A soft tissue injury can occur when the soft tissues of the body (such as muscles, tendons and ligaments) suffer a trauma and are injured, whether through a sudden force (such as stumbling and twisting your ankle), or through repetitive strain (such as carpal tunnel syndrome).
Soft tissue injuries are amongst the most common injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident. Sprains, strains, and bruising (also known as contusions) are common types of soft tissue injuries, and includes whiplash (which occurs when a person’s neck moves abruptly from side to side or forwards and backwards due to a sudden force, resulting in the soft tissues of the neck over-extending beyond their usual limits).
Sprains involve the over-stretching or tearing of ligaments, whereas a strain is the over-stretching or tearing of muscles or tendons. Strains and sprains are typically categorized into three “grades”, with Grade 1 being a mild strain or sprain, and Grade 3 being severe, involving significant injury to the ligament, muscle, tendon or joint.
The symptoms associated with a sprain or strain include swelling, pain, stiffness, and joint instability in weight-bearing joints. The average time of recover for a strain or sprain is anywhere from a few weeks to years, and you may be left with a lifetime injury.
A contusion injury is also common in motor vehicle accidents, and presents as bruising due to blood pooling due to the crushing of muscle and tissue, such as from a sudden force or crushing of the body against the motor vehicle during a collision.
Immediate medical attention is recommended to encourage proper healing and to avoid permanent soft tissue injury. Medical strategies can range from the classic “RICE” (rest, ice, compression, elevation), to bracing, and surgical interventions. Follow-up with physiotherapy may also be necessary to manage long-term muscle and joint issues.
If you have been in a motor vehicle accident and believe you may be suffering from a soft tissue injury, it is very important to seek immediate medical assistance. Your doctor may examine your body for pain, tenderness, swelling, stiffness, bruising and range of motion. X-rays, MRIs, CTs, or other scans may be ordered to check for other types of injury.
One of the difficulties in making an insurance claim for soft tissue injuries is the lack of physical medical evidence beyond the initial physician’s assessment for acute injury. Often, the motor vehicle victim’s word is disbelieved in order to avoid more than the minimum “minor” injury insurance payout, a maximum of $3500 in Ontario.
However, given the extent of soft tissue injury possible in a motor vehicle collision, such as to hands, wrists, fingers, neck, back, knees and ankles, and the potential for life-long damage, pain and complications, Howard Yegendorf & Associates strongly encourages you to contact a personal injury lawyer so that the relevant details of the collision (such as the speed of the vehicle, the force which you were hit at, the direction you were hit from, whether an airbag deployed as a result of the accident), as well as your medical symptoms, are properly documented.
At Howard Yegendorf & Associates we have been serving Ontario for over 20 years, focusing on the Ottawa, Kingston and Toronto areas. With over 50 years of combined personal injury lawyer experience, we will guide and represent you during any serious personal injury case.