Soft tissue injuries can be difficult to prove. Here's how any experienced attorney can help:
Unlike people who suffer broken bones, which are clearly visible to everyone and easy for juries to understand and compensate, most people who suffer soft tissue injuries run the risk of not being fairly compensated because these injuries are more difficult to prove. As such, many unrepresented injured parties have their claims denied or get pennies on the dollar because they did not think they needed an attorney, and they simply were not aware that insurance companies have a system in place to take advantage of those who have suffered such internal injuries. Unfortunately, the insurance industry is determined to minimize your compensation by basically accusing all whiplash and soft tissue injury victims of faking their injuries. An experienced car accident attorney can prevent this from happening.
Questions answered on this page:
- What is a soft tissue injury?
- Why are soft tissue injuries more difficult for the average person to prove than other injuries?
- How will the insurance company go about minimizing a soft tissue injury claim?
- How can an experienced car accident injury attorney help you maximize your claim?
What is whiplash?
Whiplash is considered a range of injuries commonly occurring around one's neck. Whiplash injuries occur most often in car accidents when one is rear-ended, which causes the neck to move forward suddenly and then snap back. A common misunderstanding in relation to whiplash is that they only "actually" occur when vehicles are involved in high speed collisions. This is false. While whiplash does commonly occur in high speed collisions, it very regularly happens during low-speed and low-impact collisions as well. Several factors can contribute to one's likelihood of suffering from whiplash; Such as your seating position, your height, and the type of vehicles that were involved.
Another common misconception about whiplash (and soft tissue injuries in general) is that it is not a serious injury. However, even the most skeptical reading of the relevant medical literature refutes this misconception. Soft tissue and whiplash-related injuries can be especially dangerous because they often go undetected for an extended period of time, causing their severity to increase. After all, we are talking about injuries that generally occur to the area around the neck. What's in our necks? Our spine. Sadly, by thinking of these injuries as neck injuries, we obscure the fact that what we are really dealing with are injuries to the spine and surrounding vertebrae. When they're phrased in such a manner, the potential severity of such injuries is much more readily apparent.
What are common whiplash symptoms?
People who suffer from whiplash often suffer from headaches, neck pain, dizziness, blurred vision, and back pain. If you experience these symptoms it is important that you seek medical attention for your injuries. Not going may only serve to increase your level of pain, and decrease your possible recovery, since one of the largest areas of damage recovery are medical expenses. Injuries resulting from whiplash do not go away on their own and generally grow worse with time. Even if you do not have the money to seek treatment initially, most reputable car accident attorneys have relationships with physicians who will treat you contingent on you recovering money in an accident. If you are successful, the doctor is reimbursed for their time and treatment, if not, you are not on the hook for the costs of their initial treatment.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Injuries to muscles, ligaments, and tendons are considered to be soft tissue injuries. These types of injuries are often considered non-dangerous by many in the general public; however this is not the case. Soft tissue injuries are especially dangerous because they are often not detected by x-ray machines, and doctors may believe that nothing is wrong, even though you may be experiencing pain. If found at an appropriate time, many soft tissue injuries can be treated effectively. While surgery may be necessary for treatment in certain extreme situations, such as severely torn ligaments, often these injuries are often treated with less invasive treatment such a physical therapy. Like soft tissue injuries, other injuries such as lumbar sprains, lower back injuries, joint injuries also do not come up very often on X-ray machines. These injuries, like soft tissue injuries, can still be painful and cause problems that arise from the initial traffic accident.
With these injuries especially, there is a tendency among many folks to try and "tough it up." Not only does this strategy not work, it can undermine your injury claim. If you work through excruciating pain, or participate in physically-demanding recreational activities with friends and family members, insurance companies will almost certainly find out. Too many people post too many pictures on too many social media outlets for word not to get back to the insurance company. When they see such pictures or videos, you are not going to be portrayed as a dedicated parent who would endure searing pain just to be able to do things with your children, they will paint you as a faker, who is exaggerating injuries that can't be that bad.
The problem with soft tissue injuries stems from jury perception in Texas, and the insurance company's ability to take advantage of that phenomenon. The fact of the matter is, juries in this day and age are skeptical of soft tissue injuries. We can all imagine the stereotypical injury-faker sitting on the witness stand wearing a neck brace and pretending that his injuries are worse than they actually are, like Bill Murray's character in the old movie "Wild Things" who wore his neck brace in public, but would take it off in private. Juries will probably see you in the same light, by default, until your attorneys overcome that perception with facts and medical evidence.
Having an attorney, instead of attempting to do this yourself as an unrepresented plaintiff (which is referred to as a pro se litigant) is really the only way you can ensure that all steps of your case are done right the first time. Without that, you're at a tremendous disadvantage in several key ways:
- An unrepresented plaintiff has to deal with an insurance claims adjuster who will take advantage of the fact that juries are inclined toward smaller awards for soft tissue injuries, unless a skillful attorney persuades the jury otherwise.
- A pro se litigant will probably not know how to use the rules of evidence and will not be able to provide the court with useful data. Most non-attorneys believe that they can simply show up to court with medical records in tow, and the jury will be privy to the information contained therein. On the contrary, Texas has very specific rules with regard to the admissibility of evidence, and without an attorney you will have little chance of ever even getting their medical evidence into court. Most attorneys spend years learning the ropes with regard to admissibility of evidence.
- Typically, plaintiffs without representation will not have the resources to contract a testifying expert witness (typically a doctor) to testify on their behalf, and even if they do, they will probably not know how to properly have such a physician designated as an expert so that their opinion can be delivered to the court.
It's pretty plain to see that the rules of evidence alone present a pretty high barrier to most people doing their own cases. Most people would be horrified at the thought of do it yourself dentistry, yet there are a sizable number of people who think they can handle their own soft tissue injury cases without the assistance of a skilled car accident attorney.
By hiring an attorney to help you with your whiplash or soft tissue injury case, you will not only benefit from someone doing all of the work for you so that you can simply focus on recovery, but you will also benefit from being associated with your lawyer's reputation. Most people vastly underrate the significance of such an asset, but it is important to have an attorney whose reputation proves to the insurance carrier that he or she can beat them in court. Insurance companies knows that some attorneys will move mountains not to see the inside of courtroom. As a result, they can wait these attorneys out and give them low-ball offers that don't really leave the client much better off than when they were without representation. The willingness of your attorney to go to court and win, along with the insurance company knowing that you have such an attorney, gives your case the leverage that it needs so that you avoid court and can settle your case for a truly fair amount.
Soft tissue and whiplash-related injuries are difficult to prove without the assistance of a skilled and experienced attorney. Insurance companies will try every trick in the book to show that you were not injured and that you are just faking pain in order to gain a larger recovery.
Choose an attorney who isn't afraid of insurance companies inside the courtroom or out. The attorneys at Grossman Law Offices have helped thousands of clients just like you recover the damages they rightfully deserved as a result of their injuries, we can help you too. Call (855) 326-0000 to schedule your free consultation and review the merits of your case.
If you have suffered soft tissue injuries in an auto accident, you may be interested in these related articles
- How Mediation Works in a Car Accident Case
- An Overview of How Car Accident Insurance Works in Texas
- Leverage: What Makes Insurance Carriers Want to Settle