A car accident injury can be devastating depending on the degree and severity. This article reviews some of the more common, yet difficult to prove, medical conditions from a car accident injury. Duckworth Law has decades of experience in representing those injured in car accidents. All injuries can be devastating, but some are easier to prove than others. This article focuses on the hard-to-prove injuries.
Soft Tissue Car Accident Injury
Soft tissue injuries are perhaps the most common car accident injury we see, and also the most difficult to prove. You have likely heard of “whiplash” which is a term people often use to describe a neck injury in a car accident. “Sprain,” “strain,” “pulled muscle” are some other terms you might hear describing soft tissue injuries.
Just what is a soft tissue injury? John’s Hopkins defines soft tissue injuries as contusions, sprains, tendonitis, bursitis, stress injuries, and strains. Likewise, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) describes soft tissue injuries as injuries to muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Diagnosing a soft tissue car accident injury with any precision appears to be the difficult part. Certainly a soft tissue injury can involve swelling and/or bruising, but it’s not always evident. A sprained ankle may swell, but a strain to a back muscle may not necessarily be obviously swollen. MRI’s certainly can show some soft tissue injuries, but oftentimes they miss subtle, yet very painful, soft tissue injuries.
The issue is that for a car accident case, the injury has to be proven to a jury. Juries can be skeptical of an injury they can’t see. The frustrating thing for clients is that a soft tissue injury may be every bit as painful as a broken bone, and sometimes can last longer, yet insurance companies surely will question the legitimacy of a soft tissue injury and imply that you are faking it.
It all starts with your medical providers, and making sure they have the opportunity to clearly examine and diagnose your car accident injury. Every case is different, but her are some practical tips that can help make sure a soft tissue car accident injury is not missed:
- Prior to a doctor’s visit, write down what body parts hurt and describe the pain. People sometimes get nervous or panicked in a doctor’s office, and it is helpful to have it written down so that you don’t leave out any details.
- Be assertive with doctors. Doctors are busy, and if you are not direct and up front with them, things get missed. Be clearl and assertive.
- Carefully answer any questions from the doctor, honestly and with factual support.
- Explain to the doctor exactly what type of activities aggravate or cause your pain.
- Ask the doctor for a diagnosis and clear plan for each injured body part.
- Do what the doctor or therapist recommends.
- Follow up timely, so that your doctor can keep track of your recovery.
There is no silver bullet, and soft tissue injuries are difficult to prove, but these tips will help make sure your provider is aware and on top of your condition. Soft tissue injuries like whiplash also take time to recover. Without rest, ice, and relaxation, they may become chronic. It is important that you take a soft tissue car accident injury seriously.
Concussion Car Accident Injury
Head injuries are perhaps the most contentious type of car accident injury we see at Duckworth Law. Concussions, like soft tissue injuries, are sometimes difficult to prove. Yet, concussions can have literally life long devastating effects. You have probably read about NFL players with concussions who went on to suffer serious mental health issues including suicide. The NFL overlooked concussions for decades, and yet we are beginning to learn that concussions are serious and permanent injuries.
The first step is diagnosing a concussion. If a person loses consciousness it makes proving the concussion easier. If you are knocked unconscious, you surely suffered a concussion, but most concussions do not involve loss of consciousness. A sure sign is if you don’t remember the time period before or after the incident. Other symptoms can range from:
- slurred speech
- nausea or vomiting
- light sensitivity
- blurred vision
- ringing in ears
- loss of memory
- anxiety and/or depression
Just like with the soft tissue injury, follow the steps above before your appointment. Write down your symptoms, be assertive, and ask pointed questions about your recovery. They may recommend a MRI or CT, but even imaging does not detect all concussions. Make sure you follow up with your provider on a consistent basis because if your symptoms do not improve you may need a referal to a specialist or speech therapy.
Treatment for concussion is always evolving, but sometimes there is little to do besides rest. Be careful and take it seriously. You do not want to make it worse by pushing it, and repeat concussions, particularly while healing from another concussion, can be devastating.
Car Accident Injury Summary
Insurance companies will look for anything to question or belittle your claim. Due to their subtle nature, soft tissue injuries and concussions give insurance companies a chance to get away with denying you compensation for legitimate injuries, that is if you let them get away with it. However, if you are on top of it, and work with your doctor immediately, you have a much better chance at proving your injury and getting the compensation you deserve.
One of the most important things — talk to and consider hiring an experienced law firm like Duckworth Law. Duckworth Law has handled many soft tissue and/concussion cases and we know what to do to make sure you are taken care of physically and financially.