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Soft Tissue Injuries After A Car Accident
A soft tissue injury is generally trauma that occurs to muscles, tendons, or ligaments in a hyperextension whiplash accident. Many soft tissue injuries happen as a result of sudden or unexpected movements, such as being whipped backwards, stepping awkwardly, playing sports, or being involved in a car accident.
The fast and sudden change in direction that is associated with a car accident causes a reaction in the body known as muscle spasm, which is involuntary muscle contractions. The body reacts to the violent forces motion causes excessive movement of a joint in one direction in certain muscle groups, the nervous system can go into fight or flight shock, and the ligaments become more relaxed to handle the impact. So, while not nearly as severe as broken bones or a brain injury, soft tissue damage can be painful, stressful, and difficult to overcome.
How Much is a Soft Tissue Injury Worth?
When you hear the word “soft,” you may assume that the injury is minor, minimal, or overblown. But a soft tissue injury is much more serious than a minor injury and can lead to complications if not addressed.
Other than your word, there is no hard proof that you have suffered a soft tissue injury. This is just the reality of the situation, but it’s not the end of the road. You are simply faced with a larger burden than others when it comes to proving your injuries and medical treatment.
A personal injury attorney that handles car accident cases should be experienced handling soft tissue injury claims. Countless number of factors go into determining the value of your case, and as explained above, soft tissue injury cases are usually met with suspicion by the insurance company for the following reasons:
• Lack of objective evidence. It goes without saying that the most important evidence in a car accident case is medical records. These records establish proof of your injury, outline the treatment you have received, and how much you have suffered due to the accident. The medical treatment evidence may establish important facts that help determine the value of your case. With soft tissue injuries, the insurance company will attempt to discredit your injuries in a number of ways. They will say the injury isn’t serious, that you were injured in some other way, or that your pain is made up. With advances in medical technology such as CT-scan, X-rays, MRIs, and other diagnostic tools, giving objective evidence is as simple as having the right tests done.
The right lawyer can help you bolster your case by helping you to document your injuries, how the injuries have affected your life and what treatment is necessary to overcome the injuries. If your injuries are well-documented and the case is strong, the insurance company will have a difficult time ignoring or denying your claim.
What’s an Average Soft Tissue Injury Settlement?
Soft tissue injuries are a broad category, and the value of a case varies greatly. What one person received in settlement money may be much different from what you may receive, based on a long list of factors that can vary unpredictably from case to case. Achieving the maximum settlement value depends on the specifc facts of the individual case.
The average payout for soft tissue injuries follows the same basic calculation formula, as victims are looking for maximum money compensation for the following types of damages:
• Medical bills. This includes the cost of all medical treatment you have received, continue to receive, and will receive in the future as a result of your accident and soft tissue injuries. Emergency care, rehabilitation, doctor visits, chiropractor visits, physical therapy, crutches, braces, bandages, etc., are all included in this section of your claim for damages.
• Lost wages/earning potential. Auto accidents that result in soft tissue injuries often force the victim to miss time from work. In some cases, the injuries do not allow the victim to return to full capacity. Time missed from work can cause your wage claim to add up quickly and should be a big piece of your settlement demand, especailly if you have excess wage loss not covered by Michigan PIP no fault insurance.
• Pain and suffering. This factor is heavily influenced by the amount of time you treat and unpaid medical bills that a victim has. Generally, the more severe the injuries and pain, the greater the amount of pain and suffering that is applied to a claim. Emotional stress, PTSD and anxiety are very serious conditions that can happen as a result of a car accident and should be taken seriously by the insurance company.
Your claim for soft tissue injury damages will also be affected by how much you were at fault in the accident. If you were partially or mostly at fault for the collision, an adjuster will likely lower your settlement offer to reflect your responsibility for the accident. If the other driver was admittewd to being totally at fault, you should not have to be concerned about your settlement being impacted because of your own actions or inactions.
Some Examples of Soft Tissue Injury Payouts
The following are actual real life examples of soft tissue injury settlements from the attorneys at Bloomfield Hills-based Dedvukaj Law Firm:
• $925,000. Our client received a settlement after he suffered a serious injury to his spine resulting in herniated disc surgery. His ability to perform physical activities was significantly impacted by the truck accident.
