If you’ve been involved in an accident, one of the first things legal and medical experts recommend you do is look for hidden injuries. After you’ve ruled out head, neck and back trauma, start looking for minor uncomfortable aches or swelling that you may also begin to notice. These are not heavy injuries that need immediate attention, but could be permanent soft tissue injuries that can end up causing serious long-term damage if left unattended.
What are Permanent Soft Tissue Injuries?
Soft-tissue injuries are damage caused to tendons, ligaments or muscles due to overuse or sudden trauma. Think ankle sprains, calf strains and tennis elbows.
Soft-tissue injuries fall into two basic categories: acute injuries and overuse injuries.
- Acute injuries like sprains, twists and contusions are caused by a sudden trauma, such as a fall, twist, or blow to the body.
- Overuse injuries occur gradually, when an athletic activity is performed repeatedly without adequate relief or rest to the affected body part. Tendinitis and bursitis are common soft-tissue overuse injuries.
Recovery time for soft tissue injuries can vary anywhere from 1 week to a couple of months, depending on factors like the gravity of the injury, the person’s age, fitness level, occupation etc. It’s important to avoid exposure to heat, alcohol and any physical pressure (like a massage) in the first 48 hours, to avoid increased swelling and long-term damage.
Can I file a lawsuit for a serious soft tissue injury?
Yes but be advised, soft tissue injuries are complicated to prove. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that they aren’t easily seen. One may take days to realise a slight throbbing pain in an ankle or an elbow.
After realisation, these injuries are difficult to prove and connect specifically with the accident. For example, incase of a bone injury, a quick X-ray scan can reveal the level of injury. Doing the same for a swollen ankle is impossible. Insurance companies of the other party usually ask for medical history to prove certain pre-existing conditions in order to reduce the gravity of the case. Along with lack of evidence, there is enough history of fraud to warn insurance companies not to heed such claims. Many people are known to faked sprains, strains, whiplash and other soft tissue damage to earn money out of minor accident situations. All these have led the insurance companies to tighten up their approval processes and make it harder to file claims for soft tissue injury.
Finally, it is extremely tough to evaluate both the economic and non-economic loss of such an injury. Sometimes a multiplier is used to determine the non-economic losses, in terms of economic losses like medical bills, loss of wages etc. Then there is also the a scenario of no-fault insurance.
What’s a No-Fault Insurance?
No-Fault Insurance means if you’ve been in an minor accident, your own insurance company will pay some of your medical and opportunity costs, irrespective of which party was at fault. Currently, about a dozen states in the US follow some version of the no-fault law where car owners need to mandatorily get ‘personal insurance protection’ or PIP for any future no-fault accident situations.
Thus in accident situations in these states, you can only file a liability claim or personal injury lawsuit) against the at-fault driver if your medical bills exceed a threshold established by your state. There are a bunch of expectations that your state has in terms of cooperation with your insurer. Refusal to do so can lead to open doors for the insurer to deny your claim.
Soft Tissue Injury Settlement Calculator
Greathouse Law has been working on accident injury claims in Greater Atlanta for the better part of the last decade and offers free consultations to discuss the merits of your case and offer you options to file a personal injury lawsuit. They can address case specific questions like
- What would be a fair settlement for a minor soft tissue injury?
- Is soft tissue damage permanent?
- What are the local automobile laws for the state of Georgia and what is my best legal recourse for an accident?
- What’s my claim worth?
If you are worried about not getting the right legal advice in and around Atlanta, reach out to attorney Riah Greathouse and schedule a personal interaction to understand your chances of winning. Even if insurance companies attempt to dissuade you from pursuing a claim for its full value, our expertise in personal injury law can help you receive the results and compensation you deserve.