As of 2016, there were roughly 7.9 million cars registered within the State of Florida, according to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV). With all these cars there is, unfortunately, always a risk that there may be an accident. It is very common that in a car accident, the victim may sustain something known as a soft tissue injury. Soft tissue injuries can be extremely painful and, in some cases, extremely debilitating, which could impact your ability to live a normal life. For these reasons, it is best to file a claim with the relevant insurance companies and have a car accident attorney on your side to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Contact The Law Place today if you or a loved one have sustained a soft tissue injury in a car accident that was not your fault. The personal injury attorneys at our law firm boast 75 years of combined experience in dealing with cases similar to yours, and many of our team are AVVO 10.0 rated. We are well versed in the skills required to settle a claim and will work tirelessly to get you compensation for the injuries you suffered. Call our office for a free case evaluation on (941) 444-4444. Phone lines are open 24/7.
What Is a Soft Tissue Injury?
Soft tissue injuries involve any injury that has not affected the bones. Examples of soft tissue injury are ligament, tendon, or muscle damage. Even a minor car accident still has enough force to cause a severe soft tissue injury.
However, these types of injuries may not be visible, at least not at first. Instead, they may only show up on x-rays but sometimes won’t appear in that either. Additionally, in many soft tissue cases, the victim won’t realize they even have an injury at the scene because of the lack of visible injury and the adrenaline/shock following an accident. These factors can result in a lack of diagnosis, and many victims will then develop more severe injuries as time progresses. In this time where there is no diagnosis, there will also be no sufficient medical treatment. The symptoms of a soft tissue injury include pain, reduced mobility, swelling, and more, but these can take days or weeks to become apparent.
If you wish to receive compensation for your injuries, then it is possible your or the other driver’s insurance company will try to discredit the validity of your claim or even deny it. If you have not got in contact with a personal injury attorney, then it is likely you will have a significantly more difficult time in court.
What Is the Most Common Type of Soft Tissue Injuries Caused in Car Accidents?
There are many types of soft tissue injuries that can be compensated for in soft tissue injury claims. The most common types of injuries recorded in these personal injury claims include:
- Contusion – These injuries are more commonly referred to as deep bruises. Contusions are a type of tissue injury caused by blunt force trauma. The trauma then leads to pain and swelling in the area, and purple bruises, and discoloration. A serious injury like this can require an extended period of healing.
- Whiplash injury – Most people will have heard of whiplash, as it is the most commonly reported type of soft tissue injury. It is caused when a sudden force against your back causes your neck to jerk violently and is a very common occurrence in car accidents. Whiplash can cause a range of symptoms such as neck pain, back pain, and headaches. This can last for extended periods of time and, in some unfortunate scenarios, the damage may become permanent.
- Sprains – Sprains involve slight tears and damage to the ligaments. A sprain can be caused by a quick jerking motion that is outside of your standard range of movement. A sprain will cause you to experience a lot of pain immediately. A soft tissue sprain most commonly occurs in people’s ankles, knees, and wrists. In the most severe of cases, your injury may require surgical intervention.
- Bursitis – This is when the bursa becomes inflamed. The bursa is a fluid-filled sac that creates a cushion between your muscles or tendons and the bones. This injury can be caused by a direct impact on a joint.
- Burns or abrasions – If an open wound has been caused by abrasion or friction, then this is called a burn or abrasion. The most severe scenarios may coincide with a loss of blood, scarring, infections, and in some cases, a skin graft may be required to remedy the injury.
- Lacerations – Lacerations, also referred to as deep cuts, are open wounds that can occur in an accident, such as a car crash or a slip and fall. Damage to this degree can require stitches.
No matter what specific soft tissue injuries you have sustained in your collision, you deserve to be compensated for your pain and suffering. For this reason, we recommend contacting a lawyer from The Law Place to help settle your claim.
Can Soft Tissue Injuries Cause Long-Term Damage?
Soft tissue injuries can result in a very painful and long road to recovery. These injuries may also mean your ability to work, carry out an independent life, and interact with your friends or family may be impacted. Florida Statute 768.81 explains that if you have been a victim of a soft tissue injury because of somebody else’s negligence, then you may be entitled to compensation. This is important to know if you consider the expensive medical bills you may face following a soft tissue injury that could financially bankrupt you without this compensation.
Soft tissue injuries of any degree can require weeks or even months to fully heal. Not only is this time you may not be willing to sacrifice, but the injury itself and its healing can have a severe negative effect on your ability to live your life normally. Furthermore, medical treatment may help, but it may also result in scar tissue. The mental impact of this and dealing with medical appointments can also be difficult.
The initial signs to look for when deciding whether your injuries could be severe enough to cause long term damage include:
- If the place of injury looks deformed.
- If you heard a pop or crack on collision.
- If you cannot move the affected limb/joint or put any weight on it.
- If you are experiencing pins and needles or numbness where the injury occurred.
- Severe pain and discomfort around the joint or bone.
To learn more about the potential long-term impacts of a soft tissue injury and what a lawyer could do to help with this, contact a personal injury attorney at The Law Place today.