• $150,000. Settlement for our client who suffered a cervical strain in a T-bone car accident collision with a drunk driver.
• $80,000. Jury verdict for our client, an elderly man who was a driver in a vehicle that was broadsided. He suffered a bulging disc and whiplash.
• $95,000. Settlement for our client, a woman who was rear-ended at a stop light and suffered serious whiplash injury.
Consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss the specifics of your soft tissue injury claim to get a better idea of what your injuries are worth.
Soft Tissue Injury Settlement Calculator
Your soft tissue injuries are unique, and the services of the right personal injury attorney can make the difference in receiving just a couple hundred dollars, and potentially thousands. Unfortunatekt, there is no “settlement calculator” that exists that can accurately predict 100% of your accident claim. There are simply too many variables that can affect the outcome of a personal injury case.
The Joseph Dedvukaj personal injury law firm handles soft tissue cases and offers free consultations or case evaluations. There is no fee or upfront cost to speak with accident attorneys at the Joseph Dedvukaj Firm about the specifics of your case, your legal options, determine your claim value, your injuries, and the next steps in your recovery process.
Soft Tissue Injury Settlement Guidelines
If you have suffered any soft tissue injury damage in an accident and are trying to get a settlement from the responsible insurance company, here are some important guidelines to keep in mind:
• The insurance company is not your friend. Remember that although you may think the insurance company is trying to help, their No. 1 goal is to make money and pay you less for your claim.
• Tell the truth, always. Don’t lie, as the insurance company’s investigation will be thorough. No reason to lie.
• Have your losses carefully calculated. Medical records, lost wage documentation, personal injury claim forms, etc., should be prepared and organized.
• Be prepared to address weaknesses. The car insurance company will do everything in their power to poke holes in your claim. Be ready to talk about any problematic areas of your case.
• Keep an eye on the statute of limitations. Any lawsuit arising from a car accident or injury must be filed within a certain time limit or your legal claim will be barred and your right to sue will be lost forever.
Common Types of Soft Tissues Injuries
Injuries to the body’s “soft” areas are classified as soft tissue injuries. When a ligament, tendon or muscle is injured in a car accident, doctors, chiropractors, insurance adjusters and lawyers will likely refer to it as a soft tissue injury.
The following are the most common types of soft tissue injuries:
• Contusion. A bruise is caused by a direct impact to a body part that crushes underlying muscle fibers and connective tissue. While this type of injury does not break the skin, blood pools beneath the skin and causes swelling. In car accidents, victims often suffer contusions by slamming into the steering wheel, console, or seat belt.
• Sprain. A sprain happens when a mucle or ligament is damaged due to the overextension of a joint. In an auto collision, sprains can occur when the impact jolts the victim, and a joint is impacted.
• Strain. Ligaments and muscles are bands of connective tissue that connect one bone to another. A strain is when these muscles or ligaments can be stretched or torn.
• Tendonitis. The inflammation of a tendon is called tendonitis.
• Bursitis. The inflammation of the bursa — a fluid-filled sac that provides cushion between bones, muscles, or tendons — is known as bursitis. This is typically an overuse injury but can be aggravated by a car accident.
• Whiplash. This is the main type of ligament strain associated with car wrecks and is known as whiplash injury. When the collision causes the victim’s head and neck to move violently back and forth, the ligaments undergo stress, and the result is acute pain. Victims may think they have whiplash, but in some cases might be suffering from spondylosis or spondylolisthesis, a degenerative condition in the spine.
What are the Symptoms of a Soft Tissue Injury?
The most common symptoms that signal that soft tissue damage has occurred range depending on the injury. Victims may experience a stiff neck, neck, or back pain, as well as memory loss and a lack of concentration. It’s important that you see a medical professional immediately after an accident to get a full diagnosis, as there might be underlying more serious injuries.
In general, soft tissue injuries cause pain, discomfort, soreness, bruising, swelling and stiffness. It may be disappointing to learn that there is very little a physician can do to relieve these symptoms, as they can greatly impact a victim’s activities of daily living and quality of life.
