What is a Soft Tissue Injury in a Car Accident?
Car accident injuries can run the gamut from minor bumps and cuts to fractured bones and loss of limb. The impact of a crash can also create soft tissue injuries–one of the most overlooked but potentially damaging types of bodily harm.
This is characterized as any damage to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, or fascia in the body. These injuries commonly stem from sprains, strains, or contusions sustained in a low-velocity collision.
Though they are not as obvious as a broken bone or a laceration, they can be just as serious, necessitating surgery, weeks of physiotherapy, medication, and a long recovery.
Trauma to ligaments, muscles, and tendons
Many people are familiar with the term “whiplash,” a common type of soft tissue injury seen in rear-end collisions. Without proper treatment, whiplash can be exceedingly painful and cause mobility problems, degenerative disc disease, chronic headaches, as well as numbness in the hands.
Unfortunately, soft tissue injuries are more difficult for a personal injury lawyer to prove in the aftermath of an accident. Victims may be accused of exaggerating their pain and suffering since soft tissue injuries aren’t visible to the naked eye. Sprains and contusions do not show up on X-rays, and even more advanced tests like MRIs may fail to identify trauma.
Despite these obstacles, victims can still recover fair compensation with appropriate legal representation. Our experienced New York City car accident lawyers can demonstrate the severity of your injuries and substantiate the validity of your claim.
Types of soft tissue injuries common in accidents
These injuries are caused by a sudden, forceful movement or blow to the body that is common in auto accidents. Symptoms of trauma to the soft tissues can take a few days to appear and may include: swelling, pain, stiffness, nausea, blurred vision, skin discoloration, muscle spasms, “popping” feelings, headaches, and loss of weight-bearing ability. Some people will experience cognitive or behavioral issues that affect concentration and mood.
The following are the most common soft tissue injuries resulting from automobile accidents:
- Contusion – A contusion is usually caused by blunt-force impact, such as striking the steering wheel or airbag. The result is discoloration (bruising) caused by bleeding under the skin, as well as pain and swelling.
- Strain – A strain is a partial or complete tear to the tendon or muscle, causing pain, inflammation, and cramping. These injuries are typically the result of hyperflexion of the tendon or muscle.
- Sprain – A sprain usually affects the knee, wrist, elbow, or ankle and is caused by a sudden twisting, rolling or turning movement. Swelling and pain are the main symptoms of a sprain, in which the ligaments and tendons of a joint are over-stressed or damaged.
- Whiplash – This is a soft tissue injury that occurs when the head is violently jerked back and forth. This motion can damage the ligaments, vertebral discs, nerves, and muscles of the neck.
- Tendonitis and Bursitis: Direct trauma to a joint can result in tendonitis — inflammation of the tendon and bursitis– inflammation of the fluid-filled sac between muscle and tendon or bone. These can cause soreness and limited mobility in the shoulders, knees, hips, elbows, ankles, and feet.
After being in any motor vehicle accident, it’s imperative to get a complete physical examination as soon as possible. Even if you feel fine, remember that symptoms of whiplash and other soft tissue injuries can take longer to appear. A prompt medical diagnosis is key to getting the treatment necessary to recover. If you do not follow-up with treatment, this can raise red flags, prompting insurance companies to deny or underpay your claim.
Contact us at Douglas and London today
Keep all diagnostic and medical records and call us for a free consultation. Our New York City personal injury lawyers are familiar with the complexities of proving soft tissue injuries and can fight for the money damages you rightfully deserve. There are no upfront fees since we operate on a contingency basis and only get paid if we win or settle your case.