Cars today are significantly safer than they have ever been. Airbags, steel cages, and crumble zones have protected passengers from many serious injuries even at relatively high speeds. But the human body is still vulnerable because of the force that comes from impact and stopping rapidly.
The trauma which comes from this is called a “soft tissue” injury. These can be very difficult to diagnose and treat. More importantly, the symptoms may not show up for days or even weeks after the accident. If you or a loved one have been in an accident it’s important that you understand these injuries and what you need to do to be treated and properly compensated for your injuries.
What is a soft tissue injury?
When we think of injuries in an accident, we usually think of the kind which have outward symptoms that are immediately apparent. This includes puncture wounds, where the skin is penetrated and there is bleeding. Another type of injury with immediate signs, including great pain, is a fracture or a broken bone.
The third type of injury, and the type that is most common in a car accident, is a soft tissue injury. This affect muscles, organs, and ligaments of the body. These are caused by rapid deceleration when your car is hit or collides with a stationary object. The most common of these injuries is whiplash, which is when the ligaments which support the weight of your neck are strained by sudden movement of your head.
Diagnosis of soft tissue injuries
Soft tissue injuries rarely present any outward signs and are not apparent to the medics at the scene. More importantly, they may not show any symptoms at all for days or even weeks.
Anyone who has been in a car accident is going to be sore the next day. In the case of whiplash, the strain of simply supporting your own head might be extremely painful. It may also present as a tingling sensation or loss of feeling in your shoulder and arm.
See a doctor
It is vitally important that you see a doctor immediately after any car accident so that you can be evaluated for soft tissue injuries. If you have additional symptoms of any kind, including any soreness or loss of feeling, a follow-up visit is essential.
This is true even weeks after your accident. Internal organs, for example, may not start to show significant signs for a very long time and are known to not present symptoms of deceleration trauma for months.
Consult an attorney
It is also vital that you at least consult with an attorney with experience in the kind of soft tissue injuries which come from a car accident. Even what seems like a minor accident can cause you tremendous pain that needs to be treated immediately or it will get worse.
Many people who have had an accident believe it is not a big deal or fear that they might miss work afterwards. That potential loss is exactly why a personal injury attorney is necessary.
There is always a chance that you are indeed fine and have nothing to worry about. But after the accident, peace of mind is often one of the first things to go. It’s worth taking a few simple steps to make sure that if you have been injured you will be taken care of and have a full recovery.