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Labral tear in shoulder lawsuit: Can you win or lose?

by | Jul 31, 2023 | Personal Injury


Imagine going about your daily activities without moving your shoulder. Impossible! Moving your shoulders is unavoidable when picking up items, stretching your body, changing your dress, or sleeping comfortably. Any injury in the minute parts of the shoulder can cause excruciating pain while moving the shoulder. A labral tear in shoulder is one such injury that can cause incessant pain.

Proving a torn shoulder labrum is not as easy as other injuries. Since even diagnostic tests are only about 80% effective in predicting shoulder labral tears, convincing insurance providers that you sustained one would be difficult. This blog brings to light the causes, symptoms, and treatment of labral tear in shoulder and the complexities of winning your deserved compensation.

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What is Labral Tear in Shoulder?

To comprehend the shoulder labrum tear, we must first comprehend the anatomy of the shoulder. The shoulder joint (glenohumeral joint) is a complex joint in which the upper arm bone (humerus) is inserted into the shoulder blade (scapula). It has the shape of a ball and a socket. A group of rotator cuff muscles protect the shoulder and maintains its range of motion.

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The labrum of the shoulder is a thick cartilaginous tissue that covers the glenoid cavity in the shoulder blade and allows the ball of the shoulder joint to move freely inside the socket. Repetitive stress or severe trauma to the shoulder can damage the soft layers of the labrum and cause the shoulder to dislocate.

Types of Labral Tear in Shoulder

The labrum, which covers the glenoid socket, can tear anywhere around the glenoid socket. Based on the location of the tear, they are classified as below.

  • SLAP tear: SLAP stands for Superior Labrum, Anterior to Posterior. The SLAP lesion occurs when the lesion extends from the front to the back. This tear will be located above the center of the labral tissue. There is a possibility of a bicep tendon muscle lesion. Baseball and volleyball players are more likely to experience these types of tears. The pain will be felt in the bicep tendon’s anterior portion.
  • Bankart tear: A Bankart tear is a tear in the lower region of the labrum. This type of tear will occur in children who have had a shoulder dislocation. The lower labral tissue is torn when the humerus ball is forced out of the socket. When instability in the shoulder joint occurs as a result of this, it is classified as anterior or posterior instability, depending on the location of the dislocation.
  • Tear in the posterior labrum: This type of tear is uncommon. Impact on the back of the glenohumeral joint can result in a posterior labral lesion.

Causes of Labral Tear in Shoulder

Overuse and repetitive motion can cause the ring of the glenoid labrum to tear. Tennis, baseball, and volleyball players, as well as those who perform overhead action on a regular basis, are at a high risk of having their shoulder labrums torn.

Falling with an outstretched arm to prevent a fall may cause damage to the shoulder labrum. While it is positioned above, a hard pull on the arm can sometimes tear the labral tissues. That’s why it’s said we should not lift young children by holding their arms up and swinging them.

Labral tear in shoulder can be caused by trauma such as motorcycle accidents, car accidents, slip and fall accidents, or other high-impact accidents that result in a significant blow to the shoulder. In the case of shoulder subluxation, where the humeral ball partially comes off the glenoid socket, the Bankart tear cannot be avoided.

Shoulder Labral Tear Symptoms

Symptoms range from simple shoulder pain to shoulder instability, depending on the type of labral tear in shoulder. A SLAP tear could cause pain in the front of the shoulder. Other shoulder labral symptoms are listed below.

  • Sharp shoulder pain: Pain is experienced deep inside the shoulder. Predicated on the location of the tear, the pain can be either in the back or in the front. There would be severe pain when the arm is lifted overhead to make rotating motions.
  • Joint stiffness: Stiffness will be felt when moving the shoulders. Even there would be difficulty in doing the day-to-day activities. You may also notice a lack of shoulder range of motion.
  • Shoulder weakness: Compared to your past strengththere will be a reduction in shoulder strength. Even light weights may be difficult for you to lift. If you are a sportsperson, you will notice a decrease in the quality of your performance.
  • Catching, locking, or grinding sound during any shoulder movement: Sometimes, moving the shoulder will produce sounds like popping, clicking, locking, or grinding as the humerus ball rubs against the socket.

Diagnosis of Labral Tear in Shoulder


As previously stated, detecting a tear in the shoulder labrum is difficult due to the labrum’s location deep within the shoulder. The various diagnostic tests used to determine the presence of a torn labrum are not 100 percent accurate. It would be absurd to believe that a simple physical examination can detect a labral tear in this context.

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Compiling the patient’s personal and professional history may assist the physician in determining whether the patient engages in any type of repetitive motion, such as sports or weight lifting, or involvement in any accidents. Identifying the initial cause and location of pain may also aid in the evaluation. Though x-rays cannot be used to diagnose a labral tear in shoulder, they can be used to rule out other bone-related issues.

SLAP tears, on the other hand, are not always successfully exposed in ordinary labral tear shoulder MRIs and CTs. The use of arthrograms or arthrotomograms, like MR-arthrograms or CT-arthrograms, can help detect torn labrums to some extent. During an MR-arthrogram or CT-arthrogram (fluoroscopy), a dye will be injected into the shoulder to highlight the labral tear in shoulder.

