Do I have A Soft Tissue Injury?
We’ve all experienced a soft tissue injury at one point. You know the feeling—you wake up, and your back stiffens, or you go to lift something and suddenly feel weak. Soft tissue injuries are prevalent and will go away with over-the-counter meds and a little rest.
But this isn’t always the case. Thousands of people suffer from soft tissue injuries that cause pain and mobility issues that won’t go away. Often, this pain is so severe that it can significantly affect your quality of life. If you have sustained a soft tissue injury due to an accident, you may be eligible for financial compensation, speak with a personal injury lawyer today.
Everyone has had a bruise before. Bruises can result from a blow to a body part and, by themselves, are typically harmless. However, they can indicate a more significant issue if accompanied by swelling, pain, or lasting more than two weeks.
Strain and sprains
You may hear the terms strain and sprain used interchangeably, but they are injuries to two different areas. A strain is a muscle or tendon injury. On the other hand, a sprain is an injury to the ligament. A ligament is a connective tissue that connects bone to bone.
A laceration is another name for a cut. Deep lacerations can lead to muscle injury and permanent mobility issues. Lacerations can also make you vulnerable to infection and can result in scarring.
Road rash is an injury caused by friction. This injury can happen during a motorcycle accident or if a crash ejects a driver from a vehicle. Road rash injuries are excruciating and prone to infection. Prompt medical attention is essential to limiting permanent complications.
Burns are one of the most severe types of soft tissue injuries. A burn can happen because of exposure to fire, chemicals, or a hot surface.
The three different burns are:
- First-degree burns: These burns are minor and only affect the top layer of skin. First-degree burns can be typically treated at home and do not require medical care.
- Second-degree burns: Second-degree burns affect the first and second layers of skin. These burns are painful to the touch and often cause redness and blistering. If you develop blisters after a burn, it’s good to consult with a doctor as this type of burn is more likely to result in infection.
- Third-degree burns: Third-degree burns are the most severe, life-threatening type. These burns destroy both layers of skin and can damage the underlying fat, muscle, or bones. Third-degree burns are an emergency condition and require immediate care.
Accidents can lead to soft tissue injuries
According to the CDC, accidents and unintentional injuries account for nearly 25 million doctors’ office visits and almost 98 million emergency room visits. Accidents can happen anywhere, and seemingly minor accidents can cause significant damage.
Soft tissue injuries are serious. Ignored, they can lead to prolonged pain and even permanent disability. Take care of yourself after an accident and seek appropriate treatment. Accidents that can cause soft tissue injuries include:
Motor vehicle accidents and motorcycle accidents
auto accidents are among the leading causes of unintentional injury. One of the most common injuries after a car accident is whiplash. Whiplash typically happens in a rear-end accident. There are fractions of a second during a rear-end collision where the head and neck quickly snap back and then forward, creating a whip-like motion. This sudden jerk creates strain on the neck and can cause pain and discomfort.
The symptoms of whiplash are often temporary and respond well to treatment. However, some people may suffer from long-term pain and limited mobility. In this case, your doctor may suggest further treatment, including chiropractic care, massage, injections, or even surgery.
Slip and fall accidents
According to the National Floor Safety Institute, falls are the leading cause of emergency room visits. Specifically, slip and fall accidents account for over one million visits each year. Falls are dangerous. And while you might brush off a trip over a curb or a fall in the grocery store, a property owner ultimately must keep their location safe for visitors.
Slip and fall accidents can cause serious injuries, including strains, sprains, and lacerations. These injuries can get worse without treatment. Don’t ignore a fall. Report the incident and go to the doctor for a thorough examination.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps a record of all reported workplace incidents. For the year in which the most recent data is available, there were 266,530 injuries involving strains, sprains, or tears. Additionally, there were 128,220 back injuries and 211,640 slip and fall accidents at the workplace that year. Other workplace accidents include crush and pinch accidents, workplace assaults, and motor vehicle accidents.
Injuries at work can happen because of unsafe conditions or improper training. Ultimately, it is up to the employer to ensure employee safety. If you sustain an injury at work, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation. This insurance can help cover medical costs and reimburse lost wages. Accidents at work involve many facets, and your employer may not accurately explain all your rights. An experienced attorney can help you understand your rights and what steps you need to take to protect your rights after a workplace accident.
