Someone’s carelessness could cause your shoulder joint tear (glenoid labrum tear). If so, you may be entitled to a settlement.
I’ll quickly go over the anatomy of the shoulder joint. Then, we’ll talk about settlements for shoulder joint injuries.
Doctors now utilize very small TV cameras to look inside your joint. They are able to see and treat a shoulder injury known as a glenoid labrum tear.
If your doctor videos the inside of your joint, send this to the adjuster. The adjuster can see the tear.
Anatomy of the Shoulder Joint
Your should joint consists of 3 bones:
- Humerus (Upper arm bone)
- Clavicle (Collarbone)
- Scapula (Shoulder blade)
The top (head) of the upper arm bone is called the humeral head. It lies in a shallow socket in your shoulder blade known as your glenoid.
The head of your upper arm bone is typically much bigger than your socket. A soft fibrous tissue rim known as the labrum goes around the socket to help balance the joint.
Some doctors use the word “labral” instead of “labrum”. It means the same thing.
The rim can make the socket about 50% deeper. This allows the head of the humerus to fit in better. It also acts as an attachment area for many ligaments.
What Causes Damage to the Rim Around the Shoulder?
Damage to the tissue rim around the shoulder can happen from an accident or repetitive shoulder motion. Not all injuries to the tissue rim around the shoulder socket are caused by accidents.
The difficulty is in proving that an accident caused the injury to the tissue rim. Hopefully your doctor says that the accident caused your injury to the tissue around the rim.
$210,000 Settlement for Shoulder Labrum Injury from Truck Accident
Here is a short video about this settlement:
A trucker was driving his 18 wheeler down the highway. A 18 wheeler crashed into the back of his truck. I represented the trucker who was rear ended.
Here is what the at fault truck looked like after the wreck.
Why does the damage to either truck matter?
With bad damage, insurance adjusters are likely to pay more money for the labral tear. This is because they have an easier time believing that the accident caused the tear.
The MRI showed a labrum tear. The orthopedic surgeon operated on my client’s shoulder. During the surgery, he told me that he saw labral fraying, and not a tear.
The doctor said the labrum fraying wasn’t caused by the truck crash. He said that it was pre-existing. This hurt the value of the case.
He also claimed that the crash caused or aggravated his herniated discs.
Broadspire handled the claim for Crowley and Travelers Insurance Company. Mark Miller was Broadspire’s adjuster.
Broadspire’s first offer was just $25,000!
However, I know how to calculate the value of a personal injury claim. Thus, we rejected their low ball offer.
However, through intense negotiation, we were able to settle with Broadspire for $200,000 at mediation.
We settled for $210,000. Travelers Insurance and Crowley paid $200,000 of the settlement.
Progressive insured my client’s personal vehicle with $10,000 in uninsured motorist insurance. They paid the $10,000 limits to settle, but only after I filed a consumer complaint.
The majority of the $210K settlement was for the pain and suffering part of the claim.
$25K Settlement for Labral Tear in the Shoulder (Car Accident in Monroe County, Florida)
Saint-Vil was driving a car (V01 in the diagram above). He was traveling South in the inside lane of US 1 (State Road 5) at the 99 mile marker in Key Largo, Monroe County, Florida.
My client’s wife was driving his pickup truck (V02 in the diagram above). Our client was a passenger. They were traveling South on US 1 (State Road) at the 99 mile marker in the outside lane.
A witness was directly behind our client’s car in the outside lane. He said that Saint-Vil changed lanes and cut in front of him.
My client’s wife applied the brakes as there was heavy holiday traffic in front of her. V01 failed to stop in time striking our client’s car in the rear.
Prior to the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper arriving, both cars were on the right shoulder facing south.
Here is what my client’s pickup truck looked like after the accident.
My client took a photo of the at fault car after the crash. Here is a photo:
Infinity Insurance Company insured the at fault driver.
Infinity Insurance sent us a notarized disclosure of information indicating that its insured had no bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance coverage. This isn’t uncommon. This is because BIL insurance is not required on private passenger cars in Florida.
My client had shoulder pain. Thus, he had an MRI of his shoulder.
MRI Showed a Labrum Tear in the Shoulder
The MRI of one of his shoulder showed a:
- Positive for a tear of the posterior labrum.
- Paralabral cyst along the posterior margin of the glenoid.
- Thickening of the capsular structures (compatible to capsulitis).
As with many accidents involving a shoulder labrum tear, my client had other injuries as well. X-rays appeared to indicate a fracture to his index finger. His orthopedic hand surgeon, Dr. Miller, ordered nerve conduction studies and MRI studies of his elbow and hand.
He had therapy and had a cast placed on his left arm. His index finger was immobilized.
Dr. Blinn stated that my client suffered an emergency medical condition (“EMC”), which could impair his function and ability to perform his necessary duties as well as everyday activities of life.
Why is this important?