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Minor tears or even a complete lesion in the glenoid labrum may be missed by the radiologist. Such radiologist errors can lead to misdiagnosis and treatment delays.

To confirm the labral tear in shoulder, physicians may elect shoulder arthroscopy, where a tiny camera will be inserted into the shoulder region to get a clear picture of the shoulder labrum and its injuries.

Treatment for Torn Shoulder Labrum

Mild labral tears can be treated non-surgically, but severe lesions necessitate labral tear shoulder surgery.

  • Home remedies: Most minor tears can be treated with rest, physical therapy, and over-the-counter medications. Anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen or aspirin can help with the pain.
  • Physical therapy: If you have Bankart tears, your doctor or therapist may pull your dislocated shoulder back into place and then recommend physical therapy to cure it completely.
  • Cortisone injections: To lessen the pain, steroid injections to the shoulder will be administered.

Shoulder Labral Tear Surgery

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Do shoulder labral tears need surgery? Of course, when all other non-surgical treatments fail to relieve pain, orthopedists will perform labral tear shoulder surgery. The surgeons will recommend open or minimally invasive surgery based on the condition and location of the tear. These types of surgeries are somewhat complicated and have a number of side effects.

In minimally invasive surgery, an arthroscope will be inserted through a small incision in the shoulder, and the view of the shoulder labrum will be viewed on the screen. The surgeon will proceed with the surgery by monitoring the progress of the surgical instrument on the screen. The rough and torn edges of the labrum will be removed, and the torn labrum will be attached to the bone with metal or bioabsorbable suture anchors. In this type of surgery, the recovery time will be shorter.

In open surgery, a larger incision is made in front of the shoulder joint, and the surgeon can see the labral tear in shoulder and repair it directly. As the procedure necessitates a large incision, there is a risk of nerve injury or shoulder mobility issues in the future. It will cause more pain and take longer to heal.

Lawsuits for Labral Tear in Shoulder

If your injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence, such as in a car accident or a slip and fall, you could undoubtedly pursue a labral tear shoulder lawsuit. If you get a strong blow to your shoulder, holding the steering wheel tightly to brace for the impact or the shock from the violent impact could be the cause of the labral tear in your shoulder.

However, claiming compensation for a labral tear in shoulder is difficult because insurance companies can easily deny your claim on a variety of grounds. Let’s look at the roadblocks to getting compensation for your labral tear of shoulder.

  • Difficulty to detect in imaging studies can be a shortcoming in proving your injury.
  • Physicians’ difficulty in diagnosing the tear, as well as a lack of evidence in medical records, can be a hindrance.
  • The claim can be denied considering your slap tear as a preexisting condition and not caused by the accident or trauma.
  • Insurance companies may downplay your injuries by citing the inability to detect them even with cutting-edge medical technology.
  • Your age, the presence of arthritis, or work conditions that require repetitive motion to the shoulder can all be obstacles to proving that it is trauma-related.

On knowing about the difficulties in claiming your injuries, don’t feel disheartened. Not every torn shoulder labrum is difficult to claim. when you have shoulder replacement surgery, you can claim a shoulder replacement lawsuit. With the help of an experienced torn labrum injury lawyer, you can prove that your injury resulted from the trauma and bag your compensation.

If involved in work site accidents, with the help of an attorney you can get your labrum tear shoulder workers comp settlement.

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Labral Tear Shoulder Settlements

Recovering from a labral tear in the shoulder can take a long time because the labrum has a limited blood supply. You may need to spend more time away from work depending on the severity of your injury and the type of procedure you undergo. You can seek compensation for your lost wages, loss of earning capacity, medical expenses, therapy charges, pain and suffering, and ongoing impairments in the same way that you can in other personal injury lawsuits.

Let’s look at a few examples of people who received more or less labral tear compensation based on their injuries.

A 40-year-old man was slowing down at the intersection at a red light. The haul truck, which came behind, failed to notice the red light and rear-ended him at high speed. The driver sustained a posterior labral tear of his left shoulder and other injuries. He underwent an arthroscopy to treat his labral tear in the shoulder. His attorney proved that his injury was trauma-related, and he won an arthroscopic shoulder surgery settlement worth $350,000.

An older adult sustained severe injury, including a right shoulder labrum tear that led to surgery. She was t-boned by a negligent drunk driver who came from the wrong end before an intersection. As the defendant’s insurance claimed that the injury was age-related and preexisting, her labrum tear car accident settlement was reduced to $100,000.

A driver was involved in a head-on collision as a result of the carelessness of another driver who took a wrong turn. His left shoulder was dislocated as a result of the terrible direct impact, and he needed surgery for shoulder dislocation and labral tear. He was awarded $400,000 for a labral tear in shoulder and other serious injuries in a slap tear car accident settlement.

Final Thoughts

People who have a labral tear in shoulder experience excruciating pain while going about their daily activities. Sustaining one from trauma in addition to other injuries is akin to adding fuel to the fire. Even if you have a torn labrum, seek medical attention as soon as possible and have your injuries documented. Get the aid of an attorney in establishing your injuries in court and recovering peacefully by receiving the shoulder labral tear settlement you deserve. Shoulder injury at the workplace can get you a slap tear workers compensation settlement.

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