Car Accidents & Soft Tissue Injuries
Every day millions of Americans get behind the wheel of a car. And millions more ride along as passengers. With so many vehicles on the road, it is no surprise that accidents are a common occurrence in the United States. While some collisions involve major impacts and severe injuries, other less serious accidents can still result in personal injury.
The body’s soft tissues – muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and blood vessels – are particularly vulnerable to trauma. Soft tissue injuries are categorized into three different types: Sprains, Strains and Contusions. Sprains involve the stretching of ligaments due to joints being overextended. Strains relate to tears of the muscles and tendons. And Contusions are bruises caused by burst vessels that trap blood below the skin’s surface.
Car Insurance companies tend to argue that soft-tissue cases cause only minor problems. But there are several reasons that these types of injuries should be given greater consideration. Soft tissue injuries can result in swelling, tenderness, inflammation, stiffness, soreness, limited range of motion and headaches. These symptoms can be painful, persistent and last for months if not years. Sometimes, they lead to additional complications such as fibromyalgia.
Sprain/strain type injuries to the spine can result in post-traumatic osteoarthritis and scar tissue formation. Scar tissue is not as elastic as original tissue and can cause chronic problems such as weakness, instability and biomechanical abnormalities. If left untreated, these conditions could result in a weakened spinal joint structure. Even for those who have been responsive to treatment, some will experience exacerbations and will require additional treatment down the road.
Although many symptoms manifest themselves immediately after an accident, a surge in adrenaline and endorphins can temporarily block or relieve pain to help cope with the stress of the experience. This delayed onset of symptoms may lead some to believe they weren’t injured at all. But as the body’s natural coping mechanisms gradually subside, pain, discomfort and stiffness typically emerge.
The most important thing for you to do after a crash is to get the treatment you need. Seeking immediate medical attention following an accident is critical. Evaluation and treatment by a well- regarded medical doctor, osteopath or chiropractor is key to recovering more quickly and having your injuries and symptoms documented right away. An experienced attorney will assist you in making arrangements for medical care, even if you do not have health insurance to pay for it.
The aftermath of a car accident can often be overwhelming. Having a reputable personal injury attorney guide you through the process will give you peace of mind so you can focus on getting better. Soft tissue claims are often hard to prove and insurance companies can be very cynical of them. Keep in mind that the adjustor’s goal is to settle claims quickly and for the least amount possible. But an experienced attorney can present your claim to the insurance company in a thorough and convincing manner and discuss your options if a fair settlement cannot be reached.
Ralph J. Blake