Someone’s negligence may cause your shoulder injury and pain in an accident. If so, you may have a case.
The shoulder consists of many joints, tendons and muscles that let the arm move around.
Even without an injury to your shoulder, moving your shoulder can cause problems with instability or impingement of the bony parts or soft tissue in the shoulder.
The fact that these problems may happen just from moving, and without an accident, can lead to a decrease in full value of a shoulder injury case. The insurance company may argue that your shoulder instability or impingement was not caused from the accident.
Anatomy of the Shoulder
The shoulder is made up of three bones:
- Scapula (shoulder blade)
- Clavicle (collarbone)
- Humerus (upper arm bone)
The head (top) of your upper arm bone goes into a round socket in the shoulder blade. The socket is known as the glenoid.
Several tendons and muscles in your allow your arm bone to be centered in the shoulder socket. The tissues are known as the rotator cuff.
These tissues blanket the head of your humerus and join it to the shoulder blade.
Causes of Shoulder Pain
The majority of shoulder problems consist of:
- Fracture (broken bone)
- Tendon Inflammation (tendinitis or bursitis) or tear of a tendon
Occasionally, too much use of the shoulder leads to inflammation and swelling of the bursa between the rotator cuff and the area of the shoulder blame that is called the acromion. This is called subacrominal bursitis.
If you have bursitis, liable party’s insurance company may argue that your bursitis was due to excessive use of your shoulder, and not the accident.
Bursitis can usually happen at the time as rotator cuff tendinitis.
If you have tendinitis, the insurance company may argue that it was caused by a breaking down of the tendon that happened slowly through time. The insurance company may argue that the tendinitis wasn’t caused by the accident.
The insurance company may argue that your tendinitis:
- Was caused by excessive overhead tasks at work or sport
- a degenerative disease including recurring wear and tear or arthritis caused by your age, that lead to chronic tendinitis.
Splitting of your tendons may come from an acute (sudden) injury such as a car accident or fall. However, tendon tears can also come from degenerative changes due to your aging, wear and tear or overuse over a long period.
Since a tendon tear doesn’t always come from an acute injury like an accident, it can make these cases tougher to prove.
Hopefully, your doctor says that your accident caused your tendon tear.
The insurance company may hire a doctor who will likely say that the accident didn’t cause the tear. Their doctor will likely say that the tendon tear was due to your advancing age, long-term overuse and wear and tear.
Tears can be partial or full, where the tendon is split into 2 parts. In most complete tears, the tendon is ripped away from its joining to the bone.
All things equal, full tears are worth more than partial tears. Rotator cuff injuries and biceps tendon injuries are some of the most typical of these injuries.
Shoulder instability happens if the head of the humerus if pushed out of the shoulder socket. It can happen from sudden injury or overuse.
Hopefully your doctor says that your shoulder instability was caused by a sudden injury. The insurance company’s orthopedic doctor will likely say that overuse, and not the accident, is the cause of your shoulder instability.
Learn about shoulder fracture (broken bone) cases.
Pain and Suffering Damages
As it becomes painful and more difficult to engage in your activities of daily living, the full value of the pain and suffering component increases in a Florida personal injury case.
In order to know how much your personal injury case may be worth, you need to know the full value of your damages.
The full value of a Florida injury case is general made up of pain and suffering, out of pocket medical bills and lost wages.
Once you know the full value, then you can start to adjust it by more than 87 important factors that affect a possible Florida injury settlement.
Shoulder Injuries From Work Accidents
This article applies if you have a personal injury case. Some of this article (where I talk about the settlement value of a shoulder injury) does not apply if you only have a workers compensation claim.
It also apply if you are hurt while working and you also have a personal injury claim.
If you are injured by working, you should typically get treatment through workers compensation instead of using Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance or asking the doctors to treat you on a letter of protection. I recommend using your PIP benefits to pay off the workers compensation lien at the end of the injury case.
A letter of protection is when a doctor or other medical provider agrees to give you treatment without asking for money up front, so long as you agree to pay them when your personal injury case settles.
