American roads are full of daily commuters, motorcyclists, and tractor-trailers delivering cargo. With about 284 million vehicles on the road daily, anything from a fender bender to a serious collision is possible. These accidents can cause soft tissue injuries to drivers and passengers.
Damage to your soft tissue can keep you out of work for days or leave you with long-term debilitating injuries. If you’ve been injured in a car accident where someone else is at fault, you can take steps to receive the compensation you deserve. Taking early action will also help you avoid long-lasting health issues from the crash.
What is Soft Tissue Damage?
Soft tissue is the supportive or connective tissue that protects your organs while aiding in essential functions of the body. Examples of soft tissue include your blood vessels, muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
Soft tissue damage is trauma created by the sudden force exerted on your body, which can cause connective tissue to overstretch or twist. Types of soft tissue injuries include lacerations, cerebral contusions, concussions, impingements, and torn ligaments.
The Signs of Soft Tissue Damage After an Accident
Damage to soft tissue includes sprains, bruises, and strains that can be painful and are accompanied by inflammation. Other than the pain and swelling, soft tissue injuries can come with bruising, muscle spasms, and joint instability. You may experience a limited range of motion in the joints near the injury, and you may be unable to move any weight with an affected limb.
Whiplash, an injury caused by a violent forward-bending motion of the neck, is a soft tissue injury that involves muscles, tendons, nerves, and discs. The sudden jolting of the neck can affect the shoulders, arms, or hands and can cause stiffness, dizziness, and even sharp pain in your lower back.
Whiplash symptoms can vary and cause unexpected symptoms such as sleeplessness, irritability, exhaustion, and memory lapses. You might experience blurred vision or have difficulty concentrating.
What to Do if You Have Soft Tissue Damage After a Car Accident
Getting medical help early can help detect soft tissue injuries you weren’t aware of and help you get any needed treatments. Some people put off medical care because they believe their soft tissue injuries will go away on their own, which isn’t always the case. It’s essential to visit your healthcare provider immediately after an accident, even if your injuries seem minor.
Your physician may need to perform a physical examination or use imaging tests to diagnose your soft tissue injury. The exam can include moving your injured body part and checking for nerve damage. Since soft tissue injuries aren’t visible through X-rays or CT scans, you may need an MRI. This imaging test is expensive, and your health insurance may not cover the total cost of your treatment.
To receive compensation for injury-related expenses, you have to prove that the car accident is the direct cause of your injuries. Seeing a doctor as soon as possible establishes the link between the collision and your soft tissue damage.
Keep All Reports and Medical Records
Detailed medical records will not only connect your injuries to the car accident but will also ensure any future complications are attributed to the incident. Seeking immediate medical attention can help strengthen your legal claim.
Reports and records you should keep in your file include:
- Police/first responder reports
- Emergency room and initial treatment records
- Hospital records
- Documents from any follow-up doctor appointments
- Physical therapy records
- Exams (X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, bloodwork)
Your medical records should include any future treatment needs you may have due to the car accident. Only pursue compensation after your current medical status is clearly understood and you’re examined for any potential soft tissue damage.
The Importance of Contacting a Lawyer Early
Contacting an experienced lawyer is essential for receiving the compensation you deserve. You should never accept a settlement without first speaking to an attorney who specializes in car accidents. By taking an early settlement, you may be unable to receive more money later for injuries that will surface after you settle.
Especially with soft tissue damage, the effects of the injury may not become apparent until later. Being able to receive full compensation for all injuries suffered from the accident ensures you get the treatment and rehabilitation you need.
After a car accident, seeking medical attention is the first thing you should do. Once you receive treatment, speak with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney whether or not you’re experiencing whiplash or other soft tissue damage symptoms.
The Syracuse car crash lawyers at Catalano Law can help you navigate the personal injury claim process. We serve clients in Syracuse, Albany, Utica, Watertown, Ithaca, Binghamton, and Elmira. Contact us today for a free consultation of your case.