What Damages Could I Be Awarded?
Soft tissue cases will often result in a number of damages. Examples of the damages you could be owed following your car accident include:
- Medical bills – If you have sustained soft tissue damage in a car accident, then it is likely you sought out medical treatment. For any medical expenses you face, then these costs can be taken into account when you receive your settlement offer. If your injuries require ongoing treatment, then these potential costs can also be included. You should keep all evidence of your medical records and bills in order to ensure you receive a suitable injury settlement value. Otherwise, your insurance company may have grounds to deny your claim.
- Pain and suffering – Pain and suffering damages are very complex. They involve any mental or physical suffering you endured because of your car accident, as well as any loss of enjoyment in life. An example of loss of enjoyment would be you being unable to play an instrument you once regularly enjoyed because of your soft tissue injury. An accident victim who applies for pain and suffering will most likely require a personal injury lawyer as these damages can be difficult to prove and translate into a fair settlement request.
- Lost wages – If your car accident meant that you had to have time off from work and you lost out on a source of income, then you could be owed compensation. A car accident settlement will make up for this loss of income. If your soft tissue injuries mean that you cannot ever return to work or have had to change to a less physically demanding job, then you could also claim for a loss of earning potential.
- Property damage – If you have been involved in a car crash, then it is likely you have sustained some property damage, i.e., your vehicle. These costs can be accounted for in your settlement if you provide evidence of the relevant expenses.
If you believe you could be owed any of these damages, then call The Law Place today!
What Is the Average Car Accident Settlement Involving Soft Tissue Injuries?
The average settlement resulting from a soft tissue injury is very difficult to calculate due to the sheer range of outcomes. For example, an ankle sprain can result in $15,000, or $20,000 for soft tissue injuries in your shoulder, or $2,500-$10,000 for whiplash, and as much as $100,000-350,000 for a herniated disc injury. It is absolutely crucial to remember, however, that a car accident claim can vary massively and to not assume that your payout will be the same as these. Therefore, it is always best to work with an experienced car accident lawyer who can advise you on what to expect based on the details of your case.
An injury settlement will be determined by a number of factors. This includes any medical expenses, physical therapy costs, pain and suffering damages, etc. For example, if you only received an x-ray and a diagnosis, then you will receive less economic damages than somebody who had to have surgery and months of physical therapy. If you wish to file a claim but first want to see how much you could be owed, then contact our law firm today. A personal injury attorney will be able to evaluate your case and come up with a potential settlement offer in your free consultation.
A factor that does help increase your settlement is having an attorney on hand. Over 91% of accident victims who have a personal injury lawyer successfully receive a payout, and the value of these payouts was on average $60,000 higher than victims who did not have legal representation. Contact The Law Place today to learn more about the benefits of legal representation.
What Is the Average Payout for Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering are difficult to prove, and the amount you receive will depend on a variety of factors. These include:
- The direct and indirect economic expenses.
- The severity of your injuries.
- Possible long-term effects of your injury.
The multiplier method is sometimes used to help calculate how much an individual may be owed in pain and suffering damages. In order to calculate this, the economic damages are multiplied by 1-5. This will depend on the severity of the injuries. For example, if a person sustained severe burns to their body which required surgery and skin grafts and cost $10,000 in hospital expenses, then their lawyer may argue $40,000 could be a fair claim.
Why Are Soft Tissue Cases So Difficult to Pursue?
Soft tissue cases can be difficult to pursue because of several different reasons. These are things that an experienced personal injury lawyer should be able to overcome. Examples include:
- If you failed to seek medical attention – It is simple to comprehend that if you break a bone or hit your head, then there is no question that you go straight to a hospital. However, with soft tissue injuries, it can be a lot harder to determine the severity, and as they do not visibly appear too severe at first, many do not see a hospital trip as necessary. This can be a big mistake, both because of your health and because an insurance company can use this against you.
- An issue with causation – Direct causation can create an issue in some soft tissue cases as the other side may try to argue your injury was a part of your prior medical history. Unfortunately, a lot of people try to cheat the system with fraudulent injury claims. This makes it harder for those who have actually suffered.
- Limited medical evidence – Again, unlike a broken bone or internal bleeding, it can be more difficult to diagnose a soft tissue injury and then provide a sufficient amount of medical evidence.
What Does a Legal Car Accident Investigation Involve?
The Law Place has years of experience in dealing with soft tissue cases. Therefore, we have all of the necessary resources and networks to carry out a thorough investigation into your personal injury claim. To secure a fair settlement, your personal injury lawyer may carry out the following:
- Identify and interview any possible witnesses.
- Obtain a copy of the police report, if there was one.
- Analyze any physical evidence (e.g., your medical records).
- Enlist the help of professionals such as economists, medical experts, etc.
- Seek for any existing, or take their own, photos or videos of the accident scene and your injury.
- Gather evidence of your injury-related losses and expenses (e.g., medical bills).
If you wish to file a claim, then your personal injury attorneys’ investigation will have to prove four important things:
- What exactly happened.
- Who was liable for your injuries.