If you do not treat with workers compensation, then the workers compensation insurer may later deny treatment by saying that you failed to follow the workers compensation rules.
Advantage of Getting Workers compensation benefits for your Shoulder Injury Case
If you were injured while working, one of the advantages is that you may get benefits from your employer or their insurer.
Settlement Value of Shoulder Injury
a. Average Settlement for a Shoulder Injury Caused by Someone’s Negligence in Florida
This question is the similar to asking, “How Much Does a House Cost in Florida?” There are some rural places in Florida where one (1) acre of land costs $10,000, and there are some places in Miami Beach where an acre of land may cost $50 Million dollars.
The rural land may be on top of a sinkhole, or have pipe issues and termites in the house, making the house basically worth nothing.
If someone’s carelessness caused a shoulder injury to someone else in a Florida accident, the answer is similar to the answer I gave above regarding the house.
On one hand, if a careless driver in Florida causes Lebron James to suffer a bad shoulder injury, it could be worth hundreds of millions if he can never play basketball again. Lebron makes about $72 million a year, including endorsements.
If he could not play for the next ten (10) years, his lost wages and loss of earning capacity alone could be about $720 Million.
Other factors affecting shoulder injury cases:
- Amount of property damage (particularly true in auto accidents) to the vehicles involved.
- Whether you were taken by ambulance to the hospital from the accident scene. However, I have settled shoulder injury cases for fair value for clients who did not go to the emergency room on the date of the accident or incident.
- Whether you went to the hospital or waited to treat with a doctor.
- When you initially complained of shoulder pain.
- Whether there is liability insurance.
- The actual claims adjuster handling your case.
- Type of witness the claimant makes.
- Whether you exaggerated injuries at the deposition (if a lawsuit is filed).
- Whether you lie at the deposition (if you sue).
- The county where the case will be brought.
- And many other factors. Some are listed below.
Certain Insurers and Claims Adjusters Have a Reputation for Offering More than Others.
Similar to any personal injury claim, one factor that may affect the amount that you may get offered to settle your shoulder injury is the particular insurance company that you are dealing with.
Some insurance companies have a reputation for offering more money than others for the pain and suffering component of a shoulder injury.
As you can see, there are many factors that go into the value of a case. There is no guarantee that you get any money for pain and suffering.
Lady Gets $30,000 Settlement for Shoulder Pain and Other Injuries
Her shoulder pain wasn’t her biggest injury though. USAA insured the at fault driver.
USAA paid $30,000 to settle the case.
Scooter Rider Gets $52,000 for Shoulder Pain and other injuries
The crash happened in North Miami Beach, Florida. Crawford & Company handled the claim for the company that owned the pickup truck.
Broadspire is Crawford’s global Third-Party Administration (TPA) division.
I represented the scooter rider. We settled for $52,000. My client’s eye injury was his worst injury.
Passenger Gets $25,000 for shoulder labrum tear and other injuries
See a case where a passenger got $25,000 after a car rear ended him in Key Largo. He claimed a herniated disc, shoulder labrum tear, finger and knee Injury.
Driver Gets $20,000 for Neck and Other Injuries from Truck Crash
He claimed that the accident caused soft tissue injuries to his shoulder and neck, and a concussion. He also claimed that he lost sensation in his fingertip.
You May Be Still Be Able To Settle Shoulder Injury Cases That Have Issues
I’ve been able to settle shoulder injury claims even though the case had some “issues.”
The bottom line is that every case is different. Even though you may have several things that work against you in a case, your case still may be worth a lot of money.
Using an Online Settlement Calculator to Calculate the Value of a Shoulder Injury Case
I strongly suggest that the injured person does not value his or her case based on an online settlement calculator.
There are many reasons why settlement calculators may not work for Florida injury cases. This is true whether you are looking at my Florida injury settlement calculator or one that someone else made.
Can You Get Pain and Suffering Damages in a Florida Car or Truck Crash?
Someone’s carelessness may cause your shoulder injury in a Florida car or truck accident. But you do not automatically get money for pain and suffering.
