Can Bursitis be Caused by a Car Accident?

Posted on: August 2, 2021

Professional athletes train hard and maintain their conditioning to compete at the highest levels. Fans watch them and marvel at the things they can do. What people may not know or remember about professional athletes is that they all have suffered from bursitis at some point in their careers.

Bursitis, most commonly a repetitive motion injury from stress and use, affects the small fluid-filled sacs that cushion bones, tendons, and muscles near a joint. These sacs become inflamed. It is painful because of the inflammation and body’s response.

It does not afflict only athletes. If someone has a job or hobby with repetitive motions or an underlying condition such as diabetes, they can develop bursitis. For the overweight, there are risks for bursitis to the hips or knee.

Bursitis can also result from a traumatic injury that compresses any of the over 150 bursa sacs in the body, such as in a car accident. Once a bursa is impacted and inflammation begins, this causes a pain-sensitive chemical reaction in the bursa, making any friction in the sac more painful.

Those suffering from bursitis can find normal activities hard to complete because of pain and limited motion. In a car accident, when the injury’s symptoms appear, the victim should contact a lawyer specializing in preparing claims to recovery for car accident injuries and successfully obtaining every legal remedy for that victim.

Bursitis and Car Accident Injuries

Vehicle accidents, usually involving a passenger car, commonly result in identifiable injuries to knees, shoulders, and other body parts. Car accidents are often violent and sudden, not allowing anyone time to brace for the crash. Cars are now safer and equipped with inflatable safety bags and curtains and seat belts with a shoulder harness.

But with different types and levels of safety equipment in cars, drivers and passengers can suffer accident injuries from minor to major. Some injuries have delayed symptoms and can be harder to first diagnose.

Obvious injuries are broken bones or cuts or disfigurement.

Bursitis is a reddish swelling that may not be visible. The victim can experience stiffness, some pain, or swelling at first and in the following days or months suffer the pain. Bursitis symptoms can lead to a diagnosis of another physical condition, such as arthritis or tendinitis.

The knees and shoulders are some of the common injured body parts in a car accident.

Knees.  Even with air bags and padded dashboards, knees can be injured in a crash. A driver who literally jams on the brakes can forcibly compress their knee bones and be hurt.

Shoulders. With only one shoulder strap in the harness, both shoulders are at risk of injury in a car accident. The lack of a second strap to the harness can result in the force of the accident being centered on the free shoulder. In a twisting motion, one or both shoulders can be injured. And with the bones, the bursae can be injured.

Immediate symptoms of bursitis include swelling and achiness or stiffness at the joint. Pain in the general area is another symptom.

As a result, one can suffer the inability of free joint motion and increased pain when placing the joint in one position too long.

Since these symptoms can be confused with signs of another type of injury or physical condition, a proper diagnosis is important.

Victims should go to a doctor and get the proper diagnosis for the pain. The doctor may need a blood test or an X-ray or an MRI to eliminate or confirm a diagnosis.

Hip bursitis is another injury from a car accident or repetitive motions. The hip is a joint with two major bursae to cushion the hip bones.

If an accident victim experiences pain and suffering in and of their joints at any point after the accident, the time has come to see a doctor and also document the pain from bursitis with the accident itself. This documentation includes visits to medical providers, diagnostic tests, medications, lost time from work, restrictions on activities, and recording the level of pain associated with the bursitis.

If the victim has an underlying condition such as diabetes, if the pain is new, there is every possibility this is bursitis from the accident and not the underlying condition. Also, the injury from the accident can amplify any preexisting bursitis and make it worse.

Treatment of Bursitis

Bursitis as a medical condition is treatable by a doctor or a physical therapist.

In sports injuries, treatment by a physiatrist can involve acupuncture or electrotherapy and messages.

Generally, bursitis treatment involves rest, icing, pain medication, and antibiotics if there is any sign of infection. A victim may lose time at work and have restrictions on normal activities.

Medical treatments beyond rest, icing, and medication include physical therapy or corticosteroid injections to manage pain and inflammation; if all else fails, surgical intervention to drain the bursa, in a medical office or out-patient facility, or actual removal of the bursa may be required.

As the victim recovers, they may need assistive devices if the knee or hip is affected or, in serious cases, a home health care aide. Bursitis can be debilitating.

There is always a chance of complications with bursitis. Complications can mean later degenerative diseases. Not including infection in the bursa, there are other complications.

If the pain persists, this can be chronic pain from a permanent thickening or enlargement of the bursa. This complication can cause chronic inflammation and chronic and persistent pain.

Where the bursa and joint result in any long-term reduction in the use of the affected joint, this can mean decreased physical activities. Reduced use of the joint for extended periods can directly lead to a permanent loss of muscle around the joint. With a knee or hip bursitis, the patient can expect to rely on assistive devices to help them get around and attempt daily activities.

Recovery from Bursitis

Recovery does not mean medical and physical recovery only. It also means financial compensation for sustaining an injury in a car accident.

Recovery from bursitis can be a longer-term process than originally expected. If bursitis is not properly diagnosed and treated when symptoms first appear, the danger of complications arises.

The prospects of a full recovery can be diminished by any complications. The goal of recovery is a return to the victim’s pre-accident physical condition with the ability to resume normal activities.

Importantly, recovery includes retaining a competent and qualified lawyer to assess all available courses of action to financially compensate the victim.

In states such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the law provides that if a victim is more than 50 percent responsible for the accident, that victim cannot recover monies for damages. This is called modified comparative negligence. Only an experienced lawyer can use the various facts of the accident to quantify at-fault percentages to see if the victim can pursue a claim for damages.

For those who are not precluded from recovery because of comparative negligence percentages or not being timely in filing a lawsuit, compiling records and documents, or having easy access to them, is one step to assist the victim’s lawyer to protect all of their legal rights and interests.

States with a short statute of limitations can have exceptions for injuries with delayed symptoms. An additional timeframe from the date of discovery can result in a valid action after the statute of limitations has expired. This statutory exception compels an accident victim experiencing delayed injury symptoms from a car accident to immediately contact a lawyer.

Facts Always Matter

In New Jersey, a car accident victim experiencing bursitis can recover damages. Car accident recoveries depend on factors such as fault, loss of earnings, other out-of-pocket costs not covered by insurance, and pain and suffering.

When a lawyer evaluates a victim’s case, expensive medical, hospital, and pharmaceutical costs can be a factor. Financial recovery depends on the particular facts, and each instance is different. Consulting with a lawyer after a car accident in which a person suffers from bursitis is part of the treatment and recovery process.

Hazlet Car Accident Lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova Fight on Behalf of Car Accident Victims Suffering From Bursitis

Bursitis from a car accident does happen. Its symptoms may appear marginal at first but can develop into a painful physical condition. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, reach out to the Hazlet car accident lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova. We can help you understand your rights and work tirelessly to secure you the compensation you deserve. Call us at 732-705-3363 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation. Located in Hazlet and Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients in Ocean County and Sussex County, and Pennsylvania.