The effects of soft tissue injuries are underestimated. Insurance companies often try to downplay these injuries and deny valid claims. However, soft tissue injuries can be very painful and result in serious complications.
Below, we discuss soft tissue injuries, how they occur, and the compensation you may be able to seek if someone else’s negligence caused your harm.
What Are Soft Tissues?
Soft tissues are the parts of your musculoskeletal system other than bones, which include:
Muscles provide strength to move various parts of your body.
Tendons connect muscles to your bones.
Ligaments connect bones and hold them together at joints. They also allow you to bend and twist your joints.
Cartilage cushions the joints against potential impact and prevents bones from grinding against each other.
A membrane surrounds your muscles. It is called fascia. The fascia prevents your muscles from rubbing against your body’s tissues and holds muscle fibers together.
Soft tissue injuries are injuries to any of the body parts described above.
How Do Soft Tissue Injuries Occur?
The most common causes of soft tissue injuries are:
Overuse injuries occur when you perform repetitive motions like bending, lifting, kneeling, or carrying. Over time, the soft tissues can tear. These injuries are more common in the workplace.
Other soft tissue injuries occur when a foreign object pierces the skin. These penetrating injuries can tear the skin and potentially cause infection. If your blood circulation is disrupted because of such penetration, serious injuries can result.
Hyperextension injuries occur when the soft tissue stretches beyond its normal capacity.
Another common cause of soft tissue injuries is blunt force when something impacts the body. For example, in a car accident, you may suffer a soft tissue injury from blunt force when your shoulder hits the dashboard.
What Are Some Symptoms of Soft Tissue Injuries?
Symptoms of soft tissue injuries include:
- Pain in the affected area
- Mild heat
- Muscle spasms
- Swelling and inflammation
- Limited range of motion
If you notice any of these symptoms after an accident, seek prompt medical attention.
What Are Common Types of Soft Tissue Injuries?
There are several different types of soft tissue injuries.
Some of the most common types of soft tissue injuries include:
- Sprains – A sprain is a hyperextension injury that occurs when a ligament is torn or stretched. Knees, ankles, and wrists are common body parts that are sprained.
- Strains – A strain is another hyperextension injury. It occurs when tendons or muscles are stretched or torn due to trauma.
- Contusions – A contusion or bruise occurs when blunt force impacts underlying muscle fibers or connective tissue.
- Torn cartilage – When cartilage tears, you may experience stiff joints or hear grinding joints. It can also be painful.
It is important to seek prompt medical attention if you suspect a soft tissue injury to avoid complications.
How Are Soft Tissue Injuries Treated?
The RICE method is usually used to treat soft tissue injuries, which stands for:
- Rest – Your doctor may recommend that you take a break from work and other strenuous activities so that your body can rest. Your doctor may also recommend using crutches to avoid bearing weight.
- Ice – You may also be instructed to apply ice packs to the injured area for 20 minutes at a time several times a day.
- Compression – You may also use an elastic compression bandage to prevent problems with blood loss or swelling.
- Elevation – Elevating the injured body part above your heart may also be recommended.
This method is effective in treating many soft tissue injuries. However, some more serious soft tissue injuries may require additional treatment, such as surgery and/or physical therapy.
Can Soft Tissue Injuries Cause Complications?
Soft tissue injuries can cause serious complications, such as:
- Infection – Infections occur when bacteria enters the body through an open wound. Infection is more likely to occur when there is a penetrating injury. Untreated, it can lead to gangrene or sepsis.
- Nerve damage – Nerves can also be stretched and torn. Nerve damage is indicated by numbness or tingling in the injured area. Some instances of nerve damage require surgery.
- Blood vessel damage – Some soft tissue injuries involve dislocations. In rare circumstances, dislocations can damage arteries or disrupt the blood supply to the injured part of the body. If untreated, this issue can potentially lead to amputation.
- Joint problems – Joints can become stiff if they have to be immobilized by a splint or cast. Sometimes, joints can become unstable, which can cause further problems.
- Compartment syndrome – Compartment syndrome occurs when soft tissue swells and puts pressure on nearby blood vessels. In this case, blood flow to the injured body part is reduced or blocked, causing the tissue to become damaged or die.
Prompt medical attention and careful monitoring of symptoms can potentially help avoid these and other complications.
What Compensation Is Available in a Soft Tissue Injury Claim?
If you suffered a soft tissue injury in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you have the right to seek compensation to cover your losses.
Depending on the circumstances, this may include payment for:
- Medical expenses, including ambulance charges, emergency treatment, surgery costs, hospitalization, diagnostic tests, doctor visits, rehabilitation, and anticipated medical expenses for the future
- Lost wages and employment benefits
- Reduced earning capacity if you are unable to return to the same job because of your injury
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring or disfigurement
To obtain compensation for your injuries, you will need to take legal action within the applicable deadline.
How Long Do I Have To File a Soft Tissue Injury Claim in Texas?
For most personal injury cases, you have a two-year deadline to file a lawsuit against the negligent party. This means you usually only have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. However, there are times when you may have more or less time. You can preserve your legal rights by contacting a lawyer as soon as possible.
Contact a Dallas Personal Injury Lawyer for Help Pursuing Compensation for Your Soft Tissue Injuries
Did you suffer a soft tissue injury in an accident caused by another person’s negligence in Dallas, TX? You could be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses and other damages. A personal injury lawyer from the Jay Murray Personal Injury Lawyers can help.