Some of the most commonly reported injuries after a Texas car accident are soft tissue injuries. Soft tissue injuries range in severity. Some may heal on their own with little medical intervention, whereas others may require surgery and physical therapy. There are numerous factors that impact the average settlement amount for soft tissue injuries in a car accident claim.
What Are Soft Tissue Injuries?
Soft tissue injuries include injuries to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
- Bruises: These injuries are usually caused by a blunt impact. Bruises cause discoloration due to bleeding into the tissue surrounding the impacted area. They may also cause swelling and soreness.
- Strains: Strains may be caused by force as well. If a muscle is stretched beyond its normal range and tears, it is a strain. Sometimes, it may be necessary to repair the strain with surgery.
- Sprains: Sprains are incomplete tears in a ligament. Most commonly, sprains occur when the wrist, knee, or ankle is twisted. Like strains, surgery may be necessary to repair the damage.
- Bursitis: Although bursitis is often caused by repetitive motion, it may also be caused by a sudden impact to the body. With bursitis, the sacs of fluid that surround the joints become inflamed. Accident victims often suffer from bursitis in the feet, knees, elbows, shoulders, ankles, and hips.
Symptoms of Soft Tissue Injuries After a Car Accident
Soft tissue connects or supports internal organs and bones, including muscle, tendons, ligaments, and fat, among others. The symptoms of soft tissue injuries vary depending on what part of the body has been affected. For example, the symptoms of sprains or strains are different from whiplash or contusions. Therefore, it is helpful to understand the nature of these injuries when considering their symptoms.
Pain is the primary symptom of all soft tissue injuries. They are frequently painful, whether this damage involves bruises or interior soft tissue trauma. This pain often heals on its own. However, injuries that also include damage to nerve endings can result in a lifetime of chronic pain. For some people, the pain is constant. Other injuries are painful when you move or rely on the injured part of your body.
Inflammation and swelling are also common symptoms of soft tissue injuries. These symptoms are generally limited to the area of the body where the injury occurred. For example, a sprained ankle will result in swelling or inflammation of that area. In addition, stiffness is another common consequence of soft tissue injuries. It is especially common to lose your full range of motion when dealing with soft tissue injuries that impact your neck. Whiplash can result in stiffness and pain that affects your head, neck, shoulders, and back.
These symptoms could serve as the basis for your personal injury lawsuit. You could recover compensation for your physical pain and be entitled to damages if these symptoms prevent you from earning a living.
The Factors that Impact Settlement Amounts
It is true that most personal injury claims, such as those stemming from car accidents, will settle long before they land on a trial docket. When a case settles, the accident victim and the at-fault insurance company agree on an amount of money that will finalize the claim.
No two accident claims are the same, of course, and unique facts and circumstances have a significant impact on the amount of money a claim may settle for. These factors include:
- The average verdict for comparable cases in the jurisdiction
- The severity of the accident victim’s injuries
- How long it took the accident victim to recover from his or her injuries, or, if the accident victim has a permanent disability, the long-term effects of the injuries
- The impact of the injuries on the victim’s livelihood
- Whether the accident victim experienced any pain and suffering
- Whether the accident victim suffered any emotional distress
- The degree to which the accident victim’s own negligence contributed to the accident, if at all
- The accident victim’s conduct following the accident
An individual who suffered a minor sprain or strain and missed a day or two of work will likely walk away with a smaller settlement than someone who needed an injury surgically repaired and is no longer able to work at all.
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of a Favorable Settlement?
As an accident victim, there are several steps you can take to improve your odds of obtaining a settlement amount that adequately covers all of the expenses you have incurred because of the crash.
First, you should immediately seek medical care, even if you are not sure you are injured. Many injuries take some time to begin showing symptoms, and the sooner these injuries are treated, the better. In addition, if you do not seek medical attention at the time of the accident, the insurance company may argue that you were not seriously injured at all.
Similarly, make sure that you follow all of the instructions you are given by the medical professionals who treat you. Failure to follow instructions, such as obtaining a referral or returning for a follow-up appointment, may seriously damage the value of your claim.
As you visit your doctors and other medical professionals, forward copies of your bills and records to your attorney. It is wise to keep your attorney up to date on your medical treatment so that your attorney may continue building your case.
Always be honest with your attorney. If you have a preexisting condition, for example, go ahead and let your attorney know so that this issue may be addressed—before the at-fault party’s insurance company brings it up.
Hiring an experienced Texas car accident attorney is essential in any car accident claim. These attorneys are experienced in negotiating settlement claims on behalf of their clients, saving both time and money in lengthy injury cases.
Contact Us Today to Discuss Your Car Accident
If you were injured in a car accident, let the attorneys at Patterson Law Group help. We are experienced negotiators and have obtained many excellent settlements on behalf of our clients. To schedule a free consultation with our firm, contact us at 817-784-2000.