When you think about the harm caused by a serious car accident, you may think about brain injuries, spinal cord damage, and broken bones. However, soft tissue injuries should also be of concern. Many people see these injuries as minor, but they can cause significant complications. If you suffered soft tissue injuries in an Ellicott City car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. An attorney can advise you about your legal options.
Common Types of Soft Tissue Injuries
The term soft tissue refers to muscles, tendons, ligaments, and skin. The most common soft tissue injuries that result from car accidents include lacerations, avulsions and abrasions, contusions, whiplash, and sprains and strains.
Lacerations, Avulsions, and Abrasions
These are all open soft tissue injuries. Since the skin separates, the victim loses blood and is at risk of infection. Lacerations are jagged cuts through the skin. If a chunk of skin or tissue has been torn away, this is called an avulsion. Lacerations and avulsions usually require stitches and, in some cases, they leave permanent scars. Meanwhile, abrasions refer to when the skin comes into contact with a rough surface and gets rubbed off or sloughed away. Abrasions are treated in much the same way as burn injuries.
Whiplash occurs when the head and neck are violently jolted back and forth. Symptoms include:
- Limited range of motion in the neck
- Pain and stiffness
- Worsening pain when moving the neck
- Headaches that start at the base of the skull
- Tingling or numbness in the arms
Most accident victims who suffer whiplash recover within a few weeks, but some develop complications. Many are left with chronic pain.
Sometimes, the skin doesn’t break but blood pools beneath the skin. This can put pressure on blood vessels in the area and restrict blood flow. This type of injury is known as a contusion.
Sprains and Strains
A sprain is a partial tear in a ligament typically caused by a twisting or wrenching motion. These injuries often occur in the shoulder, elbow, wrist, and ankle. Meanwhile, strains occur when a muscle or tendon stretches past the point of comfort. Although they are most commonly associated with overuse, strains can also be due to force or trauma.
Complications Resulting from Soft Tissue Injuries
While many soft tissue injuries can be resolved with rest, ice, compression, and elevation, severe injuries require medical treatment. Some victims need surgery to improve their range of motion while others need skin grafts after suffering significant scarring. If your injuries are serious, an Ellicott City car accident lawyer can help you to recover compensation.
Soft tissue injuries can result from:
- Infection. Infection is most likely to occur if you have an open injury since harmful bacteria can get into the bloodstream. Some infections only affect the skin, but others get into the muscle or the organs.
- Deep vein thrombosis. This is when a blood clot forms in a deep vein in the leg and it tends to occur in people who suffer contusions. Deep vein thrombosis can lead to a pulmonary embolism – when a clot breaks free and travels to the lung.
- Post-traumatic muscle fibrosis. This is a condition that can occur following trauma in which muscle tissue is replaced by connective tissue. The fibrous tissue presents as scarring and it hinders the individual’s ability to use the muscle. It can also result in loss of strength and control. People suffering from fibrosis often need surgery.
- Acute compartment syndrome. This happens when swelling or bleeding causes the pressure in the muscles to build up to dangerous levels. This decreases blood flow and prevents the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the affected area. Acute compartment syndrome is a medical emergency.
Recovering Damages Following a Soft Tissue Injury
You should be able to recover damages for:
- Medical expenses including emergency treatment, ambulance transportation, surgery, hospitalization, testing, and physical therapy
- Lost wages if your injuries prevent you from working or cause you to miss work because you have to go to doctor’s appointments
- Loss of earning capacity if you become permanently disabled and you can’t work or earn the same income as you did before
- Non-economic damages including pain and suffering, emotional distress, and permanent disfigurement or disability
Contact Pinder Plotkin LLC to Discuss Your Case
Since soft tissue injuries can result in serious or even life-threatening complications, you need to consult an attorney. If someone else caused your injuries, they should have to compensate you. The Ellicott City car accident attorneys at Pinder Plotkin LLC can assist you in exploring your legal options. Call us today!