If you injured your rotator cuff in an accident, you may be wondering what type of verdict or settlement you can expect. There’s no formula to tell you exactly what your case is worth. Every case is different. But there are certain factors attorneys and insurance companies consider in evaluating the value of a case, including:
- Whether the accident was obviously caused by the other person/business or whether there’s a dispute about who’s at fault
- Whether the injury was clearly caused by the accident or whether there’s a dispute about what caused the injury
- The amount of medical bills from the injury
- Amount of lost income because of the injury
- The length of your recovery
- How well you’ve recovered from your injury, i.e., are you back at 100% or do you still have problems
- The county where the lawsuit will be filed
We Get Proven Results
Our firm has successfully represented many clients with rotator cuff injuries. Read about some of the cases below.
What is a rotator cuff?
A rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surrounds the shoulder. Its purpose is to support the arm bone within the shoulder socket/joint.
We use our shoulders more than we realize. Without a rotator cuff, we wouldn’t be able to lift our arms over our heads to get dressed, play sports, or climb. When a rotator cuff is injured or torn, these tasks can be next to impossible. It’s also very painful to perform everyday tasks like opening a jar or reaching to get something off a shelf.
Typically, a rotator cuff injury involves a tear or strain of the muscles, tendons, or joint capsule. The tendons, which are bands of tissue within the rotator cuff that connect muscles to the bones, are susceptible to injuries from over use, falls, and vehicle accidents.
Types of Rotator Cuff Injuries
Impingement typically occurs from overuse. Athletes, mechanics, or construction workers are more prone to shoulder impingement injuries. Impingement is considered a chronic condition and symptoms can last up to six weeks or longer.
Over time, impingement can lead to tendinitis, which is when the tendons within the rotator cuff become inflamed.
Bursitis is when the bursae, which are small fluid-filled sacs that cushion the bones, muscles, and tendons become inflamed. Bursitis is caused by overuse or acute injury.
Strains or Tears
Strains and tears of the muscles or tendons in the rotator cuff can be caused by overuse or accidents such as a fall or vehicle accident. The tendons and muscles can be stretched or torn partially or completely.
Causes of Torn Rotator Cuff Injuries
There are many potential causes of a rotator cuff injury. Some are from acute injuries while others are from overuse. Below is a list of potential causes.
- Vehicle accidents
- Lifting heavy objects
- Jerking the arm abruptly
- Physical abuse
- Boating accidents
- Overuse or repetitive movement in work or sports such as tennis, baseball, rock climbing, or swimming
- Old age (bone spurs can develop and cause impingement and tears)
Signs and Symptoms of a Rotator Cuff Injury
The most common symptom associated with a rotator cuff injury is pain. You may have pain when trying to lift or lower the arm on the affected shoulder. Other signs include:
- Pain while resting or sleeping
- Pain while trying to move your shoulder or arm in certain positions
- Pain while lifting or carrying heavy objects
- Muscle weakness
- A cracking noise in the joint when you move your arm or shoulder a certain way
- Pain after a car accident or fall
- Pain that radiates down the affected arm
- Pain when trying to conduct everyday tasks such as washing your hair or putting on clothes
Treatment for a Rotator Cuff Injury
Depending on the severity of the rotator cuff injury, there are multiple treatment options. If you have a tear and don’t seek treatment, the tear can get worse over time, so it’s important to seek a doctor’s opinion immediately, especially if you’ve been in a vehicle accident that causes severe, acute pain in your shoulder or arm.
Some people choose the route of surgery while others try other means first. Either way, the goal is to reduce the pain and inflammation and completely restore function of the rotator cuff.
Here’s a few options your doctor might suggest:
- Rest from specific activities or sports
- Avoidance of lifting or carrying heavy objects
- Using a sling or other medical device to rest the shoulder
- Physical therapy
- Strengthening exercises
- Steroid injections
- Surgery to repair a stretched or torn tendon or muscle
How long does it take for a torn rotator cuff to heal?
Recovery is dependent on varying factors. How long you waited to seek treatment, how severe the injury is, where the injury is located within the rotator cuff, and the treatment route you choose to take can all affect the length of time it takes for complete healing. Surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff typically involves re-attaching the tendon to the upper arm bone. A complete tear requires stitching the tendon while a partial tear may only need a debridement, which is when the surgeon removes unhealthy tissue to promote healing.
Most rotator cuff injuries heal in about 6 months if proper steps are taken immediately following an accident or injury. When there’s larger tears involved, approximately 6 in 10 patients don’t heal properly, even with surgery, never recovering full range of motion. It’s even more difficult for people 60-years-old or older.
Bursitis or tendonitis can take anywhere from 3-6 months to heal, even with steroid treatments and physical therapy.
Should I Contact a Lawyer about my Torn Rotator Cuff Injury?
Rotator cuff injuries can be very serious and debilitating since we use our shoulders for so many different tasks each day. If your rotator cuff was injured in an accident, it’s important to seek medical treatment and contact a personal injury attorney who can help you navigate the legal system. Our experienced personal injury attorneys can help you determine whether your injury will require ongoing medical treatment and assist you in recovering damages, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering caused by someone else’s negligence. We have offices in Athens, Atlanta, and Lake Oconee and there is no fee unless we win your case. Contact us today for a free case evaluation by filling out the form below or calling us at (706) 354-4000.