You may not be able to physically see a soft tissue injury, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the pain, discomfort, and other symptoms that accompany it. Soft tissue injuries can be just as debilitating as more visible injuries, potentially impacting your life for years if left untreated. However, obtaining compensation for these types of injuries can be quite challenging. Let’s delve into why this is the case and explore steps you can take to increase your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve.
Understanding Soft Tissue Injuries
To comprehend why seeking compensation for soft tissue injuries can be difficult, it’s crucial to understand what a soft tissue injury entails. Soft tissue injuries encompass sprains and strains of muscles, tendons, ligaments, fat, and other similar tissues throughout the body. Unlike broken bones, soft tissue injuries are not always easily detectable through imaging techniques like X-rays and MRIs. Despite being less apparent, these injuries can cause significant pain in joints and throughout the body.
Common Types of Soft Tissue Injuries
The human body contains numerous soft tissues, particularly in the neck and back, which are vulnerable to injury in car accidents. Here are the six main categories of soft tissue injuries that can result from such accidents:
– Soft Tissue Sprains
A sprained ankle is an example of a soft tissue injury that many people have experienced before. A sprain occurs when a ligament anywhere in the body is stretched or torn. To rule out bone fractures, X-rays are necessary, and thereafter, a medical examination will be conducted.
– Soft Tissue Strains
Soft tissue strains involve the stretching or tearing of tendons, which connect muscles to one another and to bones. Just like sprains, strains are diagnosed through thorough physical examinations.
– Contusions from Car Accidents
Contusions, or bruises, are common soft tissue injuries resulting from car accidents. When the body collides with an object forcefully, the capillaries (tiny blood vessels) rupture, causing internal bleeding. Contusions typically heal on their own over time.
Whiplash is a well-known soft tissue injury that frequently occurs in car accidents. It happens when the head snaps forward like a whip, leading to physical pain and cognitive issues.
– Herniated Disc
A herniated disc is a spine injury that can occur when the shock-absorbing discs in the spine are displaced due to a car accident. This misalignment can cause the vertebrae to rub against each other or pinch a nerve, resulting in pain. Whiplash injuries often accompany herniated discs.
Lacerations refer to cuts and gashes on the skin. Car accidents often cause these injuries due to shattered glass and other sharp objects. Seeking immediate medical attention is crucial, as there may be internal injuries that are not immediately apparent.
Symptoms of Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries can produce various identifiable symptoms, including swelling, inflammation, a stiff neck, discoloration, difficulty concentrating or remembering, back pain, sharp neck pain, and joint pain when weight is placed on the affected area. Proving soft tissue damage can be challenging, so seeking prompt medical treatment can strengthen your case against any potential claims that the accident did not cause your symptoms.
Causes and Complications of Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries can result from various accidents, not just car accidents. Other common causes include motorcycle accidents, truck and commercial vehicle accidents, pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents, slip and falls, trip and falls, dog bites, dog attacks, and Uber or Lyft rideshare accidents. While bruising is a typical sign of soft tissue damage, some injuries may only manifest as pain.
If left untreated, soft tissue injuries can lead to complications such as nerve pain and damage, internal bleeding, impaired blood circulation, or compartment syndrome. Some of these complications can be permanent.
Permanent Damage and Severe Injuries
Soft tissue injuries can cause permanent damage and lasting effects, although it is relatively uncommon. The risk of permanent harm increases when medical assistance is not sought promptly, especially after a severe accident. However, delays in treatment can occur if doctors doubt the validity of pain reports and fail to investigate further. Since soft tissue injuries are often not visible on X-rays or MRIs, some medical professionals may question the necessity of proper treatment.
Recognizing the Severity of Your Injury
Certain signs can indicate severe soft tissue injuries or the presence of complications. These signs include abnormal-looking or abnormal-feeling injury sites, non-healing or abnormal scarring, tingling or numbness at the injury site (indicating nerve damage), inability to use muscles surrounding the injury, cracking or popping sounds at the injury site, and severe, persistent pain. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is crucial to seek help from a qualified medical provider.
Proving Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue car accident settlement amounts vary significantly, with one of the key factors being the availability of direct medical evidence to support your claim. Proving soft tissue injuries like whiplash can be more challenging than proving contusions or herniated discs. Your complaints of pain can serve as direct evidence, but it is essential to gather additional types of evidence, such as photographs of the accident scene and your injuries, medical test results, medical records, a pain journal documenting your recovery process and concerns, and employment records. It is also advisable to avoid posting about your case on social media while it is ongoing.
Soft Tissue Injury Treatments and Recovery
The recovery time for soft tissue injuries depends on their severity. Resting and allowing the body to heal naturally, elevating the affected area to reduce swelling, applying ice or cold compresses, using bandages or braces to immobilize the area, and participating in rehabilitative therapy are examples of treatment options. Severe soft tissue damage may require surgery to achieve maximum physical recovery.
The Road to Recovery
Recovering from a soft tissue injury varies based on the severity, with three grades used to classify the seriousness of an injury.
– Grade 1
Grade 1 injuries are not severe and generally heal with minor intervention. Rest, ice or cold compresses, and over-the-counter pain medications are typically sufficient. Complete healing usually occurs within a few days to a few weeks.
– Grade 2
Grade 2 injuries are more serious and take longer to heal compared to Grade 1. Medical treatment beyond simple home remedies may be necessary. Cortisone injections and physical rehabilitation therapy may be required, and recovery can span several months.
– Grade 3
Grade 3 injuries are the most severe, often resulting in permanent damage. Even when damage is not permanent, full use of the affected area may be lost for an extended period. Treatment may continue for months or even years, with surgical intervention sometimes necessary to correct tissue damage.
Seeking Fair Compensation
Securing fair compensation for soft tissue injuries can be challenging but not impossible. The amount of your settlement depends on your economic and non-economic losses, as well as the strength of your evidence. Additionally, the quality and tenacity of your legal representation play a significant role. It is crucial to convey the unique impact of your soft tissue injury to the insurance company, as these injuries affect individuals differently. Soft tissue injury settlements for car accidents can range from $10,000 to $200,000 or more, depending on the circumstances. However, it is important to remember that injuries to areas such as the wrists and ankles typically result in lower settlement amounts.
Partnering with an Experienced Legal Team
Navigating the complexities of soft tissue injury claims requires the support of an experienced legal partner. The dedicated team at Garrity Traina has over eight decades of combined trial experience, a proven track record of significant settlements, and numerous satisfied clients who have obtained justice. As local attorneys with comprehensive knowledge of the Indiana court system and the intricacies of the legal landscape, Garrity Traina is well-equipped to fight for your rights. Contact Garrity Traina today for a free case evaluation. We proudly serve clients in Gary, Crown Point, Hammond, Merrillville, Portage, Valparaiso, and elsewhere in Northwest Indiana.
Embracing the Journey to Recovery
The duration of soft tissue injury recovery varies depending on the severity of the injury. While the process may seem daunting, with the right support and treatment, you can overcome these challenges. Garrity Traina is ready to stand by your side, guiding you through the recovery process and helping you seek the fair compensation you deserve.