If you have ever been rear-ended in traffic or suffered some other car collision because someone else wasn’t paying attention, you know that a lack of property damage does not necessarily mean that there will be no bodily injury. Unfortunately, most insurance companies beg to differ, and will try to minimize your injuries and pain in order to justify a small settlement offer.
Many people buy into the argument that they cannot be badly injured because their car does not have a lot of visible property damaged, but the truth is that injuries caused in these kind of collisions often take time to manifest. Further, there may be damage to the frame, suspension or other internal structures of the car that are not easily visible and require a mechanic to find.
The medical definition of a soft tissue injury is any injury to a person that does not involve damage to the bone which is a hard tissue. Soft tissue includes skin, nerves, muscles, all internal organs, tendons, cervical discs and the brain. These soft tissue injuries are often not apparent at the scene of the accident because of adrenaline, shock, and other factors.
A victim may feel fine at the scene of the collision but wake up one to three days later in too much pain to get out of bed. This is because the symptoms of soft tissue injuries from take time to develop. Things like brain injury, strained muscles, or damaged joints are not always instantly apparent.
If you have been in a collision where there is not a lot of visible property damage, here are some steps you can take to preserve your claim or possible lawsuit:
- Call the police- This may or may not be mandatory in your area, but it is a good idea in either case. If the police show up, they will make a record of the incident that includes particulars like the makes and models of the vehicles involved, the time and location of the incident, and the names and insurance companies of the parties involved. This will be especially helpful to your attorney if you decide to bring suit against the other driver or an insurance company.
- Take pictures- Even when the police come to the scene of the accident, they rarely take pictures. Even if they do, it is a good idea to take pictures of your own. There is no such thing as taking too many pictures. That way, you will have something to show your attorney or the insurance company to give them a preliminary idea of what happened. Remember, the more documentation you have, the better. You are not going to remember everything about the accident, and you won’t have to remember if you have pictures.
- Seek medical attention as soon as you feel pain- This is a big deal in soft tissue injury cases, because the injury is not always obvious right away. The longer that you delay seeking medical treatment, the more the insurance company will resist paying for your claim. No matter how insignificant you think the injury is, get it checked. Even if it turns out to be nothing, it is better to have the medical records in hand.
- Talk to an attorney- An experienced personal injury attorney can be your best friend in the event of a soft tissue injury, because they have probably dealt with similar cases in the past. They can help you through the process of dealing with the insurance companies, and help you recover for your claim if damages are warranted. Remember: never try to deal with the insurance companies alone if you are injured. Always talk to an attorney, even if it is just for a consultation.
Soft tissue injury cases are some of the more difficult cases to litigate because of the later onset of injuries. The attorneys at Faulkner Law Offices are very experienced at handling claims like this. If you have been in an automobile collision in Bakersfield and you need help handling your injury claim, call Faulkner Law Offices at (661) 327-0601 for a free consultation.