What Causes Shoulder Pain after a Car Accident?

Posted on: February 15, 2022

Shoulder pain after a car accident can be the result of blunt force trauma that causes bruising or broken bones, a laceration that results in an open wound, or less noticeable injuries to muscles and other soft tissues. Perplexingly, many of the less visible injuries are those that can be the most painful, long lasting, and disruptive to peoples lives.

This discussion explains the many types of shoulder injuries that commonly result from car accidents as well as the reasons some so-called invisible injuries present problems for medical as well as legal reasons.

What Kinds of Shoulder Injuries Are Caused by Car Accidents?

The shoulders are vulnerable to injury in a car accident. Although seat belts are meant to keep car occupants from being thrown from the vehicle and airbags are meant to prevent a person from banging their head on the steering wheel or the cars interior, there are no specific accident safeguards available to protect a persons shoulders.

Bearing the brunt of impact or suffering a cut or broken bone can cause pain and personal injury to a persons shoulder. Being thrown around inside the vehicle in a collision can jolt and jostle a persons shoulders, as well as their head, neck, and upper back, causing injury to the muscles and connective tissues in these areas of the body. Unlike cuts, bruises, and broken bones, these soft tissue injuries are not clearly observable. Unfortunately, these invisible injuries can be far more serious than those that can be clearly seen and addressed. 

Some of the most common car accident injuries that cause pain in the shoulders include the following trauma:

  • Whiplash injuries. When a body is thrown forward and backward in an accident, injuries to the head, neck, and upper back can cause pain to appear in the shoulders as well.
  • Rotator cuff tears. If the arm and shoulder were bent at odd angles, a tear can result in the rotator cuff, which is a group of muscles and tendons that are essential for normal shoulder function. 
  • Sprains and strains. Muscles can suffer sprain or strain injuries when they are pulled or distorted, causing pain, inflammation, weakness, and diminished functionality.  
  • Joint dislocation. In a car accident, the bones of the shoulder can be twisted out of place, causing pain.
  • Bone fractures. Fractures to the collar bone or the upper arm bones can cause pain in the shoulder.

Why Are Invisible Shoulder Injuries So Problematic?

Obvious shoulder injuries can be clearly related to a broken bone or a cut or bruised surface area. However, it is not uncommon for shoulder injuries to be undetectable, even with sophisticated medical imaging such as X-rays and MRI. Although muscle tears may be visible, strains and sprains that do not result in visible tears can be imperceptible in any objectively observable way.

If a car accident causes shoulder pain, the injury may not be visible to the naked eye, making many cases of shoulder pain difficult to diagnose and treat. This invisible shoulder pain can also cause problems when trying to recover compensation for the injury, as it is difficult not only to establish a link between the injury and the accident, but also to prove that the injury is real.

How Can I Prove My Invisible Shoulder Pain Is Real?

Proving your case for compensation after a car accident should start immediately after the accident. If you are physically able to collect evidence from the scene, doing so can be extremely advantageous. Take pictures of the vehicles and surroundings and obtain witness statements.

You should seek medical treatment right away. This will allow you to receive the care you need, and it will also establish a timeline that creates a connection between your symptoms and the accident. Be sure to keep you medical appointments, and do your best to follow your doctors orders. This will show that you take your injury seriously and that you are doing your part to get better.

Keep receipts or copies of medical bills for diagnostic tests, doctor appointments, physical therapy, prescription medications, and necessary medical devices. If you missed work as a result of your injuries, obtain copies of your pay stubs to prove lost income.

In the time after the accident, you should document your symptoms and how the injury is affecting your ability to live a normal life.

Talk to a lawyer about your accident and injuries. A qualified and experienced lawyer will be able to tell you how likely you are to be able to collect damages for your injuries. They should also be able to give you an idea of what amount constitutes a fair and realistic monetary award or settlement to cover your losses.

Also, do not talk to anyone about your accident or injuries who can use your words against you. Specifically, you should avoid answering questions from an insurance representative who may want to find inconsistencies in your story to exploit for the purposes of denying your claim. It is also important to refrain from discussing your claim on social media, since such details can be referenced in court to introduce doubt in your case.

Middletown Car Accident Lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova Represent Clients Injured by Another Persons Negligence

If you were seriously injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you should be able to hold them accountable for your damages. The Middletown car accident lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova can help you prove your case against the at-fault driver responsible for your injuries. 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 throughout Ocean County, Sussex County, Neptune, Middlesex County, and Pennsylvania.