Soft tissue injuries are common after a motor vehicle accident. These types of injuries often manifest in the hours and days following the accident. Unfortunately, the longer it takes to diagnose soft tissue injuries, the more challenging it can become to pursue a personal injury claim.
If you experience any pain after an accident, see a doctor immediately. The sooner you document the injuries, the better. A doctor will develop a treatment plan that helps you heal from soft tissue injuries to minimize the impact on your daily life.
Once you’re able, contact a Naperville personal injury lawyer to discuss your accident and soft tissue injuries. An attorney will help you pursue the compensation you deserve if your injuries were caused by someone else.
What Are Soft Tissue Injuries and How Do They Occur?
Soft tissue injuries refer to damage and injury to the body’s connective tissue, which includes the muscles, tendons, or ligaments. These types of injuries can cause bruising, pain, and swelling. A person may also experience a limited range of motion.
When you are in a car crash or other accident, the force placed on your body can cause you to stretch, move, or overextend. These motions are not natural and can cause damage to the soft tissues, including sprains, strains, and contusions.
The most common cause of acute injuries to the soft tissues is accidents. However, overuse and repetitive motion injuries can also cause damage to the soft tissues.
Common soft tissue injuries include:
Whiplash is one of the most common types of soft tissue injuries caused by car accidents and slip and fall accidents. It results when the head is violently “whipped” back and forth. The motion overextends the soft tissues in the neck.
The result can be severe pain, headaches, stiffness, and limited range of motion. Injuries to the muscles and ligaments in the neck can also cause sleep disturbances, fatigue, psychological conditions, and concentration impairment.
A strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon. A tendon connects muscle to bone or other structures and moves the bone or structure.
Sprains are partial tears to a ligament, which connects bone to bone. The most common types of sprains are knee, wrist, and ankle sprains.
Contusions and Bruises
Contusions are injuries to the soft tissue caused by blunt force trauma. The bruising is caused by blood entering the tissue.
Bursitis and Tendonitis
Bursitis is an inflammation in the fluid-filled sac that provides a cushion between the muscles and bones. Tendonitis is an inflammation of a tendon.
Abrasions and Lacerations
Lacerations are open wounds from acute trauma. The damaged skin can expose the layers of soft tissue below the skin. Abrasions are similar, more minor injuries that impact only the layers of the skin.
How Do Doctors Treat Soft Tissue Injuries?
Most soft tissue injuries heal with time and rest. Doctors often prescribe rest, ice, compression, and elevation of the injured area. Some cases of whiplash might require wearing a cervical collar for a few weeks to immobilize the area while it heals.
However, doctors may prescribe pain medications, muscle relaxants, antidepressants, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications. They may also prescribe physical therapy to target specific areas of the body impacted by a soft tissue injury.
Severe soft tissue injuries could take months to heal. Sometimes, a person may experience chronic pain, limited flexibility, and mobility issues for years. Documenting the symptoms and effects of soft tissue injuries through medical records is essential for establishing damages in a personal injury case.
What Are the Effects of Soft Tissue Injuries?
Most insurance companies downplay soft tissue injuries. They accuse accident victims of exaggerating the symptoms. However, soft tissue injuries caused by car accidents, slips and falls, and other trauma can impact your life in numerous ways.
You may be unable to work as your body heals from soft tissue injuries. You may also experience severe pain and suffering. If a soft tissue injury does not heal, you could have long-lasting symptoms that interfere with your ability to work and perform daily activities.
Some individuals could experience permanent impairments from soft tissue injuries. Working with your physicians to assess the extent of your injuries is crucial to your treatment. It can also help provide the basis for claiming damages in a personal injury case.
Soft tissue injuries could result in economic and non-economic damages that include:
- Medical bills and expenses, including physical therapy
- Loss of income, including diminished earning capacity due to a permanent impairment
- Pain and suffering, including the physical discomfort caused by soft tissue injuries and mental and emotional distress
- Scarring and disfigurement from lacerations and abrasions
- Out-of-pocket expenses, including personal care and help with household chores
The insurance company for the at-fault party may deny your claim for soft tissue injuries. You have the burden of proving that the accident caused the soft tissue injury and the injury resulted in your damages. A personal injury lawyer can help build a case proving causation, fault, and liability for damages.
What Is the Deadline for Filing Soft Tissue Injury Claims in Illinois?
If you wait too long to file a personal injury claim, you lose your right to pursue a legal claim in court. You might not realize that you were injured right away with soft tissue injuries. Sometimes, people do not associate the accident with their soft tissue injury because their symptoms may take a few weeks to become chronic.
Insurance companies may also cause delays in processing claims for soft tissue injuries. The company may raise allegations of failure to mitigate damages by accusing you of delaying medical treatment. It might also try to shift the blame to you by alleging comparative fault to decrease the value of your personal injury claim.
An insurance company could purposefully drag out the claim so that the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit expires. The statute of limitations or deadline for filing most personal injury lawsuits in Illinois is two years from the injury date.
However, there are exceptions to this rule. Therefore, it is always best to talk to an experienced accident lawyer as soon as possible to avoid missing the deadline to file a claim.
Contact Our Naperville Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Recovering Compensation for Your Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries can be challenging to deal with in a personal injury claim. However, our Naperville personal injury attorneys understand these types of injuries and how to pursue these claims. Contact the Law Offices of Mathys & Schneid at (630) 428-4040 for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Naperville to discuss your case.