Many Florida car or truck crash cases require that the injured person meet the tort threshold in order to get even one penny for pain and suffering.
A threshold injury usually consists of a permanent injury. This is true in shoulder tear cases. In the case of shoulder surgery, significant and permanent scarring may satisfy the tort threshold.
Not every Florida vehicular accident case requires that you meet the tort threshold, so you must understand the law. Do not expect the adjuster to explain the law to you.
Take a look at past Florida personal injury verdicts. You will see that some injuries have a history of meeting the tort threshold. Other injuries do not.
If you have a shoulder tear, you have a higher chance of meeting the tort threshold than shoulder pain alone.
If you have shoulder surgery, then you have an even higher chance of meeting the tort threshold than a shoulder tear without surgery.
Are State Farm, GEICO and Progressive good insurers for Florida shoulder injury claims?
Hopefully they do not get worse. If they do, I will describe them as terrible at fairly paying claims.
For settlement purposes, State Farm, GEICO, Progressive and Allstate have a reputation for offering much less than the fair value of a case.
If the claimant is allowed to make a claim for punitive damages, it can significantly drive up the value of a Florida injury case. Punitive damage claims are in addition to economic and non-economic damages. Punitive damage claims are allowed in limited circumstances.
Florida DUI crash cases
If drunk driver causes your injury in a Florida car or truck crash, you may have a punitive damage claim as well. There are many reasons why Florida DUI crash victims should attend the criminal trial.
Negligent Driver was Using Cell Phone
Some Florida courts have allowed an injured person to make a punitive damage claim. An example would be if the careless driver was on a cell phone at the time of the crash and caused your injury.
For example, a witness may testify that the negligent driver was operating a large truck (e.g. a 60,000 pound dump truck, etc.).
He may say that the driver was talking on a cell phone at the time of the crash in Florida. The negligent driver may turn a huge truck into the claimant’s right of way and cause injury. In this case, the claimant may be allowed to present a punitive damage claim.
The court may allow the jury to decide whether punitive damages should be granted.
Claims Adjuster is Not Your Friend
The claims adjuster is not your friend. He or she is an insurance company employee who has been hired to minimize the liability, causation and damage aspects of your personal injury claim.
He or she also is hired to increase the comparative fault aspect of your case. Some adjusters are honest. They are supposed to be. Some are conservative in their valuation of an injury claim.
Others are not moral or lacking in some morals. They will say whatever they have to in order to save the insurance company money.
But ultimately, every adjuster’s goal is to save the insurance company money. So present the strongest possible case.
You Are Not Smarter Than the Claims Adjuster
You may be rocket scientist, brain surgeon, top-notch computer programmer or brilliant lawyer. But unless you have handled hundreds of injury claims, an adjuster will run circles around you every day of the week.
Worst of all, you will not even know that it is happening. I say this based on my experience of representing hundreds of injured people who have made the mistake of giving a statement to the adjuster before contacting me.
Should you hire a lawyer if someone’s carelessness caused your shoulder injury in Florida?
A good way to know whether to hire a Florida attorney is to see if you know the purpose behind every question on this detailed twenty-one page personal injury questionnaire.
There are over 11 reasons to hire a Florida accident lawyer if someone’s carelessness caused your shoulder injury.
How Much Do Florida Attorneys Charge to Represent Victims if Someone’s Negligence Caused a Should Injury?
There are limits on the amount that a Florida attorney can charge in a shoulder injury case. Most Florida lawyers handle shoulder accident cases on a contingency fee.
The injured person only pays the attorney if the attorney recovers money. There are usually no up front costs. The attorney’s fees come out of the total settlement.
Attorney’s fees are capped at 33 1/3% of the total settlement if the case settles without a lawsuit. Florida lawyers cannot charge more than 40% of the total recovery if a lawsuit is filed. We charge these fees.
Who are common liability insurers and third party administrators (TPAs) in shoulder injury cases?
Did a driver’s carelessness cause your shoulder injury in an accident in Florida? Did you suffer another injury or another type of accident?
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2013 and has been completely revamped and updated.