About 43% of car accidents result in injuries, which is about 1 in every 4 accidents. If you recently have been involved in one, it’s important that you file a personal injury case to get compensation for medical bills, loss of income, and more. Here’s a look at post-accident soft tissue injuries and how they impact your auto accident legal claim.
What Is a Soft Tissue Injury?
A soft tissue injury occurs when someone incurs damage to muscles, ligaments, or tendons. Most people sustain them after a sudden, uncontrolled, and unexpected movement. Because of this, they are common after jerky movements during auto accidents.
There are other reasons for soft tissue damage as well. You may roll your ankle or simply overexert and fatigue certain muscle groups. If you strain yourself during exercise, for example, you may experience a soft tissue injury.
Common Soft Tissue Injuries
There are many common soft tissue injuries, including:
- Sprained ankles
- Sprained wrists
- Back strain
- Calf strain
- Hamstring strain
Sprains occur when a ligament is overstretched. When the overstretching occurs to muscles or tendons, they are called “strains.” Both of these injuries are extremely common.
Grade 1 mild sprains/strains occur as a result of minimal overstretching. You’ll experience a small amount of tenderness and a little bit of swelling. Generally, these injuries heal quickly on their own. These injuries are extremely common after small auto accidents including fender-benders.
Grade 2 moderate sprains/strains involve moderate pain, tenderness, and swelling. This is because muscle fibers have withstood tearing. You probably won’t be able to apply any pressure to the injury without experiencing pain.
Grade 3 sprains/strains are a result of muscle rupture and cause more severe pain and swelling. You may have instability in the injured joint or even be unable to use it.
Grade 2 and Grade 3 injuries are also common after car accidents. Getting rear-ended can cause a lot of neck strain. For example, whiplash is a soft tissue injury commonly associated with car accidents and can range from mild to severe.
The Recovery Process for Soft Tissue Injuries
Recovering from a soft tissue injury generally takes about 6 weeks. However, note that the length of recovery may vary depending on external factors. Those who smoke or suffer from diabetes may have a longer recovery period.
It may also take longer for symptoms to go away after the injury heals. You may still feel pain and discomfort as well as decreased strength for a few months.
Determining If You Should Go to the Hospital
Victims of car accidents should always seek medical treatment, as it’s the only accurate way to determine if injuries were sustained. You especially must see a doctor if you:
- Heard a pop or crack when sustaining the injury
- See a strange deformity near the injury
- Feel pain in surrounding bones (you may have a fracture)
- Can’t put weight on the injured structure without serious pain
- Numbness and pain either at the site of the injury or anyone else in the body (could be a sign of nerve/spinal damage, which can cause serious long-term issues)
Unfortunately, many people choose not to get damage to muscles examined for financial reasons. Soft tissue injuries caused by car accidents are often paid for by the at-fault party’s insurance. If you hire a quality car accident lawyer, they can negotiate with the insurance agency to get you a fair settlement that pays your medical bills.
Treatment for Soft Tissue Injuries
First, protect the injured area and engage in some gentle, pain-free stretches. If an exercise causes even mild pain, do not do it. Your goal is to stop any activity that may make the injury worse.
Use crutches to take the weight off your injury and protect arm/shoulder injuries with slings. Additionally, you can use the RICE recovery method. RICE means “rest, ice, compression, and elevation.”
Lie back and put no pressure on the injury while putting a paper-towel-wrapped ice pack on the affected area. Apply a tight bandage to the entirety of the injured joint, but make sure that it does not cut off any circulation. Elevate the limb above the heart to reduce swelling.
In more severe cases, you may also want to see a physiotherapist. They can confirm how much damage your tissue sustained and provide you with care to decrease swelling. This is a great way to get advice that assists with recovery.
There are also some things to avoid during an injury. Heat can increase swelling, as can alcohol and massage. Your goal is to limit blood flow so that swelling goes down, and all of these factors will increase it and make the injury worse.
Getting Compensation After an Auto Accident
When you sustain soft tissue injuries after an auto accident, medical bills can be high. This is especially true in the case of more severe injuries. You also will likely lose hours at work and suffer a loss of income, which can be detrimental to your ability to provide for yourself and your family.
However, if you can prove that the other party was at fault for your accident, you can get compensation for these losses. An experienced attorney can help you to better understand your claim and reach a fair settlement. This will give you the financial resources necessary to get through your injury and the loss of income that it has provided.
An attorney can talk to witnesses, look at camera footage, and recreate the accident. They can also negotiate expertly with insurance companies and defense attorneys. In the end, investing in a quality car crash lawyer can help you get through this trying time.
Talk to an Experienced Lawyer Today
Soft tissue injuries are a common problem that people face after car accidents. Luckily, if you have been faced with such physical damage, getting compensation is simple with the right attorney.
Heritage Accident Lawyers specializes in vehicle accidents, so our attorneys have dedicated all of their focus to cases like yours. Contact us if you want to join the ranks of the 99% of cases we have won for clients who required justice.