How to Obtain Compensation for a Labral Tear After an Accident

Key Points:

  • Labral tears are a type of shoulder injury commonly caused by car accidents, slip and falls, and severe impacts to the arms.
  • After an accident, shoulder pain should always be addressed by a physician.
  • Labral tears may require frequent doctor’s visits, physical therapy, medication, and even surgery, which can increase a victim’s expenses.
  • It is helpful to discuss your accident and injury with a car accident attorney to ensure full and fair compensation.

Understanding the Labrum and Its Purpose

The labrum is a cup-shaped rim of cartilage that lines and reinforces the ball-and-socket joint of the shoulder. There are also labra located at each hip that serve the same purpose — to secure the ball joint in the socket. Imagine a cup and saucer — the labrum acts like the indentation at the center of the saucer. It cradles and holds the bottom of the cup in place and keeps it from sliding around.

man holding his hurt shoulder

The shoulder labrum is located where the shoulder ligaments are attached to the rotator cuff tendons and muscles. The labrum provides stability and helps the shoulders work smoothly.

When the labrum is torn or compromised from the force of a car accident, it can lead to partial or complete shoulder dislocation. One common labrum tear is called a superior labrum anterior to posterior, or a SLAP tear for short. This type of tear occurs at the front of the upper arm, where the bicep muscle-tendon connects to the shoulder.

Outside of car accidents, athletes like Baseball pitchers, volleyball players, and other athletes are prone to this type of shoulder damage, as they often make quick overhead snapping motions with their arms. Patients with SLAP tears usually experience pain at the front of the shoulder near the bicep tendon.

A Bankart tear happens when there is a dislocation of the shoulder — when the shoulder joint ball slips out of its socket. This can cause the tissue’s surrounding capsule of the joint to tug on the lower portion of the labrum, leading to a tear.

In turn, this injury creates instability and makes it easier for the shoulder to become dislocated again and again. As a result, those who sustain Bankart tears often feel anxiety that their shoulder is unreliable and may slip out of place or dislocate at any moment.

What Causes Labral (SLAP) Tears?

Labral tears can happen for a number of reasons, including:

  • Overuse due to repetitive motions over a long period, which can weaken the joints and their components.
  • Wear and tear from aging. Connective tissue becomes more brittle as we age, so people over 40 often experience shoulder issues.
  • Trauma or sudden, violent impacts, such as sports collisions, slips and falls, and vehicular accidents, which can damage the specialized joints at the shoulders, hips, and knees.

Why Labral Tears Are Common in Accidents

It’s human nature to try and protect our faces and bodies when we see a fall or car accident coming. Therefore, we may automatically stretch out our arms to brace ourselves from the impact. Unfortunately, extending the arms means a labrum SLAP tear is more likely to occur.

Labral tears are also common in accidents including:

  • Car accidents, even at slow speeds
  • Slip and falls at work, in public, or at a residence
  • Nursing home accidents, which can indicate abuse, neglect, or lack of proper patient attention
  • Over-extension of the arm due to someone pulling or tugging on it

These tears can happen in just about any setting. After an accident, it is always wise to see a doctor for pain or discomfort in the shoulder area.  

Common Symptoms of a Torn Labrum

The most common symptom of a shoulder labrum tear is pain and weakness in the shoulder, which may get worse with movement. A victim may also experience the symptoms listed below:

  • A popping sound or feeling as the shoulder moves
  • A sense of grinding with movement
  • A feeling that the shoulder is getting stuck or catching
  • A seizing or locking
  • Diminished range of motion
  • A sense of instability
  • Weakness

After an accident, a torn labrum can be accompanied by other traumatic injuries to the shoulder. Without a proper examination by a medical professional, it’s impossible to know how much damage has been done.

How Torn Labra Are Fixed After a Car Accident

Depending on the location of the tear and whether other shoulder injuries exist, your physician will likely prescribe a specific course of treatment.

Some non-surgical treatment options include:

  • The doctor popping the shoulder back into place to correct or decrease the severity of the dislocation
  • Over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers and anti-inflammatories
  • Using a sling to rest the shoulder
  • A course of physical therapy
  • Prescribed steroid injections

Surgery is typically only undertaken as a last resort when other methods of treatment are not working well. If surgery is needed, it’s important that the muscles surrounding the injury be strengthened to support the shoulder system. Even without surgery, physical therapy is usually a recommended part of the healing process to help strengthen those muscles.

Depending on your age and activity level, a torn labrum can take nine to 12 months to heal completely. If you are an athlete or elderly person, this may take longer and involve restrictions to protect the injury as it heals.

How Insurance Companies Compensate for a Torn Labrum

Typically, insurance companies drag their feet on injuries that are not physically evident. Internal injuries or joint damage cannot be visualized, so they will usually try to avoid compensating you. You may need the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer who is accustomed to fighting for the victim when long-term damage is not obvious. Insurance companies will do their best to calculate a minimal settlement.

If you are found to be partially at fault for the accident, insurance companies may try to offer you little or nothing for your torn labrum. They also often attempt to settle your claim quickly, before you thoroughly understand the full extent of your lost wages, your pain and suffering, and other expenses incurred as you heal. Victims who settle their claims too early often miss compensation for all costs, such as physical therapy.

Accident Settlement Compensation Amounts for Torn Labra in Georgia

Compensation amounts for a torn labrum can vary widely and depend on various factors.

Ideally, you should be compensated for all hospital, medical, and physical therapy bills. You should also receive compensation for pain and suffering, missed hours of work, and any resulting lost income. All of these factors can increase your compensation in Georgia.

If your shoulder injury means you can no longer work at your job or significantly impacts your quality of life, your settlement may be worth significantly more — possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars. On the other hand, if you are found to be fully or partially at fault for the accident or fail to include all the compensable expenses in your claim, then it could be diminished or worth nothing at all.

I believed that it would be an easy process considering the other vehicle hit me and received the ticket. This was my first accident and my first time hiring a lawyer and oh how much I would learn from this accident. The other drivers insurance company refused to pay out so my lawyer Kristen Pitts went to work! Oh she was awesome!

five stars
Gwendolyn F.

How Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

Negotiating an accident claim can be overwhelming. Most people are not familiar with the tactics that insurance companies use to combat paying fair compensation for accident victims. This inexperience can make it difficult to get awarded what you truly deserve.

At The Millar Law Firm, we strive to include the total expenses in every compensation category and negotiate full payment. Our lawyers focus hard on collecting the best possible evidence to build strong claims. We are committed to making sure your claim is fully and fairly compensated.

Our nearly three decades of experience in this area of the law gives us an edge when seeking to resolve a claim. We know the laws. We know insurance companies and their tactics. And we understand how to get things done.

Call us today for a free first consultation. Our legal team is standing by to give you advice on how to move forward with your claim. When we can build an all-inclusive claim, we can also collect a larger compensation. You deserve no less. Call us today at 770-400-0000.

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