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 car accidents are a daily occurrence. While some of these accidents are minor collisions, others can be more serious, resulting in significant personal injury and property damage.
Even if you haven't already been in a car accident, there is a reasonable chance that it will happen one day. This article provides information on one of the most common types of injury resulting from car accidents: soft tissue injuries. Whiplash is the most common soft tissue injury, with others including bruises, sprains, and strains.
What are 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 and the force it puts on the occupants. Depending on how severe the crash is, the force exerted during an accident can cause vehicle occupants to be thrashed around or violently jolted.
Soft Tissue Injuries and Car Accidents: Whiplash
Of all the types of soft tissue injuries caused by car accidents, whiplash is one of the most serious. 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 of whiplash include:
- Stiffness of the neck
- Sharp neck pain
- Back problems
- Cognitive issues, such as problems with memory and concentration
These symptoms can occur immediately after the accident but they commonly emerge over the course of several hours or days after the crash.
Whiplash may seem minor at first, especially if symptoms are slow to appear. However, neck trauma causes severe and significant injury. If left untreated, a victim can develop chronic pain and discomfort in their back and neck. Anyone suffering from whiplash should seek medical attention, even if his or her injuries initially appear to be minor.
Treatment for soft tissue injuries may include immobilization and wearing a neck brace, physical therapy, or pain medications. After any injury accident, consult with your doctor for medical treatment options to treat your injuries.
Medical Attention for Soft Tissue Injuries
As discussed above, soft tissue injuries from car accidents may not be apparent at first, making it difficult to identify them. Many soft tissue injuries do not appear in x-rays. Injury victims may need more specialized imaging tests, like MRI or CT scans. Professional medical attention is critical for diagnosing and treating any neck injuries and neck pain.
Medical records are an important part of a car accident injury claim, If you're involved in litigation, medical records may be introduced as evidence of the existence of an injury and the extent of the damages suffered.
Soft Tissue Injuries and Fault in a Car Accident
In motor vehicle accidents, liability for the damage is based on who was at fault for the accident. Determination of fault has significant implications that range from automobile insurance rates to compensation from insurance companies. Police reports and traffic laws can be important to proving liability.
Police may not show up to every crash. Even after a call to the police department, law enforcement may only show up if there is a serious injury accident or there is a disabled vehicle blocking traffic. If police respond and do an investigation, they write up a report, which may include which party the officer believes to be at fault. The police investigation reports are considered official records and are often relied upon by both insurance companies and juries.
Violation of traffic laws may also help determine who is at fault. Violating a traffic law that was a cause of the accident can show the other driver was negligent. 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.
Soft Tissue Injury From a Car Accident? An Injury Lawyer Can Help
If you've suffered whiplash or other soft tissue injuries after being in a car accident, the damage may not be immediately apparent. A doctor can help you with the medical injuries. To recover compensation, a lawyer will be able to tell you whether someone was negligent or reckless in causing harm and whether you might be able to collect damages to cover your losses. Get started today and contact an experienced injury lawyer near you.