What is soft tissue injury?
Soft tissue injuries is a generic term used to describe injuries which affect ligaments, muscles, tendons, and nerves. The most common soft tissue injuries consist of strains, sprains, contusions, bursitis, tendinopathies and stress injuries.
They can occur as a result of any type of physical trauma, including:
- Accidents at work
- Slips & trips
- Road traffic accidents
The most familiar example being whiplash, usually sustained in a road traffic accident. These types of injury can be minor and severe causing long term symptoms and financial losses.
What are the symptoms of soft tissue injuries?
When soft tissue is damaged, there is usually immediate pain along with immediate or delayed swelling. Stiffness is also very common as a result of the trauma and swelling. Bruising may also develop after 24-48 hours.
What evidence do I need to prove soft tissue injuries?
Soft tissue injuries can be difficult to prove as they typically do not show up with diagnostic tools the same way other injuries do, such as broken bones on an x-ray.
This is why it is important that if you suffer a soft tissue injury, you seek medical treatment immediately. Not only will the doctor help aid recovery, but the medical records will serve as stronger proof of your injury.
For soft tissue injury claims, examples of evidence could include a mixture of:
- The medical report
- Accident book records
- Witness statements
- CCTV footage
Do I have a claim for a soft tissue injury?
You may be entitled to claim for compensation if:
- You were injured within the last 3 years. However, there are exceptions where shorter time limitations apply such as 2 years for CICA claims (Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority)
- The injury was caused because of someone else’s fault
How much can I claim for my soft tissue injury?
Personal injury compensation is made up of two elements:
- General Damages – are awarded for “pain, suffering and loss of amenity”. For the actual injuries themselves.
- Special Damages – are awarded for the financial losses that result from those injuries. These can include a claim for loss of earnings, travel expenses and medical expenses.
How is the amount of personal injury compensation calculated
The amount of compensation you might be entitled to vary depending on the severity of your soft-tissue injury. A personal injury solicitor will review the medical evidence to consider things such as the degree of pain experienced, the consistency of symptoms, the impact of the symptoms on you and the extent of any treatment required. Once a final medical prognosis is established, the prospective range of compensation that a judge would award can be assessed.
The Judicial College Guidelines (JC Guidelines) is a very useful resource for a solicitor to determine what an appropriate level of compensation would be for your injuries. The guidelines cover injuries affecting all body areas. It describes the injury and indicates the amount of general damages an injury with that description should receive.
A solicitor will also review case law which can be reasonably compared to your case in order to be more precise with the valuation of your claim.
Some familiar areas where soft tissue injuries usually occur are the back, neck, and shoulders. Referring to the JC Guidelines, an example of how much compensation you may claim for each soft tissue injury are as follows:
- Back – Where a full recovery takes place without surgery between three months and two years. You may claim up to £6,920
- Neck – Where a full recovery takes place within a period of about one to two years. You may claim up to £6,920
- Shoulders – Where a full recovery takes place within a year. You may claim up to £3,810
The procedure used to evaluate compensation by experienced solicitors can be invaluable for you and will ultimately result in a client being properly compensated for their injuries. An online calculator can be inaccurate and misleading and cannot replace bespoke advice from a specialist personal injury solicitor who has experience dealing with soft issue injury claims and can help maximise the compensation.