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Soft Tissue Injury Lawyer

Motor vehicle collisions can result in a wide range of injuries. In car accidents, injuries can also range widely in terms of their severity. Soft tissue injuries are a common type of injury in car accidents, and they usually require medical attention. Sometimes soft tissue injuries are severe and can require a cast or other medical device in order to heal. Many severe soft tissue injuries are also accompanied by other serious injuries like bone fractures. Accordingly, if you believe you have sustained a soft tissue injury in a crash, you should seek medical attention. If you were diagnosed with soft tissue injuries after a car accident, you should learn more about seeking financial compensation. A soft tissue injury lawyer from Kruger & Hodges is here to help.

What are Soft Tissue Injuries?

What are soft tissue injuries and how do they differ from other types of injuries after a car accident? According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, soft tissue injuries include any type of injury that causes damage to a person’s soft tissue. As the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) explains, soft tissue injuries can result from overuse or from an acute traumatic event. When a person suffers soft tissue injuries in a car crash, those injuries are considered to be acute, traumatic injuries.

Soft tissues include your muscles, ligaments, and tendons. When a soft tissue injury occurs, a person usually experiences pain as well as bruising and swelling. In some cases, soft tissue damage is accompanied by other serious injuries. For example, a soft tissue injury may occur in addition to a bone fracture. As such, it is essential to have a health care provider assess your injuries. You may need to have additional tests done, like X-rays, in order to determine the full extent of the damage.

Anytime you are involved in a car accident and have pain or swelling or bruising, you could have a soft tissue injury that requires medical attention. Even if you think you can treat the injury yourself, you may need professional treatment. Further, if your soft tissue injury is accompanied by a more serious injury like a bone fracture, you will certainly require immediate medical treatment.

What are Common Types of Soft Tissue Injuries?

Many different types of soft tissue injuries exist and can affect people who are injured in traffic collisions. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine and the AAOS, the following are the most common types of soft tissue injuries:

  • Contusions: Contusions are also known as bruises, and they involve bleeding in a person’s tissue. These can range greatly in terms of their severity and size. In general, contusions are injuries to muscles, ligaments, tendons, and other soft tissue as a result of blunt force. When a person sustains a blow or a bump to the body in a collision, a contusion can occur. Contusions usually cause pain, which can be severe depending upon the size of the contusion. These injuries also result in swelling and discoloration of the skin due to the bleeding that occurs below the surface of the skin. When contusions are serious and large, they need to be assessed by a health care provider. In cases of more minor contusions, a patient can apply the “RICE” formula of rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
  • Sprains: Sprains are partial tears to a person’s ligaments. These types of soft tissue injuries usually result from a wrenching or twisting movement. In car accidents, sprains can happen when parts of the body are wrenched or twisted. Most often, sprains affect a person’s wrists, knees, or ankles, although sprains can occur in other parts of the body. With some sprains, the ligament may be torn completely. Even in a seemingly minor car accident, you may have torn a ligament. When a ligament is fully torn, the person may require surgery to repair it. Otherwise, a physician may recommend “RICE,” or rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Sprains are graded from grade 1 (which is mild) to grade 3 (which is severe).
  • Tendonitis: Tendonitis is a condition involving inflammation of a person’s tendon. Tendons are flexible tissue bands that connect your muscles to your bones. In most cases, tendonitis results from overuse. Accordingly, it is among the least common types of soft tissue injuries that occur in car accidents.
  • Bursitis: Bursitis is a specific kind of soft tissue damage that involves inflammation of a person’s bursa. The bursa, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, is “a fluid-filled sac that provides a cushion between bones and muscles or tendons.” While bursitis is frequently caused by overuse or repetitive motion, it need not be. In some cases, bursitis can result from direct trauma to a person’s joint. Such direct trauma to your shoulder, elbow, knee, ankle, foot, and hip are most common. As such, bursitis can be a form of soft tissue injuries after a car accident.
  • Strains: Strains are similar to sprains but involve injury to your muscle or tendon. Like bursitis, these injuries can result from overuse, but they can also result from overuse and repetitive movements. At the same time, however, strains can also occur as a result of traumatic force. Many more minor strains can be treated with “RICE,” or rest, ice, compression, and elevation. However, when a strain involves a muscle tear, a person may require surgery.
  • Stress fracture: Stress fractures are usually caused by overuse, but in some cases they can result from acute trauma. Stress fractures are small cracks that occur in a person’s bone, and they usually affect a person’s legs, feet, or hip. In some circumstances, a stress fracture may continue to break, and the patient can experience a full bone break that requires surgical intervention.
  • Whiplash: Whiplash is one of the most common types of soft tissue injuries in motor vehicle collisions. It occurs most often in rear-end collisions in which a person’s head and neck are jolted back and forth. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), whiplash typically involves either a neck sprain or strain. In addition to the sprain or strain affecting muscles or ligaments or tendons, it can also involve injury to a person’s intervertebral joints, discs, and nerve roots.

