The human body system comprises various bones meeting at different points called the joint. Each joint, made up of connected bones, is usually surrounded by muscles that allow it to move and perform its essential functions. The muscles in the body are joined together to the bone by a tendon, which is a cord of solid and flexible tissues. The coming together of these three organs allows for the movement of joints in the various parts of the body. However, these components working together to aid mobility around the joints in the body can get damaged, leading to an injury. An example of such an injury is a rotator cuff tear which is an injury that happens to the shoulder joints.
What is a Rotator Cuff Tear?
A rotator cuff tear is damage or an injury to the rotator cuff present in the shoulder joint. A rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons present in the shoulder that serve as a support structure for the shoulder, making it easier to rotate and balance the shoulder joints.
A tear to these muscles and tendons can happen due to the degeneration of these muscles and tendons from old age, and it can occur if there’s wear and tear of these muscles and tendons from repeated motions. It’s common in sports, and such a tear can also happen while a person is doing a job that requires constant shoulder raising, like painting and lifting heavy objects.
A person can also tear their rotator cuff if they fall on their shoulder.
How Painful Is A Rotator Cuff Tear?
A rotator cuff can tear on either side of the shoulder. However, a person’s most active arm is at a more enormous risk of a rotator cuff tear due to wear and tear or repetitive motions.
The tear can either be partial, which is when one or more muscles are damaged, or it can be a complete tear of the muscles and tendons pulling them off the bone. Either of the two types of rotator cuff tear can be dangerous to a person leading to excruciating pain in the shoulder.
A victim of a rotator cuff tear can also find it hard to move their arms past a certain range, limiting their arms’ full use. In worst cases, a rotator cuff tear that is not adequately attended to can lead to an inability of the victim to move their hands permanently.
If the tear is small or partial, doctors can treat this injury using physical therapy and medication to help with the pain. However, if it’s a complete tear, surgery will be required.
Can Legal And Medical Complications Arise From A Rotator Cuff Tear Incident?
Rotator cuff tears can happen to people of different ages from accidents or just a mere degeneration of the tendons and muscles. These accidents can lead to legal issues if a victim believes that their accident was caused as a result of the negligence of another party.
An example is the case of Merillat Industries, Inc. v. Parks. Here, an employee filed a claim to get workers’ compensation benefits for a tear to the rotator cuff muscle of his left arm. The employee claimed that the tear happened due to his occupation, which requires repetitive overhead lifting and manipulation with his left arm.
Another case is Powell v. OTAC, INC, where an employee sued the defendant, claiming that he fell and landed on his right shoulder while working at his defendant’s facility. Hence, this led him to have a complete rotator cuff tear.
The above cases show legal complications that can happen due to a fall leading to a rotator cuff tear in a workplace or a facility. However, there can also be cases where legal complications can arise from treating a rotator cuff tear.
If surgery is needed to treat a rotator cuff tear, a doctor may need to stitch the torn area or reattach the tendon to the bone. Doing this, claims of malpractice can pop up.
An example of such a case is Kahrar v. Borough of Wallington. In this case, it was recorded that a severe rotator cuff tear in a victim led to surgery. However, during the reattachment of the severed tendon during surgery, its length got shortened, making her lose about forty percent of the normal range of motion in her left arm.
Courtroom Animation To The Rescue
Having explained the different complications that can arise from a rotator cuff tear, an attorney who has such a case taken to court can seek to make use of courtroom animation to illustrate these events and help the jury’s understanding.
If the rotator cuff tear is a result of a fall, an animation can be created to prove that another party is responsible for the injury. This can be done by illustrating the environment and conditions leading to the fall and subsequently showing the pressure on the muscles and tendons, causing them to tear.
Also, in a case where a repetitive motion from work or lifting a heavy object caused the tear, animation can also be used to illustrate the scenario.
In addition, if it’s a case of medical malpractice which reduces a victim’s arm’s range of motion, this can also be illustrated using a medical malpractice animation.
In conclusion, courtroom animation can serve as a visual aid in a case of rotator cuff tear. All an attorney needs to do is gather the facts of the case, work with an expert witness and a competent courtroom animation company who will illustrate the facts of the case, and present them to the jury in the form of a precise recreation of the event.