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Can I make a personal injury claim for a torn rotator cuff after a car accident? Is that "severe" enough to warrant a personal injury case?
hesitate to make a car accident injury claim for “soft tissue” injuries,
treating them as less serious than broken bones and the like. But in
doing so, they only short-change themselves and reward an at-fault,
careless driver—you absolutely can make a personal injury claim for a
soft tissue injury. Let’s consider one particular kind of injury: a
rotator cuff injury.
Sometimes medical science names things properly—the name tells you
what it is. For example, take the rotator cuff: it is a “cuff” of soft
tissue (muscles and tendons) surrounding the shoulder that enable the
shoulder to rotate. Its role is mostly to keep the shoulder firmly—yet
flexibly—in place, so that other muscles can move the shoulder and arm.
If the rotator cuff is damaged or torn, then the shoulder will not be
adequately braced for movement. This in turn means loss of
function—potentially significant loss of function—in that arm. For
example, imagine trying to use a door if the hinges are not attached
firmly to the wall; that’s something like what happens with a rotator
cuff injury. There’s also pain involved—a lot of pain—since you have
torn muscles and tendons which are moved, stretched, jostled, etc. any
time you try to move the arm.
So you have loss of function and you have pain—that’s enough for a
personal injury claim. Potentially, you could recover the cost of
medical treatment (e.g. an operation to repair the cuff); lost
wages (if you can’t work); diminution of earning potential (if you can’t
work at the same job or as many hours in the future); physical therapy
and prescriptions; and pain and suffering (as compensation for enduring
pain and disability).
As you can see, the potential recovery can be quite large,
particularly if you needed extensive or lengthy medical care and/or
missed weeks or months of work. If you’ve suffered a rotator cuff
injury, take it as seriously as it deserves—and get an attorney to help
you get the compensation which you deserve.