What are Symptoms of Soft Tissue Injuries?

Symptoms of soft tissue injuries will vary depending upon the specific type of soft tissue injury. For example, whiplash will typically lead to stiffness and pain in the neck, while a contusion will result in swelling and discoloration. However, there are many shared symptoms of soft tissue injuries after a car accident. Common general symptoms of soft tissue injuries include, for example:

  • Pain in the area where the soft tissue injury has occurred;
  • Swelling, which can be excessive, and may worsen over time;
  • Stiffness in the area of the soft tissue injury;
  • Bruising in the area where the injury occurred, which may not appear for 24 to 48 hours following the accident; and
  • Instability of the body part, such as the knee or hip.

Recovering Physically From Soft Tissue Injuries After a Car Accident

When you suffer soft tissue injuries after a car accident, it is important to follow your health care provider’s advice for property recovery and treatment. Recovery from soft tissue injuries can vary depending upon the type of soft tissue injury and its severity. According to The Physiotherapy Clinics, soft tissue injuries that are graded as “stage 1” injuries usually will heal with appropriate medical care in one to two weeks’ time. Soft tissue injuries that are graded as “stage 2” and are more severe may take a month or more to heal. The most serious type of soft tissue injuries, which are “stage 3,” may require surgery and additional medical treatment, and they can take an extended period of time to heal if permanent recovery is possible.

How to Seek Compensation After Sustaining Soft Tissue Injuries in a Traffic Collision

In order to seek compensation after sustaining a soft tissue injury in a traffic collision, it will be important to go through all necessary steps of a motor vehicle crash insurance claim and, if necessary, to file a car accident lawsuit. Steps for seeking compensation after a soft tissue injury in a car accident include the following:

  • Gather as much information as possible at the scene where the accident happened if you are physically able to do so, including taking photographs from various perspectives and obtaining contact information for anyone involved in the accident or for anyone who may have witnessed the accident;
  • Seek medical attention as quickly as possible, recognizing that some types of soft tissue injuries will not produce immediate signs and symptoms, yet assessment and treatment from a health care provider is necessary early on;
  • Report the accident to your own auto insurer, making sure to provide only factual information and to avoid making any statements that could be construed as admissions of fault;
  • Determine whether you will file a third-party insurance claim through the negligent motorist’s insurance company or whether a first-party claim through your own insurer may be appropriate;
  • Negotiate an insurance payout from the auto insurer with assistance from your car accident lawyer; and
  • File a car accident lawsuit if you were unable to receive full compensation through the auto insurance claim.

Statute of Limitations for Filing a Soft Tissue Injury Claim After a Motor Vehicle Collision

Under Ohio law, most personal injury lawsuits arising out of soft tissue injuries in a traffic crash must be filed within two years from the date of the accident. The clock on the statute of limitations will start ticking on the date of the collision. From that point, you will have two years to file a lawsuit. If you do not file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations runs out, your claim will be time-barred. Once a claim is time-barred, the injured person has little recourse for seeking financial compensation. Two years might seem like a lot of time. However, auto insurance claims can take up many months, and the time can go by quickly. You will want to ensure that your lawsuit is filed in a timely manner. To do so, you should begin thinking about your claim as soon as possible.

How Contributory Fault Can Affect Your Soft Tissue Injury Compensation

When a person suffers soft tissue injuries after a car accident, they may be eligible to obtain compensatory damages. There are two types of compensatory damages — economic damages and non-economic damages. Both types are designed to compensate a person for their losses caused by another party’s fault or negligence. Economic damages compensate for direct, financial losses. Non-economic damages compensate for more subjective losses like pain and suffering or disfigurement. When an injured person files a car accident lawsuit, both kinds of damages are common.

However, in some cases, the defendant will allege that the plaintiff is also partially at fault for the soft-tissue injuries or for causing the collision. Under these circumstances, the plaintiff will need to prove that the defendant is fully at fault in order to recover 100% of the damages. Yet even if a plaintiff is partially at fault, they may still recover. Ohio uses a modified comparative fault (or contributory fault) rule. Under Ohio law, as long as a plaintiff is not 51% or more at fault, that plaintiff can recover. However, the plaintiff’s damages award will be reduced by that plaintiff’s percentage of fault. Once a plaintiff is 51% or more at fault, Ohio law bars the plaintiff from recovery.

Contact a Hamilton Soft Tissue Injury Lawyer for Assistance With Your Claim

Did you or someone you love sustained soft tissue injuries in a motor vehicle collision in Hamilton or elsewhere in Butler County, Ohio? You should seek advice from one of the experienced Hamilton car accident attorneys at our firm. We can speak with you about your options for filing a claim. You may be eligible to obtain multiple forms of damages, including economic and non-economic damages. In some cases, more than one party could be liable. Do not hesitate to get in touch with our firm to find out more about filing a claim. Contact Kruger & Hodges today to discuss your case with an experienced soft tissue injury lawyer.

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