Although Challenging to Prove, Such Injuries Are Often Debilitating
The human body is very complex. It is made up of skin, bones, organs, and soft tissues — i.e., muscle, connective tissue, tendons, and ligaments. When soft tissue is damaged during a car accident, the injury is considered to be acute. Because of the pain involved and the treatment required, soft tissue injuries are often the basis for a Colorado personal injury lawsuit.
Common Soft Tissue Injuries
Damage to soft tissue can be revealed in a wide range of injuries, including bruises, contusions, strains and sprains, and damage to the fascia (connective tissue). The painful symptoms of a soft tissue injury may include headaches, digestive discomfort, visceral pain, inflammation, swelling, stiffness, and soreness.
If you have suffered what insurance companies sometimes call a minor impact soft tissue (MIST) injury, you were likely involved in a low-speed collision with minimal property damage. The four soft tissue injuries that most frequently result from such accidents include:
- Whiplash, also known as cervical sprain or strain. Whiplash is caused by the sudden and violent jerking of the neck back and forth during a rear-end collision.
- Sprains, a stretch or tear of a ligament in the joints that leads to pain and swelling.
- Strains, a stretch or tear of a muscle or tendon, most commonly in the back.
- Contusions, ruptures in the capillaries under the skin that make the area discolored and painful but do not break the skin.
Since most MIST cases involve automobile accidents that result in minimal property damage, it is important to retain an experienced personal injury attorney who knows how to counter the tactics that insurance companies may use to reduce or avoid payment of claims.
Why Soft Tissue Injuries Are Hard to Prove in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Despite the fact that they often result in painful and debilitating symptoms, soft tissue injuries can be hard to prove. X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and other diagnostic tests can clearly substantiate a claim for a fracture, brain injury, or ruptured disc. But soft tissue injuries do not typically show up on modern imaging equipment. They can also be late to manifest, often exhibit inconsistent symptoms, and may respond differently to treatment.
The cost of treating a soft tissue injury is also hard to predict. Although soft tissue injuries may not seem as serious as a fracture or a brain injury, they can still result in thousands of dollars in medical bills. One person may be successfully treated for whiplash with only a few physical therapy appointments, rest, and massage, while another person may have to endure months or even years of symptoms manifesting a condition like fibromyalgia or complex regional pain syndrome.
Another reason that soft tissue injuries can be hard to establish is that the symptoms sometimes appear in a location other than that of the primary injury. For example, muscle knots in the upper back, chest, and neck can be symptoms of a soft tissue injury, increasing the chances of misdiagnosis.
If you sustained soft-tissue injuries in a Colorado automobile accident, contact Colorado personal injury attorney Dan Rosen for a free consultation.