With an emergency medical condition, his own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance (with USAA) paid up to $10,000 of his medical bills.
Since our client owned a car in Florida, and was a passenger in a car in Florida at the time of the crash, PIP paid for some of his medical bills.
Since his doctor diagnosed him with an emergency medical condition, PIP paid the doctor and hospital $10,000 towards his medical bills.
He was instructed to continue with his therapy to the spine and shoulder. The orthopedic doctor said that he would let his podiatrist treat his ankle injuries.
He continued to treat for his hand and wrist injuries. The orthopedic surgeon prescribed several MRIs, which he underwent shortly thereafter.
The bill for the MRIs was $14,800.
Tricare Paid Some Medical Bills Related to the Accident
The injured man had Tricare, since he was a member of the armed forces. Tricare paid a good amount of his medical bills.
What was the good news?
My client had $25,000 in uninsured motorist insurance with USAA. USAA paid the $25K UM limits to settle my client’s personal injury claim. Here is the settlement check:
Tamara E. Ross was the USAA adjuster.
Tricare claimed a lien on the settlement. I was able to get the lien reduced for him. Tricare reduced their lien by my attorney’s fees and costs. This can be one of the many advantages of hiring a lawyer.
Here is my client’s testimonial after I settled his personal injury claim.
Insurance Company Doctor Will Argue Injury Wasn’t Caused by the Accident
The insurance company will hire a doctor who will likely say that the injury to the tissue rim wasn’t caused by the accident. He or she will argue that repetitive motion caused it.
When considering how much to settle for, you should factor in the odds that a jury will believe the insurance company doctor. Those odds depend on all the facts of your case.
Examples of accidents than can cause injury to the tissue rim:
- Falling on your outstretched arm (from a slip and fall, or trip and fall)
- An impact to your shoulder (e.g. shoulder hits the inside of a car, or motorcyclist or bicyclist is thrown of the bike and hits the ground)
- Intense overhead reach, like if you’re trying to stop your fall or slide
Weightlifters and athletes who throw a lot may have glenoid labrum tears caused by repetitive shoulder movements.
Weightlifters and throwing athletes should expect the insurance company for the liable party to argue that the tear was caused by repetitive shoulder motion, and not the accident.
Pain and Suffering Compensation for a Tear in Your Shoulder Socket Rim?
Your symptoms of a tear in your shoulder socket rim are like those of other shoulder injuries. Symptoms may be:
- Pain, generally with overhead tasks
- Grinding, popping, locking or catching
- Sometimes night pain or pain with everyday tasks
- Feeling that your shoulder is unstable
- Loss of range of motion
- Lack of strength
The worse you symptoms, the higher the full value of the pain and suffering component of your personal injury case.
Diagnosis of a Shoulder Labral Tear
If you have shoulder pain, you should go to the doctor immediately. If you don’t, the responsible party’s insurance company will likely argue that your shoulder pain wasn’t caused by the accident.
Tell the doctor the specific facts of the accident that caused your pain. The doctor will put this in his notes.
These medical records will become a huge part of your case. You should then send those notes to the insurance company for the responsible party.
The doctor will do tests to evaluate your pain, range of motion and stability. The doctor will record you pain level and range of motion in his or her notes.
The insurance company will generally assign more money to the pain and suffering component of your case as your pain level increases.
The doctor will take x-rays to determine if there may be an other explanation for your issues.
The rim of the shoulder socket is soft tissue. Thus, an x-ray won’t show injury to it. The physician may order a CT scan or MRI scan. These will help see tears.
But, the doctor’s opinion of whether you have a tear will be made while doing arthroscopic surgery.
Where could your tear be?
You can either have a tear on the top (superior) or below (inferior) the center of your glenoid socket.
A SLAP tear (superior labrum, anterior [front] to posterior [back]) is a tear on the rim on top of the center of the socket. It may also involve your biceps tendon.
Judge Awards $75K for Pain and Suffering from Shoulder Surgery (Bike Accident)
This isn’t my case. At approximately 11:00 a.m. on September 18, 2013, Dyer was riding his bicycle on the sidewalk, against oncoming traffic, along Tradeport Drive in Orlando, Florida.
At that same time, Mr. Angel Figuerora exiting driveway onto Tradeport Drive. As he slowly pulled into the crosswalk area, Mr. Figuerora looked to his left for oncoming traffic. He did not see Dyer approaching from the other direction on his bicycle.
Mr. Figuerora was an employee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and was driving a government vehicle at the time.
The “good” news for Dyer?
The United States had the money to pay even the largest verdict. This is in contrast to many drivers who are insured with companies like GEICO and have low bodily injury liability insurance limits.
Having a an injury claim against the United States is like having a claim against Walmart, Publix, Walt Disney World, or another huge company. They are all so big that they can pay a huge verdict.
Dyer sued the United States of America.
Mr. Figuerora passed away shortly after the accident and before he could have his testimony taken.
