Under the guise of “fraud prevention,” a bill currently before the Florida state legislature may impose an obligation upon injured persons to seek emergency medical care within 72 hours of a motor vehicle accident or lose their right to recover for their injuries. This is particularly problematic for a class of injuries that are referred to as “soft tissue injuries.” Many victims of vehicle accidents hear their medical providers diagnose them as suffering “soft tissue injuries.” What is a soft tissue injury?
Strictly speaking, soft tissue itself is defined as those parts of the body represented by the voluntary muscles, ligaments, fat and fibrous tissues, blood vessels and the peripheral nerves therein. While sustain soft tissue injuries are to the spinal area, this type of injury is not in any way limited to the spine.
Soft tissue injuries occur due to the forces that the body, or a part of the body, experiences during the trauma which causes a disruption in the soft tissue structure. The severity of soft tissue injury and their longevity varies. One could say that this would depend on different circumstances including but not limited to a) the amount of force the body was subjected to b) the size of the surface area that produces the force or energy and c) the characteristics of the target area (i.e.- the amount of nerves, muscles, or skin that the affected area is made up of.)
While insurance companies may scoff at the veracity of ‘soft tissue injuries,’ medical evidence indicates that this type of injury is sustained by those involved in incidents ranging from sexual assault cases to other criminal actions, industrial accidents, physical altercations, and auto collisions. While victims of injuries may not sustain a fracture or internal organ injury, this does not mean that the person did not sustain a significant injury. Soft tissue injuries may or may not produce visible physical damage. Many times these injuries are manifested by pain and inflammation. Those suffering from soft tissue injuries will heal differently often depending on their age and their genetic makeup.
It is important for lawyers representing victims of injury to be familiar with the diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of soft tissue injuries. Additionally, successful attorney’s must understand the medical providers diagnostic tools and treatment modalities. Besides this, an experienced litigator representing those with soft tissue injuries needs to be able to understand the potential physical, psychological and economic impacts from soft tissue injuries. They must also be aware that some of those suffering from such injuries may seek traditional medical treatment through their HMO’s, while others may seek alternative remedies. Being familiar with both medical and holistic approaches to their client’s soft tissue injuries will aid them in being able to present their client’s medical evidence to the insurance companies and their attorneys.
If you, or a family member has suffered an injury to the neck, back or spine due to the carelessness of an individual or business, including soft tissue injuries, the Law Offices of Edward A. Smith will help answer your questions and determine what legal rights you or that family member has. Edward Smith and his staff have dealt with soft tissue injuries involving cases ranging from auto collisions, those attacked and/or bitten by dogs, falling merchandise, and slip and falls.