The most common injuries suffered in auto accidents are known as soft tissue injuries. The musculoskeletal system supports the human body, and soft tissue injuries can occur at any location in a car accident victim’s musculoskeletal system. That system consists of a person’s bones, cartilage, ligaments, tendons and connective tissues. Soft tissue injuries vary in their type and extent.
Some Common Soft Tissue Injuries:
As per the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, soft tissue injuries are musculoskeletal in nature. Some of the more common soft tissue injuries that auto accident victims suffer follow:
- Strains: A strain occurs when a muscle or the tendon attached to it are stretched too far. Microtears result. A strain is often called a pulled muscle.
- Sprains: A sprain is a more serious injury than a strain. The Cleveland Clinic refers to a sprain as when a ligament is stretched or torn within a joint. They might be microtears, partial tears or complete tears that can lead to surgery.
- Contusions: Johns Hopkins Medical relates that contusion is a bruise that is often caused by blunt force trauma. With a contusion, there will be pain, swelling and discoloration.
Grades of Soft Tissue Injuries:
A victim’s soft tissue injury will be classified with a grade level. A grade one or mild injury will involve 5% of less of a tendon, ligament or joint. A grade two injury will involve up to 50%. A grade three injury will involve 100% of the tendon, ligament or joint. An even more severe grade 4 level injury exists. It involves an avulsion and a complete tear of a ligament from a bone.
Treatment of Acute Soft Tissue Injuries:
Initial treatment for most soft tissue injuries consists of the RICE method which is highly successful. RICE is an acronym for rest, ice, compression and elevation.
- Rest: Victims should take a break from their usual and customary activities, especially if the injury involves a knee or ankle. Crutches might be in order for a few days.
- Ice: Intermittent cold packs should be applied for about 20 minutes a day intermittently during the period of rest.
- Compression: Use an elastic bandage around the affected area.
- Elevation: Keeping the injury elevated higher than the heart can help reduce swelling.
Whiplash is a common musculoskeletal injury to the neck that can result from just about any type of car crash. The Mayo Clinic attributes the cause of a whiplash injury to a rapid and forceful back and forth motion of the neck, similar to the cracking of a whip. That neck motion can take less than a single second to occur, but the residual symptoms of a serious whiplash injury can stay with a victim for a lifetime.
Some Common Symptoms of a Whiplash Injuries:
The Colorado Comprehensive Spine Institute relates that the neck is especially vulnerable to soft tissue injuries because of its complex anatomy and its range of motion. Severe whiplash can also affect neck muscles, ligaments, intervertebral discs and spinal nerves. Some common symptoms might include the following:
- Neck stiffness, tenderness and loss of range of motion.
- Headaches, dizziness and blurry vision.
- Ringing in the ears.
- Neck pain, shoulder pain, arm pain and tingling down an arm and into a hand.
- Weakness in the affected arm and hand.
Auto accident victims who suffer any of the above symptoms should seek an immediate emergency room examination and evaluation.
Taking Legal Action in California After Suffering a Soft Tissue Injury
Upon suffering a soft tissue injury, a victim doesn’t know how serious it might end up being. Some injuries to the neck require surgery, implantation of hardware and rehab. One thing that’s nearly certain is that when somebody suffers soft tissue injurie as a result of the carelessness and negligence of another person or entity, he or she is likely eligible for compensation for their injuries and damages. An experienced and dedicated California car accident lawyer from Maison Law can investigate an accident, determine who might be at fault and aggressively pursue the maximum compensation that a victim deserves for their injuries and damages. Pursuant to California law, those damages are allowed to include any of the following:
- Past and future medical bills.
- Lost earnings from work and any diminished future earnings.
- Pain and suffering.
- Any permanent disfigurement or disability.
- Diminished enjoyment of life.
What is the Value of a Soft Tissue Injury Case?
First and foremost, stay away from online injury value calculators that you input some information in, and the calculator gives you a number. An injury victim can’t possibly input all relevant information into one of those calculators. They’re made to get clients in the door of the attorney’s law firm. They should probably be noted as being for amusement purposes only. Second of all, if you consult with an attorney and he or she places a value on your case in that initial conference, you’re either being told what you might want to hear, or the attorney has no real experience in personal injury law. A value shouldn’t be placed on any personal injury case without a thorough evaluation of all appropriate information by an experienced California car accident attorney. That’s because a soft tissue injury case can carry a value of four figures up to $1 million or more. Here are a few examples of some soft tissue settlements and verdicts:
- $70,000 in Wisconsin when a driver turned left in front of another 22-year-old driver who was traveling straight ahead. The victim complained of severe muscle and tendon pain in the middle back.
- $134,000 for a 55-year-old female in a rear-end collision in Illinois. She claimed neck and back pain and a closed head injury. Defendant claimed a light impact occurred with no body damage, but the victim’s trailer hitch was bent upward from the impact.
- $17,000 on a whiplash case in Illinois when the claimant was rear-ended in a construction zone when she stopped for a flagman. Almost all treatment was chiropractic with about $5,000 in damages.
- $32,000 for lower back strain/sprain in a rear-end minor impact soft tissue injury collision in Los Angeles County.
- $292,000 for neck injuries in a U-turn crash in San Diego County. Defendant disputed the nature and extent of the injury.
- $952,000 in Los Angeles County when a pedestrian was hit by a car backing out of a space in a parking lot. Defendant claimed light impact and that mere soft tissue injuries were suffered.
Contact a California Car Accident Lawyer
Many soft tissue injury cases involve light impacts. Unlike fractures that show up on an x-ray that a jury can see, soft tissue cases don’t present a picture of pain without advanced and expensive diagnostic imaging. That’s because affected muscles, tendons and ligaments don’t show up on x-rays. If you suffered a soft tissue injury in an auto accident that was caused by the carelessness and negligence of somebody else, it’s critical that you consult with and retain a California car accident lawyer who has experience in approaching and aggressively advocating for clients with such injuries in the past. To learn more about your legal rights and options in any soft tissue case, contact Maison Law for a free consultation and case evaluation.