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Shoulder Injuries from Falls

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Shoulder injuries from motorcycle accidents are extremely painful. The time spent recovering from them can result in lost wages and medical expenses. When you experience a shoulder injury, it becomes difficult to move your arm and complete routine activities. Injuries to areas around the shoulders are one of the most common injuries when people are injured in motorcycle accidents.

Anatomy of Your Shoulder

Your shoulder consists of three bones and numerous soft tissues that make it prone to injuries such as fractures and tears. Shoulders consist of the shoulder blade, collar bone and arm bone. However, these bones do not work in isolation. They are connected by soft tissues such as muscles, tendons, ligaments and joint capsules. Your bones and tissues work in conjunction with each other to enable you to have mobility.

Types of Shoulder Injuries

Shoulders can be fractured or torn easily when you fall from a motorcycle. There are three types of common shoulder injuries.

  • 1. Broken bones or fractures may occur as a result of injury to your shoulder blade, collar bone or upper arm bone.
  • 2. Soft tissue tears may occur as a result of a fall which causes muscles, tendons, ligaments, rotator cuffs and joint capsules to tear.
  • 3. Dislocation of your shoulder may occur as a result of an injury that causes the opposite sides of joints to misalign. Another term for this condition is a separated shoulder.

Causes of Shoulder Injuries
Depending upon the location of the injury, shoulder trauma in motorcycle accidents can be caused by various factors. If you fall off your motorcycle with outstretched arms, you can easily fracture or tear your shoulder. Another way to injure shoulder in a motorcycle accident is to fall directly on your shoulder.

According to emergency room professionals, shoulder dislocations are responsible for half of the dislocation traumas that result from accidents in the emergency room.
Motorcycle riders are disproportionately susceptible to shoulder injuries. This is because there is not barrier protecting them from hitting the ground or another vehicle. The impact from a hard fall or crash into a stationary object can have severe medical consequences on the shoulders.


Symptoms of shoulder trauma include:

  • Throbbing shoulder pain while you are resting or your shoulder
  • Limited range of motion in your shoulder
  • Swelling/Bruising
  • Deformity of your shoulder
  • Hearing a grinding or popping sound when you move your shoulder
  • The formation of a bump at the top of your shoulder
  • Feeling of warmth and tenderness surrounding the shoulder

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you suspect that you have a shoulder injury from a motorcycle accident, immediately seek treatment at the nearest emergency room. Delaying treatment can worsen the condition and result in excruciating pain, swelling and further damage. Medical professionals use various methods to diagnose and treat shoulder injuries.

When a patient arrives at the medical facility, doctors may diagnose the injury in various manners. They will conduct a visual inspection to detect any bruises and bumps. They will gently feel and press on the shoulder to determine the presence of pain and tenderness.

If the doctor determines that the patient has an injury, x-rays will be ordered. The doctor will view the x-rays to determine the severity of the condition and prescribe a treatment plan.

Compound fractures may require corrective surgeries. During this surgery, the doctor puts plates, screws and rods into the shoulder. However, most fractures will be treated without surgical procedures.

If surgery is not necessary, fractures will be treated by putting the affected arm in a sling to immobilize it. The time of immobilization will enable the fractures to heal.

For dislocation injuries, doctors assess the damage to determine the method of treatment. In many cases, surgery is not prescribed unless the patient needs the shoulder more quickly in order to perform their jobs. Doctors are more likely to prescribe surgery for professional sports players, manual laborers and people under 25.

If surgery is not prescribed, a doctor will sedate the patient and manually put the shoulder back into place. Afterwards, the patient will be required to wear a sling until the injury recovers.

It often takes patients weeks or months to fully heal from shoulder injuries. After 6 to eight weeks, patients can often resume normal activities. During the healing process, patients are advised to resist the urge to perform tasks with the affected shoulder.

Other methods of treatment include ice packs, exercise, gentle stretching activities, over-the-counter pain medicine such as ibuprofen, heat packs and Cortisone injections at the site of the injury.


Athletic patients under that age of 25 are 90 percent more likely to experience repeat shoulder injuries. While adults over the age of 30 have a 25 percent chance of experiencing a repeat injury. If a patient injures the same shoulder multiple times, doctors may prescribe surgery to repair the underlying damage. However, the results of surgery can be unpredictable. Doctors try to correct the injury with other methods prior to prescribing surgery.


With shoulder injuries, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. There are several ways to prevent shoulder injuries when riding a motorcycle.

  • Ride your motorcycle at a safe distance from other vehicles.
  • Pay attention to the actions of vehicles that are near your motorcycle.
  • Do not operate your motorcycle over the speed limit.
  • Remain visible to other vehicle operators.
  • Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Sometimes you can experience a shoulder injury from a motorcycle accident through no fault of your own. Maybe you were driving safely, and you were hit by another vehicle. The pain and suffering from shoulder injuries can cause years of financial distress and disability.

If you or a loved one has experienced a shoulder injury as the result of a motorcycle accident, immediate assistance is available. The Doan Law Firm has operators that are ready to take your calls 24 hours a day - 7 days per week. When you contact us, you are not obligated to use our services. We offer free telephone consultation. There are no fees unless we win your case. Contact our office today.

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Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

  1. After an accident, the responsible party's insurance company may try to reduce the claim amount. Commonly, insurance adjusters are trained to get information from the injured to assist in reducing the claim. Though some insurers are less guilty of this practice than others, it is important to realize that insurance companies are profit-oriented corporations and reducing claims results in increased profits for shareholders. This can create a situation for the injured in which they are offered a settlement that does not truly reflect the damages suffered. If you accept this settlement, you lose the ability to get more money should your injuries require further medical treatments. It is critical that victims get legal assistance in any personal injury case, and The Doan Law Firm is prepared to fight relentlessly for your rights.
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