If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you may be suffering from any number of injuries. Some of the most common motor vehicle injuries include whiplash and damage to the extremities. Shoulder injuries are particularly problematic. Because adrenaline may mask the pain, you may not even notice your shoulder injury until well after your collision. Here’s what our West Virginia auto accident lawyers want you to know about shoulder pain – and how to get help.

Anatomy of an Injury

Your shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint that has three main bones: the humerus, the collarbone, and the shoulder blade. These bones are all held together by tendons and ligaments. It has a great range of motion, which allows us to do things like throw a ball, hoist heavy loads, and put our hands behind our backs. This range of motion also makes the shoulder more prone to injury.

Even collisions at low speeds can jostle your body and cause injuries. Sudden stops involve violent movement that may cause broken shoulder bones from slamming into parts of the vehicle. These same movements may cause the shoulder to pop out of joint, or may tear the rotator cuff. Similarly, you may tear the cartilage, tendons, or ligaments that connect the bones of the shoulder.

If you experience pain in the hours, days, even weeks after an accident, see a doctor. In some cases, injuries take a long time to develop – and ignoring the signs and symptoms will only prolong your recovery – or worse, do further damage.

Symptoms of a Shoulder Injury

Shoulder injuries are diverse, and you may experience a range of symptoms. Schedule an office visit if you experience any of the following:

  • A stiff or tender sensation that impedes your ability to function or sleep
  • Swelling, tingling, or numbness
  • Any pain that gets worse with movement or exertion
  • Difficulty moving your arm in any direction
  • Any sudden or intense pain
  • Any symptoms that change drastically
  • Paleness, or discoloration

On the other hand, some symptoms require immediate attention. Have a friend or family member drive you to the nearest emergency room if you notice any of the following:

  • A joint that appears deformed
  • Sudden swelling
  • Pain that is intense and won’t abate
  • Inability to move your joint or arm

Treatment for Shoulder Injuries

If your doctor thinks your shoulder injury is mild, he or she may offer suggestions for self-care. These may include over-the-counter pain relievers, ice packs, and rest. If your injuries are more serious, they may order a series of tests to get to the root of the problem. These may include X-rays or CT scans to determine the cause of the injury and further treatment options. Some serious shoulder injuries may require surgery.

Legal Recourse

If you’ve been injured in an accident, your medical bills can mount quickly. If a shoulder injury keeps you from your livelihood, you’ll also have to contend with lost wages, possibly even a loss of earning capacity. Insurance claims can take time to process, and you may even be faced with denials as your car insurance and medical insurance “pass the buck” to avoid paying your bills. This is frustrating, especially when the accident was through no fault of your own.

In these types of cases, retaining the services of a Charleston, West Virginia personal injury attorney can be helpful. Getting legal representation involved can streamline the process and encourage insurance companies to pay your claim. Sometimes, the act of hiring a lawyer can help avoid the litigation process altogether and prompt your insurance company into giving you a fair payout.

Don’t pay the price for someone else’s negligence. A personal injury attorney can get you back on your feet, and living the life you deserve.