A minor accident on Tennessee roads is not likely to cause serious shoulder trauma such as a fracture. However, an impact involving a high level of energy could result in serious injury, including tissue damage or bone fractures. Emergency response personnel at the scene of an accident might identify issues such as swelling, unusual physical appearance, or bruising of the shoulder area as indicators of potential fractures, treating them with immobilization techniques or ice to limit further damage and alleviate pain.
Although the shoulder may be viewed as the area above the arm, the complicated physiology of the area includes bones, joints, and muscles in the chest as well. The humerus can be fractured in a high-impact car collision, involving portions of the arm in the damage. The clavicle can also be fractured, resulting in damage to the upper-front portion of the chest. The scapula is one of the most difficult bones to damage, meaning that a fracture is not likely unless the force of impact is extremely high.
The level of treatment needed for a patient who has suffered a shoulder fracture may vary based on the severity of the fracture. In many cases, surgery is not required to correct a fracture. Stability may be provided through the use of a sling so that the shoulder can remain immobile during the necessary healing period. Surgery might be a possibility if there are fragments of bone that need to be fixed in place. In rare cases, fractures could result in the need for a shoulder replacement.
An individual who has suffered severe injuries leading to a shoulder replacement might deal with a major change in the ability to do certain work. In a hypothetical situation, a construction worker injured in a high-speed accident because of another driver's reckless behavior could be limited in further ability to work in their trade after a shoulder replacement. In such a situation, the filing of a personal injury action might be warranted.