Feeling a little stiff or disoriented after a car accident may be a sign of something more medically serious. Therefore, it is always best to seek medical treatment at a hospital emergency room or urgent care facility after sustaining injuries in a car accident. At the emergency room, a health care provider can undertake a complete medical examination of you and administer the necessary imaging tests, including x-rays, MRIs, or brain scans.
If you have suffered injuries in a car accident that was someone else’s fault, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Don’t go at it alone. The Florida car accident lawyers at Dolman Law Group will review the circumstances of your case with you and may be able to pursue monetary recovery on your behalf.
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Stiffness and Soft Tissue Injuries
Muscular stiffness following a car accident is often a sign of a soft tissue injury. Soft tissue injuries are those types of injuries that do not involve fractures or broken bones and that do not require invasive medical treatment, such as a surgery, to correct. Soft tissue injuries may consist of muscular sprains and strains, whiplash injuries, musculoskeletal disorders, chest injuries (often burn injuries from the seatbelt), and knee sprains or contusions.
Soft tissue injuries are especially common in motor vehicle accidents like rear-end collisions. These collisions cause the vehicle driver’s body to abruptly move forward and backward inside the vehicle. Knee contusions are also common if a driver or passenger hits a knee on the car dashboard during a collision.
If and when you seek initial medical treatment at the hospital, a health care provider will typically do an x-ray of any affected body parts—just to make sure that you did not sustain a fracture. Treatment of soft tissue injuries usually involves rest, and in some cases, physical therapy. Moreover, some soft tissue injuries are permanent and may require ongoing medical care and treatment.
Proving Soft Tissue Injuries in a Car Accident Case
Personal injury plaintiffs sometimes have difficulty proving the existence of soft tissue injuries. This is because soft tissue injuries are not always observable from imaging studies, such as x-rays and MRIs. As a result, insurance companies sometimes try and deny that these injuries even exist. In other cases, they may point to degenerative findings on x-rays or MRIs to explain away the injury’s significance—or to “disconnect” the injury from the accident.
In serious soft tissue injury cases, you may need to have a medical specialist or another expert testify that your injury is permanent and that your life will be affected by the injury for many years to come.
Head Injuries Sustained in Car Accidents
If you are feeling dazed or disoriented after a car accident, this may be a sign of a more serious injury. In some cases, car accident victims sustain minor head injuries or concussions when their head strikes the headrest. In other cases, the accident victim’s head and body may lurch forward at the point of impact, causing the head to strike the steering wheel. In serious car accidents, the accident victim may even lose consciousness for a period of time. Even if the accident victim remains conscious the entire time, he or she may still experience a period of dizziness or disorientation.
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should immediately seek follow-up medical care. Health care providers at an emergency room or urgent care facility may be able to do a CAT-scan or other imaging study to see if you sustained a brain bruise or other head injury. By seeking medical treatment early-on, health care providers are more likely to discover a serious head injury, increasing your chances of a speedy recovery and decreasing your chances of developing an even more serious head injury.
Seeking Compensation for Your Injuries
The first step to seeking monetary compensation for injuries you sustained in an accident is to file a claim for benefits with your insurance company. Under Florida’s no-fault statute, your own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy will provide coverage for medical bills and lost wages up to $10,000. This is true without regard to who caused the car accident.
However, if you sustained a permanent injury or medical bills and lost wages exceeding $10,000, you may be able to sue the at-fault driver directly and seek money damages. Accident victims who sustain injuries in car accidents may be able to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and related pain, suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, and inconvenience.
Call a Clearwater Personal Injury Car Accident Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case
Car accidents can result in soft tissue injuries as well as far more serious injuries. If you are not sure whether or not you have been injured, it is always best to be on the safe side and seek initial medical treatment. In order to maximize the value of your personal injury case, it is best to seek consistent follow-up medical treatment and physical therapy. You should also consult with your primary care physician if you have one.
You should always remember that in soft tissue injury cases especially, the insurance company is not on your side. Insurance adjusters are very skeptical of soft tissue injuries and will look for any excuse to deny their existence, including significant gaps in medical treatment, inconsistencies in your medical and physical therapy records, prior accidents or injuries, and degenerative changes on imaging studies.
An experienced Clearwater personal injury car accident lawyer can meet with you to discuss your accident and injuries. A lawyer can represent you and advocate for you throughout your case, including during settlement negotiations with insurance adjusters and at mediation, arbitration, or at trial.
The Florida personal injury car accident lawyers at Dolman Law Group know the pain and inconvenience associated with a car accident. Our attorneys are ready and willing to represent you in your case today. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a Clearwater personal injury car accident lawyer, please call us or contact us online today.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765