Settlement Value of Torn Bicep Injury

This page discusses injury claims related to bicep injuries resulting from car accidents and other incidents. Our legal team examines the causes of these injuries and explores the typical compensation amounts awarded by juries or settled for torn bicep injuries.

About Bicep Tear Injuries

The biceps are muscles located on the front of the upper arm responsible for bending the forearm at the elbow. The bicep is connected to bones by three tendons. One tendon extends from the shoulder’s outer side, attaching the bicep to the top of the shoulder socket. A second tendon secures the bicep to the inner side of the shoulder socket on the shoulder blade (scapula). Finally, a third tendon links the bicep to the lower arm bone (radius) at the elbow.

These tendons are dense, fibrous strips of tissue. A bicep tear happens when one of these tendons is partially or completely torn away from the bone. This type of injury can occur either at the tendon connection at the elbow or at either of the two connections to the shoulder. Bicep tears can vary in severity.

Types and Grades of Bicep Tears

There are different types of bicep tears depending on which tendon attachment is strained or torn:

Proximal Biceps Tear (Shoulder): This occurs when one of the two tendons attaching the bicep to the shoulder is torn or strained. The tendon along the outside of the shoulder attaching to the top of the shoulder socket (known as the “long head” tendon) is more prone to tearing than the tendon on the inside of the shoulder (the “short head” tendon).

Distal Biceps Tear (Elbow): This type of tear happens when the strain or tear occurs in the tendon connecting the bicep to the forearm at the elbow. It is less common and typically occurs when the extended elbow experiences significant force (such as from a collapsing dashboard in a head-on auto accident).

A torn bicep injury is categorized into one of three grades based on the severity of tendon damage and other physical factors.

Grade 1:

A Grade 1 bicep tear, known as a “strain,” happens when the tendon is overstretched but remains attached to the bone. This grade typically results in minimal loss of mobility and strength.

Grade 2:

In a Grade 2 tear, the tendon is partially detached from the bone but not completely severed. This grade can lead to some degree of mobility and strength impairment.

Grade 3:

A Grade 3 tear occurs when the tendon completely ruptures or tears away from the bone. This is the most severe type of bicep tear, causing significant mobility loss and often necessitating surgical repair.

Causes of Bicep Tears

A torn bicep can result from either chronic overuse or sudden physical trauma, such as an accident. In auto accidents, the shoulder or arm can be stretched or torn, leading to an acute tear of the biceps at the shoulder (proximal bicep tear). This type of tear commonly affects the long head tendon (on the shoulder’s outside). Biceps tears at the elbow (distal bicep tear) can be caused by auto accidents or workplace injuries involving heavy lifting.

Diagnosis of a Bicep Tear

A torn bicep injury is initially diagnosed by a doctor based on medical history, symptoms, and a physical examination of the arm. However, physical examination alone may not differentiate it from other shoulder and arm injuries like a torn rotator cuff. To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor typically orders an X-ray and possibly an MRI. An MRI is essential for determining whether the bicep tear involves complete or partial detachment of the tendon.

Torn Biceps in Auto Accidents

Bicep tendons can sustain damage or tearing in car accidents due to various factors:

Seatbelt Injuries: While wearing a seatbelt is crucial for safety, it can also contribute to bicep injuries. In a collision, the seatbelt may restrain the upper body while the lower arm continues to move forward, potentially causing damage to the bicep tendons.

Sudden Impact: The force generated during a car accident, particularly in front-end or side-impact collisions, can forcefully extend the arm suddenly, leading to overstretching or tearing of the bicep tendons.

Bracing for Impact: In anticipation of a collision, individuals often instinctively tense their muscles and brace themselves. This action can increase the risk of bicep tendon tears due to the sudden muscular contraction.

Airbag Deployment: Airbags deploy rapidly to protect occupants, but the force of deployment can result in injuries. If the driver’s arm is in front of the airbag during deployment, the sudden inflation can cause bicep injuries.

Treatment Options for Bicep Tears

The appropriate treatment for a torn bicep injury depends on the type and severity of the tear.

For Grade 1 or 2 bicep tears, treatment typically involves rest and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen. In more severe Grade 2 cases, stronger anti-inflammatory medications may be necessary along with physical therapy to aid recovery and restore full range of motion and strength.

In cases of the most serious bicep injuries, surgery may be required, especially if the tendon is completely detached from the bone or if it is more than 50% torn. Distal bicep tears at the elbow often necessitate surgery for optimal recovery.

Surgical treatment involves reattaching the damaged tendon to the bone using techniques that may involve grafting to facilitate tendon tissue regeneration and restore its attachment to the bone.

Settlement Value of Torn Bicep in Personal Injury Case

A bicep tear is considered a mid-level or Tier II type of injury in terms of severity. The potential settlement value of a torn bicep in a personal injury case will depend on the nature, circumstances and severity of the tear and the type and extent of treatment that the plaintiff undergoes. The typical settlement value for the most serious torn bicep injuries (e.g., those requiring surgical repair) is usually $40,000 to $75,000.

The best way to evaluate the potential settlement value of a torn bicep injury is to look at settlements and verdicts in prior cases involving a bicep tear and similar circumstances. Below are recent verdicts and settlements from actual torn bicep cases.

Pennsylvania 2023 – $92,302 Verdict: The plaintiff was traveling in the center lane of the interstate, slowing down due to traffic, when the defendant, reportedly driving too fast for the traffic conditions, rear-ended the plaintiff’s vehicle. As a result of the collision, the plaintiff allegedly sustained a tear in the right biceps, a torn rotator cuff, and cervical disc injuries, leading to medical expenses exceeding $20,000.

North Dakota 2022 – $135,543 Verdict: The plaintiff was attending a social gathering at a friend’s house when the defendant forcefully tackled and threw him to the ground. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit for assault, alleging that he suffered tears to the right bicep and rotator cuff, requiring reconstructive surgery. Determining the settlement amount in this case was challenging due to the intertwined nature of the bicep tear and rotator cuff injury.

Wisconsin 2021 – $77,000 Verdict: The plaintiff, a 55-year-old self-employed truck driver, asserted that he experienced a torn biceps tendon and a rotator cuff tear necessitating surgery, leading to permanent partial mobility impairment, when his tractor-trailer was hit on the front right side. Following a policy limits settlement with the responsible driver, the plaintiff pursued further underinsured motorist (UIM) damages from his own insurance provider.

New York 2020 – $72,371 Verdict: The plaintiff was descending a wooden staircase when it gave way beneath him. In an effort to prevent his fall, he grasped another step, resulting in a right biceps tear that necessitated surgical repair. He filed a lawsuit against the homeowner, claiming she neglected to warn him about the unsafe staircase. The homeowner refuted liability.

Wisconsin 2021 – $150,000 Settlement: A 67-year-old woman was involved in a T-bone collision and sustained tears in her left rotator cuff and bicep. She underwent an arthroscopic procedure with debridement to address the injuries. As a result of the accident, the woman’s left shoulder experienced a 5 percent partial impairment, leading to strength deficits and limited mobility. The defense acknowledged liability but disputed the link between the accident and the injuries. Ultimately, the case was settled for $150,000.

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If you suffered a torn bicep injury in an accident, call our lawyers today for a free consultation at 800-553-8082 or contact us online.

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