What is a soft tissue injury in a car accident? Soft tissue injuries include sprains, strains, bruises, and whiplash. Whiplash is one of the most common examples of the type of soft-tissue injury that you might sustain in a car accident. If someone else caused the accident, you might have a personal injury claim.
What Are The Common Types of Soft Tissue Injuries?
The human body contains many soft tissues, especially in the neck and back. Soft tissue injuries from a car accident are particularly likely to cause neck and back injuries. Six main categories of car accident-related soft tissue injuries are described below.
Soft Tissue Sprains
A sprained ankle is one type of soft tissue injury that most people have experienced at some point or another. A sprain is simply a stretched or torn ligament anywhere in the body (ligaments connect your bones). You will need an X-ray to rule out bone fractures. Beyond that, your doctor can examine the affected area.
Soft Tissue Strains
A soft tissue strain is a stretched or torn tendon. Tendons connect your muscles to one another, and they connect your muscles to your bones. Doctors diagnose strains the same way that they diagnose sprains.
Contusions from Car Wrecks
“Contusion” is a medical word meaning “bruise.” It is not difficult to see why car accidents often cause contusions. A contusion occurs when your body strikes an object hard enough to rupture your capillaries (tiny blood vessels) and cause internal bleeding. Contusions usually disappear on their own, given time.
Whiplash injuries are a particularly common result of soft tissue damage from a car accident. Whiplash is so named because it occurs when your head snaps forward like a whip. Whiplash can cause both physical pain and cognitive issues.
A herniated disc is a spine injury. Although the discs in your spine absorb shock, a car accident can knock one or more of them out of place. This allows your vertebrae to rub against each other, or pinch a nerve, thereby causing pain. A herniated disc is often accompanied by a whiplash injury.
Lacerations are cuts and gashes in the skin. These injuries are particularly common consequences of car accidents, because of shattered glass and other sharp objects that may collide with your skin at high speed. Seek medical attention immediately, because you may have internal injuries that you don’t know about.
Soft Tissue Injury Symptoms
A soft tissue injury after a car accident produces identifiable symptoms—pain, for example. Symptoms might be delayed for hours or even days after an accident. Common symptoms include:
- A stiff neck;
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering;
- Back pain;
- A sharp neck pain;
- Joint pain occurs whenever you put weight on it.
Soft tissue damage in a car accident can be difficult to prove. Seek medical treatment immediately to make it more difficult for the defendant to assert that the accident is not what caused your symptoms.
Why Are Soft Tissue Injuries Dangerous?
Soft tissue damage after a car accident can be more dangerous than it appears. If you fail to seek medical attention, your injury can get worse and worse as time goes on. You might end up needing surgery to correct your problem.
This analysis doesn’t even take into consideration the legal dangers that you subject yourself to by failing to seek prompt medical attention. The longer you wait to seek treatment, the more serious your medical condition is likely to become, and yet the more difficult it will be to enforce your legal claim.
Soft Tissue Injury Car Accident Treatment
Treatment of a soft tissue injury after a car accident can include the following measures:
- Getting plenty of rest;
- Applying ice to the affected area;
- Compressing the affected area;
- Elevating the affected area, especially if it is a lower extremity such as your ankle;
- Immobilizing the affected area with bracing;
- Undergoing surgery (in extreme cases);
- Undergoing rehabilitation;
- Waiting enough time to take advantage of your body’s natural recuperative powers.
Strictly follow your doctor’s orders. If you don’t, a court or the defendant’s insurance company might hold you partly responsible for your losses. Document all of your treatment.
Proving Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue car accident settlement amounts vary dramatically. One of the major issues, of course, is whether you have enough direct medical evidence to prove your claim in court. Some soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash, are harder to prove than other injuries such as contusions and herniated discs. Your complaints of pain might be the most direct medical evidence you have.
At the very least, you or your lawyer should gather the following types of evidence:
- Photographs of the scene of the accident;
- Photographs of your injuries;
- The results of medical testing (CT scans, etc.), if anything shows upon them;
- Your medical records;
- Your “pain journal” detailing your pain and suffering;
- Employment records to help you prove the lost earnings component of compensation.
One word of caution–stay off social media while your case is pending.
Soft tissue injuries can be excruciatingly painful, and soft tissue injury claims can be difficult to prove. Don’t worry, because the Northwest Indiana personal injury lawyers at Stracci Law Group apply the benefits of over eight decades of combined trial experience, a track record of large settlements, and thousands of satisfied clients to bring you justice by maximizing the value of your claim.
Our lawyers are not out-of-state transplants. We have practiced in Indiana for our entire careers. We know the local court systems, we know all the players, and we know how the Indiana system works. Call Stracci Law Group today at (219) 525-1000 or contact us online. We serve clients in Gary, Crown Point, Hammond, Merrillville, Portage, Valparaiso, and elsewhere in Northwest Indiana.