What Is Soft Tissue Injury in an Accident?
If you suffer stiffness while moving or general pain or soreness after an accident, you might have experienced soft tissue injury. If it stemmed from the actions of another party, damage compensation for the injury is possible.
What Is Soft Tissue Injury?
Soft tissue is any part of your body that is not bone (tendons, discs, muscles, ligaments, nerves, and so on). Soft tissue injury can result from blows, extreme movement, or strains to soft tissue. These injuries can occur in car and other vehicle accidents, for example, where parts of a car or other hard objects impact the body.
Soft tissue injury can occur in many places in the body. Wrists, ankles, shoulders, and necks can suffer sprains and strains. Whiplash, for example, is a strain or partial sprain to the neck. Conditions such as tendonitis and bursitis can result from soft tissue injuries. Muscles, ligaments, connective tissue, and other soft tissues can suffer bruising, tearing, strain, or other damage.
Some soft tissue injuries heal fairly quickly with the right treatment. A sprained ankle, for example, can resolve. But, many victims of soft tissue injuries develop long-term conditions that can become more serious. Impact on muscles, for example, can result in myofascial pain, where the symptoms are primarily pain, soreness, and stiffness.
However, sufferers could develop myofascial pain syndrome, which can include depression, fatigue, and disturbances in behavior. Symptoms of whiplash can include neck, back, and shoulder pain, numbness, dizziness, and psychological symptoms such as challenges with memory or concentration, sleep disturbances, fatigue, and irritability.
Who May Be Responsible if I Have Suffered a Soft Tissue Injury in an Accident?
If you are in an accident that is the fault of another party, that party may have been acting negligently. A driver who is speeding and cannot stop at an intersection, for example, is likely driving carelessly and negligently as a result.
Negligent parties may be held liable for injuries caused directly by their negligence. Liability is financial responsibility. If your soft tissue injuries result from a car accident caused by another driver, for example, that driver (or the insurance company) is arguably financially responsible for your soft tissue and other injuries, as long as they stem from the accident and no other cause.
Why? Texas is a fault state for car insurance. People injured by a careless driver can either bring a third-party suit to the at-fault party’s insurance carrier or seek damages in a personal injury suit.
While vehicle accidents frequently result in soft tissue injuries, other types of accidents can also cause them. Slipping and falling on a slick floor at the local mall can damage your soft tissues, as can construction accidents and a wide variety of other accidents. The common denominator is that, if another party is at fault and negligent, you could either approach their insurance carrier or bring a lawsuit.
What Should I Do After I Am Injured?
If you are in a vehicle accident, do not leave the scene (unless your injuries require immediate emergency care). Wait for the police to arrive. Obtain a copy of the police report. Exchange insurance and contact information with all other drivers.
If you carry a smartphone, take pictures of the accident scene. Pictures can help indicate how an accident happened, and thus who (or what) may be held responsible for it.
If you are in another type of accident, such as a slip and fall, let a manager or other responsible party know. Again, take pictures of the accident scene.
Pictures of your injuries could prove to be invaluable evidence of your injuries and their severity. Even though soft tissue injuries do not always leave physical marks, indications of impact, such as bruising or cuts, can indicate that your tissues could also have suffered damage. Taking pictures of your injuries as soon as possible is therefore very prudent.
Seek a Medical Evaluation
See a doctor as soon as possible when you are in an accident so you can undergo an examination for possible injuries. Your health and safety after an accident should receive top priority.
Soft tissue injuries do not always manifest right away. People can feel fine after an accident, but wake up with pain, stiffness, and soreness—all symptoms of soft tissue injuries. Dizziness and having trouble concentrating can also take a while to surface. As a result, see a doctor if you develop symptoms like this after an accident.
Seeing a doctor can help ensure that you receive proper treatment, such as physical therapy or pain medication. Keep all records of doctor’s appointments, diagnostic tests, as well as records of medical treatment recommendations. Follow all the recommendations.
Keep All Records
Keep records for your health—but records have another important function. They constitute evidence of your injuries. Soft tissue injuries are sometimes tough to prove because they do not always leave a physical record (other than the pain in your body, which is real but hard to objectively measure). If you have strained a muscle or ligament, for example, X-rays and other diagnostic tests may show nothing. But, if you have broken a bone, an A-ray could indicate the break.
As a result, insurance companies sometimes refuse to settle a claim for a soft tissue injury. They may argue that there is no physical evidence. But by seeing a doctor and having medical records documenting your symptoms as described and witnessed by a doctor, the amount of potentially powerful evidence increases for you in your case. Pictures of other injuries, such as bruises and lacerations, can help show the damage to your body. Pictures of the accident scene can also bear powerful evidence of the damage done to you.
It is a good idea to work with a lawyer to negotiate with insurance companies, as the insurance companies might refuse or minimize a soft tissue injury claim.
Seek Compensation From the At-Fault Party
If your injuries stem from the actions of another party, you could seek damage compensation in the following categories.
- Medical bills for doctor’s visits, hospitalizations, surgery, diagnostic tests, physical therapy, prescription medication, assistive devices, and more.
- Income lost from work for wages withheld from you due to time off work because of the accident or recovery period.
- Pain and suffering for physical, mental, and emotional suffering.