Soft tissue injuries commonly occur when the body is subjected to a sudden force or impact. Car accidents are perhaps the number one cause of soft tissue injuries, but because such injuries are not as immediate or obvious as broken bones and open wounds, it may be difficult to trace their origins. After an auto collision, a client should consult with a car accident attorney to help garner the evidence and expert witnesses needed to substantiate the causal connection between the car accident and the resulting injuries.
What is the Soft Tissue?
The soft tissue is often referred to as everything but the bones. More specifically, the soft tissue includes the supportive and connective tissue that anchors and cushions organs and also includes extraskeletal, non-connective tissue. Examples include fascia, tendons, ligaments, fibrous tissue, blood vessels, nerves, lymph vessels and muscles.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries can result from both high and low impact collisions. A sudden force of impact can cause micro-tearing or overextension of the soft tissue that may seriously affect the tissue itself and the nearby organs that it is designed to protect and support. Examples of soft tissue injuries include:
Sprains – Sprains result from the hyperextension or twisting of the ligaments supporting the joints. The severity of the injury can range from small tears of a few fibers that may heal on their own to a complete tear that requires surgery. Symptoms may include swelling, pain, weakness, tenderness, and muscle spasms.
Whiplash – Whiplash is a type of sprain that affects the ligaments supporting the head and neck. In a rear-end auto collision, the neck is forcibly jolted back-and-forth, causing the hyperextension of the neck ligaments. Symptoms can manifest within 24 hours to several days.
Symptoms include neck pain, dizziness, tingling in the arms, headaches, limited range of motion in the neck, fatigue and tenderness in shoulders and upper arms.
Strains – Strains result from the hyperextension or twisting of the tendon that anchors muscle to bone. The severity of the damage can range from microtears that may heal on their own to severe and complete tears that require surgery.
Contusions – Contusions (or bruises) result when the blood vessels have been damaged or ruptured. Subcutaneous contusions result in a bluish discoloration of the skin. More serious contusions may occur due to a damaged artery or vein and are usually the result of traumatic injuries such as those experienced in a car accident. They can be life threatening and require medical treatment.
Herniated Discs – As the spine is jostled during a car wreck, the fluid-filled pads, or discs, that cushion the vertebrae may tear. These tears allow the gelatinous fluid in the discs to leak over time and push on nearby nerves. Although some people are not affected by their herniated discs, others may experience pain, numbness, weakness and tingling and eventually require surgery.
Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MPS) – The fascia is the connective tissue surrounding the muscle. When a traumatic event occurs, damage to the fascia of the muscle can cause chronic pain; however, MPS is tricky. Often the actual injury site may not be the site where the pain is felt. The injury site creates a trigger point that causes pain in other locations of the body. As such, the pain felt may actually be “referred pain.”
Why You Need an Experience Car Accident Attorney
Soft tissue injuries often manifest symptoms over the course of days or even weeks after the accident. In some cases, the injuries may heal themselves, but other injuries may require medical intervention or may become chronic issues that affect the individual’s quality of life. Acute and chronic injuries can temporarily or permanently affect an individual’s ability to earn a living. Pain from injuries diminishes overall quality of life and may lead to depression.
An experienced car accident attorney can refer you to medical specialist(s) who are skilled in treating soft tissue injuries and knowledgable on how to properly document these injuries in their medical records. This will substantially increase the likelihood that the insurance company will take your soft tissue injury claim seriously. An experienced car accident attorney can also offer you opportunities to make sure that you get all of the necessary medical testing to diagnose your condition to help prove the severity of the soft tissue damage. An experienced attorney, also should be able to assemble witnesses and photographic evidence to help support your claim.
In order to effectively substantiate a claim and increase the chance of recovering compensation, the expertise of a car accident attorney is essential to help provide the necessary counsel, evidence and expert witnesses.
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