According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, approximately 2.35 million people are injured or disabled in vehicle accidents in the United States each year. Among the top causes of vehicle accidents are distracted driving, speeding, improper turns, dangerous curves, and the weather. Many times the injuries sustained are minor, but some can be serious and long-lasting.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Injuries to muscles, tendons, and ligaments are soft tissue injuries. One of the most common is whiplash. This happens when someone is in a rear end collision. The neck and head are jerked forward and backward quite violently. The medical term for this is “hyper-extension injury” or “cervical strain or sprain”. Other soft tissue injuries include sprains, strains, and bruises due to the impact that is experienced when vehicles collide.
An injury to the soft tissue can be very painful. There is often stiffness, bruising, swelling, and soreness. In a vehicle crash, particularly one that is severe, the force of the collision can cause drivers and passengers to be jolted and thrown around inside the automobile quite forcefully.
Soft tissue injuries can often take from six weeks to three months to heal. Depending on your lifestyle, even after three months you can still experience some pain. You may not be able to totally return to the activities you enjoyed before the injury. If there is still pain after three months, you could have chronic soft tissue injuries.
Even if you are not experiencing any of these symptoms initially it is important to seek medical attention. Sometimes it may take two or three days for the symptoms to appear. Soft tissue injuries left untreated can cause chronic pain.
Steps to Take Immediately After a Collision
Another reason to seek medical attention immediately is so there is a record of the injury. If you need to seek compensation for your injuries, this is an important step. Whether the symptoms appear immediately or a couple of days later, it is likely that you will not be able to work or resume your normal activities for awhile. The loss of income for even six weeks can be a problem, particularly if you are the primary wage earner.
A record of the injury is crucial to receiving compensation. Since soft tissue injuries do not show up on x-rays or other typical diagnostic methods, it is imperative that a medical professional examine you and note your symptoms as well as medications that were prescribed.
Talking to an attorney is another important step. An experienced lawyer can assess your case and advise you on seeking compensation. The insurance company for the driver at fault will try to prove that you do not have an injury. This relieves them of any responsibility of paying compensation for your injuries. They may try to settle with you for a lesser amount than you deserve. A personal injury lawyer can protect your rights.
Types of Compensation for Soft Tissue Injuries
When an insurance adjuster offers you less than you deserve for your injuries, a personal injury law can represent you in court. There are several types of compensation that you may be entitled to for your injuries. One is loss of wages as a result of your injury. Depending on the amount of time you are unable to work, this could be a substantial amount. If you are disabled due to the injuries you may be entitled to “loss of earning capacity”. This is future wages that you would have earned if you had not been disabled by the accident.
Medical care costs are expensive, and you can receive compensation for the medical care you have already received. You may also receive money for ongoing care that you will require in the future due to the accident. If your vehicle was damaged you can receive money for any repairs that are needed or if it was damaged beyond repair, the value of the vehicle.
Pain and suffering is another type of compensation you could receive. This includes during the accident, presently, and future pain. Loss of enjoyment is yet another damage that can be claimed. If your injury prevents you from enjoying activities or hobbies that you participated in the past, you may receive damages for this as well.