Jim was riding his bike and a car pulled on in front of him. He hit the car, went over the handle bars and landed face down with his arm in an outstretched position.
His shoulder began to hurt immediately. He tried to get up off of the pavement but he couldn't move his arm. The paramedics came to the scene and took him the ER. The ER doctor told him that it looked like his shoulder was dislocated.
Jim was off to x-ray. After the x-ray, the shoulder was put back into place but the doctor was concerned about a potential fracture in the head of the humerus (the arm bone).
Jim came into the office and asked me about his shoulder injury.
Mechanism of Injury Shoulder Dislocation
I explained to Jim that an anterior dislocation of the shoulder is the most frequent dislocation. The way the shoulder usually dislocates is forceful abduction and external rotation, which was consistent with how his accident happened.
I also explained that the ER doctor was probably talking about an impaction fracture of the humeral head. It happens when the head of the humerus is jammed against other bones.
The problem with this fracture is that it can cause a defect in the bone –called a Hill Sachs lesion.
Here is a Hill Sachs lesion. You can see that the head of the humerus is not smooth and round – there is an indentation.
Getting Your Medical Bills Paid
Jim's accident was between a bike and a car so if Jim owns a vehicle that is insured in Florida, he will be able to have his initial medical bills paid through his automobile no-fault (PIP) insurance coverage. In order to qualify for PIP, Jim will need to go seek medical attention within 14 days of the accident, not a problem here. Depending on the nature and extent of your injuries, the PIP benefit will be either $2,500 or $10,000.
If PIP doesn't apply because the accident did not involve a motor vehicle, the injured person will have to run their medical expenses through their commercial health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid.
Long Term Consequences of Shoulder Dislocation
Jim then asked me about the future. I told him that we would have to see what happens. The two major issues that he has to look out for are chronic dislocations – once the shoulder dislocates it stretches the ligaments in the area and the joint can become loose.
The other issue is post-traumatic arthritis – which can develop with bone damage or if the joint is too loose.
My best advice to Jim was to follow the doctor's orders to a "T" and make sure he doesn't cheat when he is going through rehabilitation. Once we have a handle on how the shoulder problem is going to shake out, we will have a better handle on his personal injury claim.
If you have any questions about a shoulder injury claim, you can always give me a call.
Photo attribution: By MB - Collection personnelle, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1254054