Soft tissue injuries are injuries to the muscles, ligaments and tendons, and are often sustained during car accidents. While most soft tissue injuries are generally not as serious as, say, bone or organ injuries, they can be very painful and may take a long time to heal. Soft tissue injuries include sprains, strains, tendonitis or bursitis, bruises, dislocation and nerve damage. Whiplash, which occurs commonly during car accidents, is a soft tissue injury of the cervical spine. Treatment for a soft tissue injury may consist of physical therapy, medication and/or rest, and in very severe cases, surgery.
Pursuing a legal case in order to obtain compensation for treatment of soft tissue injuries will likely require that you prove the responsible party’s negligence – that they were not driving safely and that you were injured as a result of their negligence. This is known as “causation.” If you choose to hire an attorney to represent you in your soft tissue injury case (or any personal injury case), the statute of limitations in California is currently two years, but you will have a better chance at success if you act immediately. Because soft tissue injuries are oftentimes not regarded as serious by insurance companies, as they usually can’t be seen by the naked eye or on an x-ray, waiting to pursue your case can only make it more difficult to get the compensation you need. Delaying may not be in your favor.
Seeking medical attention for your soft tissue injuries can be tough. A doctor may prescribe you pain medication automatically, numbing symptoms and lessening your motivation to seek further treatment or contact an attorney. If nothing shows up on your x-ray, it might be a good idea to see a chiropractor or physical therapist, even if you don’t feel any pain; they can help detect a soft tissue injury that could cause you trouble later on. Additionally, chiropractors and physical therapists generally offer a gentler therapy that can help tackle the root cause of your pain and help you regain your previous range of motion so scar tissue doesn’t build up. Painkillers often mask your symptoms, potentially exacerbating your condition – if a soft tissue injury isn’t treated properly, surgery may be in your future or you may not heal to pre-accident condition.
If you are involved in a car accident, seek medical help immediately, and keep a detailed record of how you feel and how you progress or regress. Remember, car insurance companies are notorious for scoffing at soft tissue injuries, regardless of how real your pain is to you. Don’t be surprised if they don’t treat your injuries seriously. Soft tissue cases can pose an “uphill battle” to any claimant, with or without a lawyer.
by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia,