If you've been in a wreck, your doctor may have diagnosed you with soft tissue injuries. But what exactly does that mean?
Soft tissue injuries affect the non-bony structures of your body, such as your muscles, ligaments and tendons. They can also be superficial injuries like bruises, which are known medically as contusions. Sprains and strains are common examples of soft tissue injuries, but the most common of all is whiplash.
Whiplash is a hyperextension injury that occurs upon impact during a rear-end collision. Your neck and head are jarred violently first in one direction and then another. It can result in something as simple as a stiff and sore neck or something as serious as permanent back problems or cognitive concerns.
No matter how minor the soft tissue problems first appear, it is necessary to seek medical treatment to get them documented and diagnosed. If you have bruises or abrasions from where the seat belt caught you around the neck or chest area, take pictures, as this can indicate the severity of the impact of the collision.
It's important to note that some symptoms appear days or even weeks after an accident. You may think that you are fine until you try to swing a golf club or tennis racket or lift your grandchild up onto your shoulders. All of a sudden, the sharp pain alerts you to some previously unnoticed damage that has limited your range of motion and negatively impacted the quality of your life.
Whether you are trying to handle the claim yourself or have retained an attorney, it's important not to settle too fast, as you may not realize the extent of your soft tissue injuries at first. Always wait until you have been released from your doctor's care before settling your claim.
Source: Findlaw, "Soft Tissue Injuries Caused by Motor Vehicle Accidents," accessed Nov. 04, 2016