Dogs are man’s best friends. We don’t like to think of them as a potential cause of injury. The reality is dog bites can cause serious injury. Large dogs have enough force in their jaw to bite through the skin and into the underlying muscle. Even small dogs can cause deep lacerations, which can lead to infection if left untreated. If a dog bite breaks the skin, it is enough to warrant a visit to the doctor.
When to see a doctor after an accident
Countless times, attorneys hear from their clients, they didn’t go to the doctor because there was no obvious sign of injury. It can’t be said enough; it is always a good idea to go to the doctor after any accident.
Many injuries, especially soft tissue injuries, do not exhibit symptoms immediately. Unfortunately, many victims dismiss their pain as a normal reaction to the accident. Let’s be clear—any type of pain after an accident is not typical and should never be dismissed.
In addition to pain, there are other symptoms you should look out for after an accident, including:
- Changes in mobility
- Popping sounds
- Numbness or tingling
If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your medical provider. Because of how these injuries present, disclosing any new symptoms is essential, no matter how minor they may feel. Now is not the time to tough it out. Your medical record will serve as a critical component of your personal injury case.
Treatment for soft tissue injuries after an accident
Diagnosis of soft tissue injuries is not always easy. Doctors often miss these types of injuries because the signs are not readily apparent. This is why it is essential for you to accurately and completely describe your symptoms.
There are several different treatment options for soft tissue injuries. Your doctor will decide the course of injury based on your symptoms and may order further diagnostic tests or evaluations.
Possible treatment options may include:
- Rest and ice
- Pain relievers
- Chiropractic care
- Physical therapy
- Steroid injections
Once you and your doctor establish a treatment plan, it’s essential to follow it. However, if you do not feel like your current treatment is working, it’s okay to ask for alternative options. Make sure to attend all follow-up appointments and report any changes to your doctor.
Pain and suffering after an accident
The reason so many people skip the doctor after a soft tissue injury is thinking, “I’ll get over it,” or “it’s only pain,” or “it could have been worse.” The thing is, soft tissue injuries are nothing to take lightly. The pain they cause is real. Their effect on your day-to-day life and your ability to do simple tasks is real.
There are two main components to a legal case after an accident; actual damages and pain and suffering. Actual damages are the ones that come with a receipt: doctor’s visits, medications, lost time from work. Pain and suffering cover the physical and emotional toll.
You must understand the impact of your injury. Take whiplash, for example. You may not report whiplash because "it's just whiplash." But what happens when two weeks after your accident, you can't sleep because your neck hurts so bad? What if you have to cancel your family vacation because you just can't stand to sit in a car for the three-hour trip? Soon, you're changing your schedule, adjusting your plans, or even quitting your job.
Pain and suffering help compensate you for an accident's physical and mental discomfort. Every case is different and will depend on many factors.
However, common considerations for pain and suffering include:
- Short-term pain
- Chronic pain
- Sleep issues
- Emotional stress
- Loss of enjoyment
The actual cost of soft tissue injuries
It’s easy to underestimate the full cost of an injury after an accident. Beginning at your initial appointment, the costs can quickly add up. Unfortunately, insurance companies can be challenging to deal with. And the sad reality is, they are notorious for trying to pay out less than a claim is actually worth. Insurance companies repeatedly offer victims less than they deserve because they know there is a good chance you don’t know what your case is worth.
An experienced attorney can review the facts and help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
Common costs associated with a soft tissue injury include:
- Doctor visits, including specialist care, physical therapy, and chiropractic care.
- Massage therapy
- Medical devices, including TENS units, heating pads, ice packs, and neck pillows.
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
How a personal injury attorney can play an essential role in your recovery after a soft tissue injury
After an accident, your attorney will be your biggest asset and strongest advocate. When you sustain an injury, the most important thing you can do is take time to focus on your recovery. An experienced attorney will help you fight for a fair and reasonable settlement and ensure you have what you need moving forward.
Here are just a few things you can expect your attorney to take care of during your case:
- Gather and analyze relevant evidence
- Talk to witnesses and care providers
- Review your medical records
- Coordinate payment plans with your care providers
- Negotiate with the insurance company
- Represent you in court, if necessary
- Review and pay any outstanding medical bills
- Receive and issue final payment from the other party
Don’t suffer in silence. If you sustain a soft tissue injury after an accident, resources are available to help your recovery.