Personal injury claim for a torn rotator cuff after a car accident?

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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?


People often 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.

What is the Rotator Cuff?

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.

Effect of Rotator Cuff Injury

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.

Money You can Recover For

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.