Compensation for Soft Tissue Injuries After a Car Accident

Obtaining compensation for soft tissue injuries can present challenges

Most of us divide car accidents into “serious” or “minor” classifications based on the perceived severity of the injuries sustained by the victims in the crash. While this may be a useful distinction for some, the fact is that even “minor” car accidents are often traumatic for the victims. This is especially true when victims sustain injuries of soft tissues. In those cases, the victims may truly be injured but may be discouraged from pursuing damages because of the perception that they “were not really hurt.”

What Are Soft Tissue Injuries?

Soft tissue injuries refer to damage to the parts of the body that are not made of bony material. This includes ligaments, tendons and muscles. Many car accidents cause serious soft tissue injuries that do not immediately manifest symptoms, making these types of injuries difficult to spot.

Car accidents generate a great deal of physical force. The occupants of a vehicle come to a quick stop when the car collides with another vehicle or a stationary object; this sudden stop means that momentum can cause them to be thrown around the vehicle or ejected. Even victims who are safely belted in can be thrown forward and backward with violent force during a crash.

However, the pain from these injuries may not be immediately apparent. It has long been noted that a psychological effect of sudden stressors, like a crash, can be blockage of pain. This is a way the body protects itself in dangerous situations; however, this reaction can also mask a painful injury, making the victim believe he or she has not sustained any damage.

What Are The Most Common Types of Injuries?

The most common soft tissue injury is whiplash. The term “whiplash” does not refer to a specific, recognized injury but rather to a group of injuries that result from the head being suddenly and violently thrown forward and then backward, as often occurs in a rear-end collision.

While other soft tissue damage can occur during a car accident, whiplash-type injuries are by far the most commonly seen by doctors. The problem is that it is very difficult to identify whiplash because the symptoms may not appear for some time after the crash.

What Happens When You Have A Whiplash Injury?

Whiplash can take many forms. It may begin as a sharp or a dull pain in the neck, back, shoulders or head. It can cause headaches, blurred vision or muscle cramps. Typically, soft tissue damage results in swelling and reduced mobility, but depending on the location of the injury, whiplash may not manifest these symptoms. Most importantly, it can take days or weeks for whiplash symptoms to fully develop.

If you have been in a car crash, the first and most important step you must take is to seek medical treatment. You should have a thorough examination to note the possibility of any soft tissue damage, even if you do not feel immediate pain. You should also follow up with your doctor if you develop pain in the days following the accident.

Next, you should talk to a personal injury attorney about your injuries. An attorney may be able to help you recover compensation. Never sign any releases or settle a car accident case until you know the full extent of your injuries.