Justia Badge
Brown Alumnus
American Association for Justice
Rhode Island Association for Justice
TNTL Top 100 Trial Lawyers
Avvo Ratong 10.0

Shoulder Injuries from Car Accidents

Contact a RI Injury Lawyer if You Suffer a Shoulder Injury in an Accident

A serious shoulder injury can greatly impair a person’s mobility, capacity to work, and ability to enjoy the same quality of life they did prior to getting hurt. If you suffered a shoulder injury in a car accident, on the job accident, slip and fall, or other type of accident including a medical mistake, it’s essential to contact a well-qualified Rhode Island personal injury lawyer to protect your legal rights and recoup the costs of your medical bills and other expenses. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that medical expenses for the average non-surgical shoulder injury are over $20,000 per year, with more severe shoulder injuries that require surgery costing more than $75,000. Particularly after a car accident, many shoulder injury victims are not only in severe pain, but are suddenly left with devastating medical expenses to treat an injury that wasn’t their fault.  If you find yourself with a shoulder injury after a serious car accident, seeking proper legal representation is vital to recover compensation for your losses. In addition to hospital bills and medical expenses, you may also be eligible to receive compensation for lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, and pain and suffering caused by the injury. With over 20 years of experience, Rhode Island Personal Injury Lawyer David Tapalian has helped countless shoulder injury victims in RI and MA seek damages after they are hurt and will take any steps necessary to get you the justice you deserve.

Seek Immediate Medical Treatment for a Shoulder Injury

Shoulder injuries are one of the most common types of injury sustained in a car accident due to the joint’s complex anatomy. Pain should not be ignored- it’s a warning sign that something is wrong and, left untreated, could have detrimental effects on your health. These types of injuries are not only frequent, but among the most painful because of the many joints, tendons, and ligaments that can be easily hurt from the impact of a car collision. Although some shoulder injury symptoms don’t show up right away, you should always seek medical attention immediately after an accident whether your pain is minor or severe. Oftentimes, victims are hesitant to treat their injuries after an accident, and in doing so not only hurt their health and prolong their recovery, but delaying medical treatment can actually hurt your personal injury case. You can’t have a successful personal injury case without proof of an injury, and at the end of the case, your settlement compensation will largely be based upon the extent of your medical treatment.

Common Shoulder Injuries from Car Accidents

As a Rhode Island personal injury lawyer, David Tapalian has seen hundreds of car accident clients in RI with incredibly varying shoulder injuries. Some of the most common shoulder injuries that car accident victims suffer are:

  • Shoulder tears
    • In a hit-from-side accident, this type of injury is especially prominent because the impact can directly hit you, causing a jerking motion of your shoulder. This awkward twerking motion can put a serious strain on your entire shoulder and the force of the impact can cause tears.
    • Shoulder tears vary greatly in terms of their severity. Some may only require a few weeks of physical therapy, while others can require surgical procedures or ongoing treatment.
    • Two different grades of tears due to trauma are a partial tear or a complete tear. A partial tear is just as it sounds- the tendon is damaged, but not severed.  These may heal with physical therapy in time.  A complete tear is significant and often results in a detachment of the tendon.
  • Shoulder rotator cuff injuries
    • The shoulder rotator cuff consists of the muscles and tendons in your shoulder.  Symptoms of a rotator cuff injury can be any associated pain and discomfort throughout the shoulder region.  Rotator cuff injuries can also manifest themselves in general weakness throughout the arm.  Cracking or popping sensations can also be positive for significant rotator cuff injury.  Even pain while resting is a significant sign that something is drastically wrong with this region of the shoulder.
    • Rear-end accidents are the most common causes of rotator cuff injuries because victims frequently turn their heads when they see a speeding car coming behind them, and often anticipate a hit because they cannot move out of the way. They can tense up and put the shoulder in an unrelaxed state at the point of impact, forcing their shoulder to absorb the force of the hit. 
    • Personal Injury Attorney David Tapalian has worked with RI shoulder injury victims whose rotator cuff injury symptoms did not resonate for a few days after the auto accident. Even if you feel fine directly after a collision, downplaying your eventual pain may be detrimental to your rotator cuff. 
    • These injuries frequently require surgery or more serious procedures, leading to extensive medical treatment for recovery. 
  • Shoulder fractures
    • Fractures can happen on your clavicle or humerus bone, and often require X-rays and CT scans to diagnose.
    • These injuries can have varying symptoms, most commonly extreme swelling and limited range of motion. 
    • Shoulder fracture injuries are often caused by directly hitting your shoulder against the car door at the moment of impact, especially from head-on collisions, where the force of another car impacts your body head-on.

