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Common Shoulder Injuries Caused by Car Accidents

Women holding her shoulder in the car because of pain from a shoulder sprain

The shoulder is a complex joint that is critical for the full function of your arms. As a result, any shoulder injury has the potential to be painful and debilitating. In a car accident, you are at risk of suffering a shoulder injury due to the force of impact. If not addressed promptly, a shoulder injury from a crash can worsen and cause more pain and long-term problems. Treating such an injury can also be costly, especially if you need surgery or are forced to miss work.

Crash victims have recourse through the civil justice system, but recovering full compensation can be challenging when dealing with an insurance company that cares more about protecting profits than making you whole again. That's when having an experienced car accident attorney represent your best interests can make a meaningful difference in the outcome of your case.

Common types of shoulder injuries

Many aspects of a car accident can lead to a shoulder injury. For example, when the accident's impact forces your body to be jerked abruptly, your shoulder can be damaged from impact with the steering wheel, seatbelt, airbag, center console, or even debris. Shoulder strains, sprains, fractures, rotator cuff injuries, and dislocated shoulders are among the most common shoulder injuries that occur in motor vehicle crashes.

Shoulder strains and sprains

A car accident causes the body to move and contort in unnatural ways. Consequently, it is common for the muscles around the shoulder to stretch and tear beyond their normal range of motion during a collision. This scenario happens if a force on the arm pulls it away from the shoulder. This can also cause a shoulder sprain, where the shoulder ligaments can tear and cause pain in the front part of the shoulder.


There are three major bones in the shoulder: the shoulder blade (scapula), collarbone (clavicle), and the upper arm bone (humerus). A direct blow to the shoulder can fracture any of these three bones. If the area is swollen, you feel pain in your shoulder, and you have a decreased range of motion, you may be suffering from a shoulder fracture.

Rotator Cuff

A rotator cuff tear is one of the most common shoulder injuries caused by a car accident. It's also one of the most painful and debilitating. The rotator cuff comprises a group of four muscles and two ligaments. These muscles and ligaments keep the upper arm bone in the shoulder socket. When the rotator cuff is damaged, depending on the severity of the injury, you may feel severe pain or a dull ache. Most injury victims will experience arm weakness and difficulty moving it. It is easy for a rotator cuff tear to worsen over time if not treated promptly. In many cases, rotator cuff surgery is required.

Dislocated shoulder

A shoulder dislocation means your upper arm bone completely pops out of the socket. As a result, you will most likely be unable to move your arm if you have a dislocated shoulder. Along with arm immobility, a shoulder dislocation often results in severe pain.

A car accident lawyer can help you move forward.

Sustaining a shoulder injury after a car accident can mean a long recovery process, expensive medical bills, and other losses. However, an experienced car accident attorney can investigate your accident, gather evidence, build a strong case, and fight to get you the compensation you deserve for your shoulder injury.

At the Law Office of Edward C. Gill, P.A., we have been fighting for crash victims in Sussex County, Delaware, since 1983. We're known for treating our clients like family, and we look forward to seeing how we can put our experience to work for you.

To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer from our Georgetown, Delaware law office. We proudly serve clients throughout Delaware and would be honored to talk to you about your potential legal case.

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