Traumatic rotator cuff lesions are a very rare condition. However, this article represents a comprehensive survey according to current knowledge on anatomy, biomechanics, and pathogenesis of rotator cuff pathology. Because of the relatively high prevalence of degenerative changes with increasing age, including partial and complete rotator cuff tears, it may be difficult to demonstrate the causality of an acute traumatic rotator cuff tear. Therefore, a catalogue of potential adequate and inadequate trauma mechanisms is proposed. Emphasis is also placed on posttraumatic diagnostic steps following persistent rotator cuff deficient shoulder function (e.g., ultrasound, MRI). From a legal aspect (e.g., private accident insurance, workers compensation claim), different minor and major criteria are defined, which could help experts to judge the causality of posttraumatic rotator cuff deficiency. These criteria mainly refer to distinct details concerning patients' history, trauma mechanism, primary clinical appearance, and diagnostic findings.