When an accident occurs and an ambulance is called to the scene, the general presumption is that a serious injury has occurred but this is not always the case given arguably, most accidents result in soft tissue injuries. Serious injuries generally involve fractures/ broken bones, laceration, bleeding, etc. These types of injuries require lengthy treatment periods, physical therapy and possibly long term check-ups and even pain management considerations. On the other end of the scale are soft tissue injuries which in a nutshell cover not so serious and non-visible injuries. Classic examples are back pains, neck pains and headaches. As you can imagine, soft tissue injuries settle for a much lesser amount than serious injuries.
However does this mean that a serious injury or soft tissue injury is as clear as black or white? From my experience in handling many personal injury cases, there are ‘grey area soft tissue injuries’. As the name ‘grey area soft tissue’ implies, these are not your classic monotonous soft non-tangible soft tissue injuries as defined above but these are soft tissue injuries that are aggravated by the existence of additional considerations that are tangible in nature. For instance, while a shoulder pain coupled with a bruise or a contusion discoloration is worth less than a shoulder fracture, it is worth considerably more than a mere shoulder pain with no visible bruise. Generally, insurance adjusters will argue that these fall into the generic soft tissue injury bucket and value at the lowest possible number but the possibility exists to convince them otherwise. Another consideration is the extent of property damage sustained by the victim’s car especially in relation to the market value of the car. The more valuable the victim’s car that has been declared a total loss, the better an argument can be made that the soft injuries sustained thereof are more than your basic soft tissue injuries that are solved after one round of short term (1 or 2 months) routine treatment – it takes a more intense impact to total a fairly new Mercedes Benz S Class than 1980 Honda Civic. Lastly, soft tissue injuries that require long term treatment – through therapy, pain management or other means – are worth more than your average soft tissue injuries and therefore fall within the grey area. The list goes on and on.
All things being equal, you can expect a grey area soft tissue injury case to generally settle for an amount more than a basic soft tissue case although likely less than a serious injury case. How do you determine? Since there is no hard and fast rule, for additional information you should consult an attorney or you can reach us at (301)453-7177.