Depending on the severity of the crash, accident victims may feel these symptoms immediately after the collision, or the pain may not be felt for days or weeks after the incident. Every injury is different, and only a medical professional with the help of X-rays and other imaging can determine the full scope of your injuries and make sure something more serious isn’t present.
How to Treat a Soft Tissue Injury
Once you have seen a medical professional to determine the severity of your soft tissue injuries, they may direct you to use the R.I.C.E. treatment method. The plan is simply used to alleviate many symptoms of soft tissue damage and allow healing. The acronym RICE stands for the following:
• Rest. Take time off to ease the burden on your body following a car accident and do not attempt to do any difficult physical maneuvers, as it may only make things worse.
• Ice. Cold packs are generally used for 20 minutes a day, several times a day to reduce the pain. Accomplished by placing a washcloth, plastic bag or towel between the ice and the skin.
• Compression. Used to reduce swelling, and compress the area with a tight bandage.
• Elevation. Elevate the injury higher than the heart to reduce swelling.
If you are unable to put weight on the injury or there is an unusual amount of pain or swelling, there can be a more serious issue damage than is obvious to the naked eye. After a car accident, it’s best to have a full examination at the hospital.
A chiropractor can develop a treatment plan designed to target the injury and get you back feeling better. Therapists will also teach you exercises to gain back range of motion, flexibility, strength, and balance.
How Long Does it Take for a Soft Tissue Injury to Heal?
Your reecovery time cannot be known, as factors such as age, health, and occupation influence how quickly you will be back to full health. The following are general level of soft tissue severity:
• Grade 1 (mild). The lowest form of soft tissue injury, a Grade 1 injury includes mild tenderness and minimal swelling. These injuries usually take 1-2 weeks to health.
• Grade 2 (moderate). The second degree of injury includes moderate pain, possible partial tears of fibers, and a potential problem putting weight on the injury. The recovery time is usually 3-4 weeks.
• Grade 3 (severe). An inability to use the injured structure and significant pain and swelling. Immediate medical treatment is needed. These soft tissue injuries are serious and take months to heal from.
Can Soft Tissue Damage be Permanent?
Accidents that leave victims with soft tissue damage are generally regarded as less severe than other accidents, but the effects of the injuries can be felt for a long time.
Contusions (internal bruising) mean blood pools around an injury site. In some instances severe contusions can lead to permanent soft tissue damage. And when bones and muscles are supported by soft tissue (tendons, ligaments) that is damaged, a person may suffer decreased functioning in their hands, arms, and legs.
Receiving prompt medical care after an accident can go a long way toward identifying potential long-term issues and treating those soft tissue injuries. A failure to receive treatment can cause soft tissue injuries to develop into permanent and more serious injuries.
Is a Herniated Disc a Soft Tissue Injury?
A herniated disc injury is considered a soft tissue injury. A herniated disc is a disc located in between the vertebrae in the spine that ruptures due to trauma. This allows the jelly-like center of the disc to leak out, irritating or pinching the nearby nerves. This can cause sciatica or back pain.
Herniated discs are quite common in car accidents due to the sudden and severe impact of the crash. The unnatural movement associated with being suddenly forced in a direction can wreak havoc on a person’s back and neck, leaving them with complications and a potentially grueling road to recovery.
Free Consultation with Detroit Injury Lawyers
To access the best resources available and get the most money for your soft tissue damage and determine whether a lawsuit is viable, seek the counsel of an experienced injury attorney.
Dedvukaj Law Firm attorney Joseph Dedvukaj has over 27 years of experience representing victims of auto accidents in Michigan. He has helped recover hundreds of millions for his clients and has the knowledge and financial resources to properly investigate and win your case.
For a free case evaluation at Dedvukaj Law Law Firm, call 248-352-2110, or toll free at 866-HIRE-JOE to get started.
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The Joseph Dedvukaj Firm, P.C. is located in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and serves the entire State of Michigan. Past results are not a guarantee of future results, and the outcome of your particular case or matter cannot be predicted using a lawyer’s or law firm’s past results. Contacting us through our website does not create an attorney-client privilege. This website is attorney advertising.
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