What If I Have Shoulder Pain After a New Jersey Car Crash?

Posted on behalf of James Lynch on March 7, 2024  in Car Accident News. Updated on March 8, 2024

A women suffering from shoulder pain. After a car crash, some victims may experience shoulder pain. Sometimes this may be muscle soreness caused by the impact, but there is no way to know without getting a proper medical examination. Shoulder injuries can get worse and may result in long-term complications without immediate treatment.

In this article, Lynch Law Firm, PC discusses different types of shoulder pain that could result from a collision. We also talk about key symptoms to look for and what compensation victims may be able to seek for their damages.

Our experienced New Jersey auto accident attorneys have been advocating for injured victims for decades, and we have a history of proven results. If you were injured by another driver’s negligence, we encourage you to call our law offices to discuss your situation. We can help determine whether you may have legal options.

Schedule a FREE case review today. (800) 518-0508

Is Shoulder Pain After a Car Crash Something To Worry About?

It is difficult to tell how serious a shoulder injury may be without a full medical examination. Whether or not you have shoulder pain after a crash, you should seek medical attention immediately. It may seem inconvenient, especially if you do not feel any immediate pain or see visible signs of an injury. However, once the shock and adrenalin from the crash begin to wear off, you are likely to feel a lot more pain.

For victims with severe injuries, such as a fracture or torn rotator cuff, getting treatment sooner rather than later often means a faster recovery.

Seeking medical care immediately also links your injuries to the crash that caused them. If you wait to go to the hospital, you are giving the liable party room to argue that you could have been hurt somewhere else.

When To Seek Medical Treatment

Once you tell your doctor about where you are hurting, he or she will likely request one or more of the following tests to determine the reason for your shoulder pain:

  • X-rays: To check for fractures, dislocated shoulder or bone abnormalities
  • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging): Provides images of soft tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments)
  • CT scan (Computed Tomography): Produces images of bones and
  • Ultrasound: This diagnostic imaging machine uses high-frequency sound waves to create real-time images of soft tissues within the body.
  • Physical Examination: Assesses ranges of motion, strength and

You may think minor pain is not a big deal. However, it is quite common for untreated injuries to worsen over time. Without proper treatment, the pain and weakness in your shoulder could linger or even become chronic.

What Symptoms May Indicate a Shoulder Injury?

Symptoms of a shoulder injury vary, depending on the type and severity of the injury sustained. In addition to pain, victims with a shoulder injury may also experience:

  • Dull, aching, or sharp and severe pain
  • Inability to fully raise your
  • Stiff
  • Weak
  • Feeling unstable, like the joint will pop out of
  • Unable to rotate
  • Appears deformed, such as if a bone has fractured or popped out of

What Are Some Common Types of Shoulder Injuries After a Crash?

A crash jars and jolts people around, sometimes in awkward, twisting motions. People may get crushed against the dashboard or steering wheel during the impact. Sometimes flying debris could hit a vehicle occupant hard enough to do some damage.

There are many ways a car crash can severely injure a shoulder. Common shoulder injuries may include:

Dislocated shoulder

If the arm bone pops out of the socket of the shoulder blade, it is likely dislocated. Symptoms may include swelling or an inability to move the joint.


The impact of a collision can be severe enough to fracture a shoulder. Some car crash victims with fractures may have crepitus, a crackling sensation you can hear or feel during movement. A fracture could cause misalignment, pain and extreme tenderness when touching the injured area.

Torn Rotator Cuff

Rotator cuff injuries are the most common shoulder injuries after a crash. The rotator cuff connects the shoulder and upper arm. Victims with torn rotator cuffs can feel pain when lifting and lowering their arms and have trouble lifting heavy objects. At a minimum, treatment usually includes physical therapy, rest and ice. If a shoulder injury is severe, victims may need surgery.


Whiplash is caused by the violent back-and-forth movement caused by the impact of a crash. Rear-end collisions, especially, are notorious for causing this injury. Victims with whiplash may experience sharp pain and/or stiffness in their neck, but they may also feel pain radiating into their shoulders.

Can I Seek Compensation for Damages From a Shoulder Injury?

Car crash victims may be able to seek compensation for a shoulder injury. However, since New Jersey is a no-fault state, crash victims will first seek coverage for their medical costs through their own insurance policies. All New Jersey drivers must purchase at least the minimum Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage as part of their auto insurance policy. PIP insurance pays for victims’ medical bills and lost wages related to the crash.

Comparative Negligence and How It Impacts Your Injury Claim

The state follows comparative negligence law, which means that more than one person can be at fault for an accident. For instance, if you are deemed partially at fault for the crash, you may be able to seek compensation. However, you must not be more than 50 percent at fault for the crash.

Need Legal Help? Call Us Today

The legal process of filing a claim can be overwhelming, especially when recovering from a serious injury. Let our experienced attorneys help you through the legal process so you can focus on healing.

At Lynch Law Firm, PC, we do not charge any upfront costs or fees. We only get paid for our services if we win your case. Call today to find out what legal options you may have. Our staff is available to take your call night or day.

Experienced Lawyers. Proven Results. (800) 518-0508

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