoulder area.

 The insurance company says there’s nothing wrong with my shoulder, but it hurts. 

It’s true that insurance companies frequently deny claims for shoulder injuries in Oregon, and this is where the assistance of one of the competent and experienced Portland personal injury lawyers becomes invaluable. The insurers will argue that shoulder pain diminishes after a period of time, or that it may have been made worse by a pre-existing condition, such as an underlying disease or health condition, or an old injury that has made the new shoulder injury look and feel worse than would otherwise have been the case. As such, settlement offers are frequently much lower than would normally be expected, and car crash victims who haven’t used the services of a personal injury lawyer have found themselves frustrated and left to cover the costs of ongoing physical therapy themselves. In truth, all of these insurance company arguments can be dealt with and handled by an experienced attorney.

Shoulder injuries are varied, complex and in many cases incredibly painful. They can leave the sufferer with long term negative effects in terms of decreased mobility, weakness of the joint and the increased possibility of further damage to the weakened area. Portland personal injury lawyers can and will argue on behalf of anyone who has been involved in a car accident and has experienced a shoulder injury. If you’re the victim of such an injury, the first thing you should do is get the medical assistance you need. Then contact a reputable personal injury attorney, who will clearly explain all your options.