Soft Tissue Injuries Caused by Motor Vehicle Accidents
Each and every day, millions of Americans get behind the wheel of a car and drive. Millions more ride along as passengers. With so many people on the road, it's no surprise that motor vehicle accidents are a daily occurrence. While some of these accidents are minor collisions, others can be more serious, resulting in significant property damage and personal injury.
If you haven't already been in a car accident, there is a reasonable chance that you’ll eventually be in one. This article provides information on one of the most common types of injury resulting from car accidents, soft tissue injuries.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Any injuries to the body's “soft” areas (ligaments, tendons, and muscles) are classified as soft tissue injuries. Typical examples of soft tissue injuries include:
- Sprains: damage to a ligament due to the overextension of a joint
- Contusions: bruises
- Strains: overuse of a muscle or tendon
Soft tissue injuries can cause great pain and discomfort in the form of soreness, swelling, bruising, and stiffness. These types of injuries are common in vehicle accidents because of the impact of the collisions between vehicles. Depending on how severe the crash is, the force exerted during an accident can cause vehicle occupants to be bumped around or violently jolted.
Of all the types of soft tissue injuries caused by car accidents, whiplash is by far the most common. The proper medical terms for whiplash are cervical strain/sprain or hyperextension injury. Whiplash occurs when the impact from a rear end collision forces your head and neck to move back and forth violently. Symptoms include:
- Stiffness of the neck
- Sharp neck pain
- Back problems
- Cognitive issues, such as problems with memory and concentration
These symptoms can occur immediately, but it’s not uncommon for them to gradually emerge over the course of several days following an accident.
Whiplash may seem minor at first—especially if symptoms are slow to appear—but it can cause significant injury. If left untreated, a victim can develop chronic pain and discomfort in their back and neck. Accordingly, anyone suffering from whiplash should seek medical attention, even if his or her injuries initially appear to be minor. Treatment may include immobilization (wearing a neck brace), physical therapy, or muscle relaxant medications.
As discussed above, soft tissue injuries can develop days after a car accident thus making it difficult to identify them. Further complicating the process of identifying soft tissue injuries is the fact that they don’t appear in x-rays. As a result, professional medical attention is critical for diagnosing and treating any pain. If you’re involved in litigation, records of any medical care provided may be introduced as evidence to prove the existence of an injury or the extent of the damages suffered.
In motor vehicle accidents, an important and sometimes stressful challenge is determining who was at fault for the accident. Determination of fault has significant implications that range from impacting automobile insurance rates to determining compensation from insurance companies. Police reports and traffic laws are important sources of information in this regard.
After a car accident occurs, police are often called to the scene to make sure things are under control. Police will be compiled into an official report, which often includes a determination of fault. The police are considered a respected and trustworthy third party, so these reports are often relied upon by both insurance companies and juries alike.
Traffic laws are another useful resource in determining who is at fault. There are numerous traffic laws on the books, so it’s likely that at least one or two laws will be relevant to any given car accident. For example, if a driver was supposed to yield to oncoming traffic but failed to do so, evidence of this violation would be of significant value in showing who was negligent.
Get Started Now: Have an Attorney Review Your Claim for Free
If you have suffered any injuries after being in a car accident, there may also be soft tissue damage that is not immediately apparent. A lawyer will be able to tell you whether someone was negligent or reckless in causing harm to you, and whether you might be able to collect damages to cover your losses. Have the facts of your claim reviewed by an experienced car accident attorney absolutely free to get started.