Shoulder Injury Treatment Options

Depending upon the severity of your injury, rest and anti-inflammatory medication are often the first steps in treatment that your medical provider will advise.  Personal Injury Attorney David Tapalian has encountered a wide variety treatment options for Rhode Island shoulder injuries. A competent orthopedic physician will guide you through all of the potential treatment remedies. Once the acute pain subsides, clients often engage physical therapy.  At any stage in this process, X-ray and MRI imaging is a good idea to determine the extent of your shoulder injury.  Depending upon what is discovered through your MRI, a medical doctor may recommend a steroid injection.  Though these injections do not normally heal a shoulder injury, they can ameliorate the pain.  A final option is various shoulder surgeries.  If your shoulder was injured and has not improved within a reasonable amount of time, seeking orthopedic intervention is a must.

Shoulder Surgery

There are a variety of surgeries and techniques used to repair common shoulder injuries. Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorney Tapalian has had clients which required these procedures after getting hurt in a car accident. 

  • Arthroscopic for Impingement Syndrome: Impingement Syndrome is when tendons of your rotator cuff can be trapped during shoulder movement.  This syndrome can cause progressive damage to the bursa.  These symptoms can often be called rotator cuff bursitis.
  • Arthroscopic SLAP Repair: SLAP tears are quite common.  SLAP refers to superior labrum anterior and posterior.  Many people elect not to have surgery performed for a SLAP tear.  There is a significant recovery for this surgery and often physical therapy can have substantial results. 
  • Arthroscopic for Dislocation: A dislocated shoulder can be excruciatingly painful.  Shoulder dislocation occurs when the ball of the shoulder joint comes out of the shoulder socket.
  • Frozen Shoulder Arthroscopy:  This is also a very common type of shoulder injury.  This syndrome usually does not require surgery.  However, if the situation persists surgery is an option.
  • Rotator Cuff Surgery: Rotator cuff surgery is also very common. After all conservative treatment measures fail, surgical intervention can be used. RI Injury Attorney Tapalian has seen this type of procedure required quite often.  
  • Acromioclavicular Joint Surgery: This is referred to as an AC joint procedure.  If surgery is elected for this area, it can be a significant procedure that requires significant time to recover.
  • Bicep tendon repair: The bicep attaches directly to the shoulder joint.  This is a muscle that is used all the time and this is a common injury in auto accidents.  At the top of the muscle is a tendon called the long head of the bicep which attaches to the shoulder.  Due to the complexity of this physiology, it is a frequent site of injury.

What Am I Entitled to in a RI Shoulder Injury Claim?

Your shoulder injury settlement for a car accident depends most importantly on two things: the severity of your injuries and liability for the accident. As a highly respected and top-rated Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorney, David Tapalian will sit down with you to analyze your case, providing you with a rough estimate of what you may be entitled to for your personal injury claim.

Sometimes liability is not cut-and dry, and multiple parties are responsible for an accident. In Rhode Island, this requires the comparative fault rule to come into play.  In these situations, Tapalian Law can collect evidence and negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf to increase your settlement. Shoulder injuries that require car accident victims to have surgery, or require continuous, ongoing treatment, are almost always valued higher monetarily than soft tissue shoulder injuries that simply require short-term physical therapy. However, every case is unique and our RI personal injury law firm has helped some victims of soft tissue injuries obtain large settlements, even without a surgery.

Another factor that may affect your Rhode Island shoulder injury case, is your history of previous shoulder injuries. For example, if you are a recreational baseball player who had already suffered from shoulder injuries, the insurance companies may try to argue that your shoulder injury wasn’t caused by your car accident. In these situations, it is especially important to have strong legal representation like Attorney David Tapalian to prove that your car accident exacerbated your pre-existing issues.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer at Tapalian Law After Your Car Accident

If you have suffered a shoulder injury from a car accident, it may feel impossible to return to your normal, pre-accident life, because shoulder mobility is required for most basic tasks. A serious shoulder injury can even put you out of work, or seriously change your family and social life. Injury Attorney David Tapalian has helped thousands of car accident victims, and we know how difficult a serious shoulder injury can be for you and your family. Our dedicated team of legal experts will do whatever it takes to make your life a little easier throughout the process. We will meet for a free review of your situation and create a customized plan to strengthen your claim. Our skilled injury team will then guide you through the steps to receive the compensation you deserve. With our main office in downtown Providence, we offer a free consultation to anyone in the Rhode Island and Massachusetts area. If you are unable to travel to us because of your injuries, Car Accident Attorney Tapalian will visit you in your home or at the hospital. As with all personal injury claims in Rhode Island, there is a 3-year statute of limitations on filing a car accident claim, and the longer you wait, the harder it will become to receive compensation for your losses. Call the RI car accidents lawyers at Tapalian Law today at 401-552-5000 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.

Client Reviews
He took care of everything and kept me updated as well. It was such a smooth process and in the end I won my case. I would highly recommend David Tapalian! Patrice F.
When I contacted David Tapalian, Attorney & Counselor at Law, all my worries were immediately alleviated. He handled my case from beginning to end and kept me updated every step of the way. Susie M.
I visited David a couple of days after my accident and he gave me clear and concise details on what would happen throughout the process... David N.