Soft tissue injuries, including whiplash, are often misunderstood and downplayed by non-medical professionals. While most soft tissue injuries are not life-threatening, they can be incredibly painful and reduce a person’s quality of life. These injuries can take a long time to fully heal and may require physical therapy and other long-term treatment.
Popular culture likes to portray whiplash as a minor injury, something shady plaintiffs make up to get more money from lawsuits. In reality, whiplash is a form of serious trauma to a person’s neck, which can be incredibly painful and require a long time to heal. Do not let someone tell you your injuries are all in your imagination or that your pain doesn’t matter. If you have suffered a soft tissue injury because of someone else’s negligence, call Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, at (212) 986-7353 to explore your options for compensation.
The term “soft tissue” refers to tissue in the body other than bones and organs, usually connective tissue. This includes things like tendons, which connect muscles to bones; ligaments, which connect bones together; and the disks that keep the vertebrae of the spine from grinding against each other. Muscles are also considered soft tissue.
Soft tissue injuries are a common result of multiple accident types and can have far-reaching issues for most New York workers. These parts of the body control our movements and, when damaged, can put us out of work for weeks to months, and even longer for more serious conditions. While they are often overlooked by insurance adjusters, they should not be. Every injury caused by an at-fault party should be pursued, no matter how mild an insurance company views it. These injuries often go beyond your medical bills and physical therapy and can cost you months of wages or reduce your ability to work full-time altogether. When you prepare to file a claim with our attorneys, we can account for all of this in your list of damages.
Different types of soft tissue injuries are caused by how or why the trauma happened. Some of the most common soft tissue injuries include:
- Contusions: A contusion is a bruise often caused by a blunt force trauma, such as when a person slams into the interior of a vehicle during a car crash. Contusions can also be caused by collisions between people, often seen in sports injuries or criminal assaults.
- Strains: A strain to a muscle or tendon is typically caused by overuse and is rarely serious. Most strains can recover through resting, icing, and elevating the affected limb. More serious strains can result in muscle tears, however, which can require surgical treatment.
- Sprains: A sprain is a partial tear of a ligament, often caused by a sudden twisting or wrenching motion. Someone stepping off a curb the wrong way might twist her ankle violently and sprain a ligament in her foot. Serious sprains can also occur due to the violent motion of a vehicle collision.
- Tendonitis: Tendonitis refers to inflammation of a tendon, usually due to overuse of a particular area, such as the shoulder or elbow. Serious tendonitis means the tendon is not just inflamed but actually tears, sometimes completely separating from the bone. Such tendonitis can require surgery to repair.
- Muscle tears: Muscles can become inflamed through overuse and often tear due to strenuous activity. Minor tears are common and tend to occur naturally, but serious tears can be caused by a vehicle collision or other accident. These may require physical therapy or surgery to repair the damage.
- Whiplash: A specific form of injury in which a person’s head is rapidly hurtled back and forth, damaging the soft tissue in the neck. This violent motion can be caused by a vehicle collision, usually when someone is rear-ended and his neck snaps backward then forward. Minor whiplash can heal in a fairly short time, but serious whiplash can require months or even years for a full recovery. Surgery may be required in extreme cases, and long-term physical therapy and pain management are often involved.
While the majority of car accidents can lead to some type of soft tissue damage, other accidents can also contribute to an injury. Many injuries are the result of blunt force trauma that causes a body part to absorb a large amount of energy or twist in the wrong direction, causing the soft tissue to stretch and tear. Accidents that often lead to soft tissue injuries include:
- Car accidents
- Construction accidents, including repetitive stressors like heavy lifting
- Slip and falls that lead to strains and sprains
- Dog attacks
- On-the-job accidents
- Defective products
These accidents can lead to a variety of different claims, ranging from premises liability to workers’ compensation to product liability. In any event, you deserve to have your claim properly accessed and supported by an experienced attorney who will not devalue your injuries, especially if another party caused them.
As common as soft tissue injuries are, one would hope that insurance companies would be more sympathetic to victims. Sadly, these types of injuries are often diminished, devalued, and denied coverage. Insurance adjusters will often try to say that you are not as injured as you say and will even go so far as using your social media posts, happy demeanor, or recovery time against you. However, when you choose to work with a knowledgeable and skilled attorney, you may be able to pursue substantial compensation if your injury led to significant medical bills, time off work, and physical trauma.
If you have suffered a serious soft tissue injury in a car crash or other accident, please do not suffer in silence. Your pain is real, and your medical bills may begin to pile up before you completely recover. Call Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, at (212) 986-7353 for a free consultation with a New York personal injury attorney.