When Dyer saw the government vehicle, he was about 15-20 feet away and was travelling 10-12 m.p.h. Unable to react, Dyer struck the right front of Figuerora’s vehicle, which catapulted him over the car and onto the adjoining pavement.
How Did the Judge Determine Who Was At Fault?
The starting point in this analysis is to consider the relevant Florida traffic laws. Florida Statute § 316.125(2) states:
The driver of a vehicle emerging from an alley, building, private road or driveway within a business or residence district shall stop the vehicle immediately prior to driving onto a sidewalk or onto the sidewalk area extending across the alley, building entrance, road or driveway, or in the event there is no sidewalk area, shall stop at the point nearest the street to be entered where the driver has a view of approaching traffic thereon and shall yield to all vehicles and pedestrians which are so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard.
A bicyclist on a sidewalk is considered a pedestrian under Florida law, Fla. Stat. § 316.2065(9), and every driver of a vehicle is required to exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian or bicycle, Fla .Stat. § 316.130(15).
Mr. Figuerora did not stop or yield as required. Instead, as he slowly rolled into the crossway, he looked left. Had he looked to the right, he could have seen Dyer and possibly stopped in time to avoid the collision. Mr. Figuerora was therefore at fault in this regard.
The judge said that Dyer could have avoided the accident by stopping his bicycle before impact. But a bicyclist traveling 12 mph and observing an obstacle 20 feet away has only one second to react.
Dyer claims he did not have time to avoid the collision, and this fact is supported by the testimony of Mr. Dowtin, who said the impact was spontaneous and within a matter of 1-2 seconds.
This, of course, works both ways. Common sense dictates that when riding a bicycle at a high rate of speed on a sidewalk, caution should be exercised when approaching a driveway.
Judge Placed Some Blame on the Bike Rider
Dyer did not exercise caution and is therefore partially at fault for the accident. In sum, the Court apportioned fault for this accident 30% to Dyer and 70% to United States.
Dyer received treatment for his shoulder. About two years after the accident, Dyer had shoulder surgery. The court’s memorandum didn’t say the type of shoulder surgery.
Dyer’s doctor, Dr. Winters, said that after the surgery he still had a SLAP tear.
The judge said that Dyer failed to show the need for an additional shoulder surgery. The judge, Gregory Presnell, awarded $40,000.00 for past pain and suffering, and $35,000.00 for future pain and suffering.
Dyer tried to make a claim for his back injury. However, the judge found that his back injury from this accident wasn’t any worse than it was from before the accident. He had a separate accident before this accident where he hurt his back.
As I said the earlier, the judge found the United States 70% responsible for the shoulder and neck injuries suffered by Dyer. Thus, the United States only had to pay Dyer 70% of the total damages.
The case is Dyer v. US, Dist. Court, MD Florida 2017 (Case No. 6:15-cv-1231-Orl-31KRS).
What is a Bankart Lesion?
A tear on the rim under the center of the glenoid socket, which also involves the inferior glenohumeral ligament is known as a Bankart lesion.
Tears of the glenoid rim frequently happen with other shoulder injuries, like a dislocated shoulder (partial or full dislocation).
Before making the final diagnosis, your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication and rest to help get rid of your symptoms.
Tip: Take photos of any prescription bottles that you get as a result of the accident. Put these in the demand package that you send to the insurance company.
If the doctor prescribes anti-inflammatory medication, and you take it, this increases the full value of the pain and suffering component of your case for settlement purposes. This is because taking this medication shows that you’re in pain.
The doctor may suggest that you do rehabilitation exercise to make the rotator cuff muscles stronger. If those things aren’t enough, your doctor may suggest arthroscopic surgery.
If you get arthroscopic surgery, this increases the full value of the pain and suffering component of the case for settlement purposes.
Injury Just to the Rim
If your injury is just to the rim, and doesn’t involve the tendon, your shoulder is stable. The doctor will get rid of the torn flap and fix any other relative issues.
The full value of your case is lower if your injury is just to the rim.
Tears that Extend into the Biceps Tendon or a Detached Tendon
If the tear goes into the biceps tendon or if the tendon is detached, the shoulder is unstable. The doctor will have to fix and rejoin the tendon using sutures, wires or tacks.
The full value for settlement purposes is higher if the shoulder in unstable and this extra procedure is needed.
A tear below the middle of your socket involves shoulder instability. Again, this tear is worth more since it involves shoulder instability.
The doctor will rejoin the ligament and tighten the should socket through folding over and pleating the tissues.
Once you have surgery, you’ll have to have your shoulder in a sling for 3 to 4 weeks. Take a photo of your shoulder in the sling.
Make sure to include your face in this photo. Include this photo in your demand letter that you send to the insurance company.
It will be 3 to 4 months before the shoulder completely heals. If you have a scar from the surgery, take photos of it. Send those photos to the claims adjuster.
A scar increases the full value of the pain and suffering component of your case.
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