- The losses you suffered because of this accident, including mental, physical, and financial.
- The potential value of your injury claim.
What Will a Car Accident Attorney Do for Me?
A lawyer at our law firm will work tirelessly to make your recovery easier for you by taking on the stress surrounding your legal case whilst also ensuring you get a fair settlement. If you choose to hire a lawyer from The Law Place, then you should expect us to do the following:
- Make all of your legal options very clear so you sufficiently understand the legal routes you could pursue.
- Protect your legal right to hold the at-fault driver responsible for your damages.
- Investigate your collision and gather the appropriate evidence to support the claim.
- Prepare and file the claim.
- Be able to demand a suitable payout from the respective insurance company.
- Carry out any negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
- Reach a suitable settlement or pursue the case further in civil court.
Will No-Fault Insurance Affect My Car Accident Settlement?
Florida’s no-fault insurance rules are clearly explained within Florida Statute 627.7407. These no-fault rules mean that if you have been in an accident involving others, then all of the individuals involved must refer to their own insurance companies to make their soft tissue injury claims. This is the rule no matter who is actually proven to have caused the accident. So that each insurance company can afford to cover this, all drivers in the state are required to have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance included within their insurance policy.
An injury settlement covered by PIP insurance should cover all medical bills and lost wages caused by the soft tissue injury, as well as any unavoidable expenses caused by their accident (e.g., babysitting costs whilst you received medical treatment). However, an insurance company will have a limit on how much they ‘payout.’ If your financial losses are not covered by PIP insurance, then a separate lawsuit against the person proven to be at fault may be required.
How Will Comparative Negligence Laws Affect My Car Accident Claim?
Florida’s comparative negligence laws are clearly laid out in Florida Statute 768.81. Comparative negligence laws mean that the court will focus heavily on who was at fault to determine your settlement. A judge will assign liability, and then your settlement will depend on the rules of comparative negligence. To put it simply, this means that the settlement value given to the accident victim will be based on the percentage of fault that was proven to be their own.
An example of this would be if your car accident had been predominantly caused by the other driver involved being intoxicated, but you were also proven to be traveling 5 mph above the speed limit at the time. In this case, the judge working your case might reduce your settlement by roughly ten percent. The aim of this deduction to your own settlement is to reflect your own liability. This reduction is based on the fact drunk driving is classed as a much more severe offense than speeding at less than 10 mph over the speed limit. You can still claim compensation as long as you are less than 50% at fault.
Is There a Time Limit on My Injury Case?
If you or a loved one have been in a car accident that has resulted in soft tissue injuries, then you need to act as quickly as possible and consider hiring an attorney. Florida Statute 95.11 explains that, in Florida, there is an extremely strict time limit on how long a car accident case has before it’s no longer heard in court. The statute of limitations means that following your car accident in Florida, you will have a maximum of four years from the date of your collision to put forward a claim. If you fail to do this, your case will be permanently barred. To put it simply, you will be unable to receive any of the compensation you would otherwise be owed if you miss this deadline. In the unfortunate case that you have lost a loved one in a car accident, then this deadline is reduced to two years from the date of the accident.
Additionally, Florida Statute 627.736 makes clear that you are required to seek medical care within two weeks of your car accident. Even if you think you weren’t injured in your accident, it is always best to get a medical professional’s opinion. Many soft tissue injuries can only be detected in x-rays or by a doctor. Furthermore, this statute is not just in place for your own health and safety. It is also for insurance purposes. If you go two weeks or more without medical treatment, then insurance companies often use this against the victim as an excuse to reduce the settlement amount or completely disregard it. This is because, in the eyes of an insurance company, you have essentially “left it too late,” and your injuries must not have been severe enough to warrant compensation.
How Much Do Personal Injury Lawyers From The Law Place Cost?
All of the soft tissue lawyers at The Law Place work on a strict contingency basis, and all of the work we complete for you will be monitored by the State Bar Association. “Contingency basis” basically means that any legal fees that we charge will instead be deducted from your final settlement. In the unlikely scenario that your claim does not succeed then, our firm will not charge you a cent. This is commonly referred to as a no-win-no-fee guarantee!
Our law firm will consistently be 100% upfront of all of our legal fees. Therefore, you can be confident that you will not be surprised by any hidden costs. Call our lawyers today if you want to schedule your free consultation. We will be more than willing to answer all questions you may have about how much our services cost. This should make you completely aware of what you will be charged.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney at The Law Place Today!
If you or a loved one have sustained soft tissue injuries in a car accident in Florida that was not your fault, then do not hesitate to get into contact with The Law Place today! Here at The Law Place, we recognize the pain and suffering that can accompany a car accident and the associated injuries. We realize that money will not automatically put you back to how you were before your accident, but it is certainly a step in the right direction. We have 75 years of combined experience in dealing with injury cases such as your own and are more than ready to get the necessary legal actions started.
Schedule a free case evaluation with our personal injury attorneys as soon as possible. We will be able to answer any questions you may have whilst also evaluating your case and getting familiar with its details. Call our toll-free number on (941) 444-4444. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for your own convenience.