Personal Injuries and Car Accidents

In the lumbar (low back) or cervical (neck) regions of the spine, soft tissue injuries usually occur-this has to do with the consequences of how we usually sit in our vehicles and the energy transfer that occurs from a car crash. There are, of course, other injuries that classify as’ soft tissue injuries.’ Essentially, it would classify for injury to a portion of the body that is not bone, but tissue that surrounds or links to other areas of the inner body (e.g. muscle, tendons, and ligaments). accident┬áhas some nice tips on this. The popular category of soft-tissue injuries also includes strains (overstretching a muscle that causes a tear), sprains (damaging a ligament that supports a joint), rotator cuff (shoulder) injuries and meniscus (knee) injury.

Indeed, often right before a car accident, due to holding tight at impact, the auto driver will strain his / her shoulder, wrist or arm-resulting in a rotator-cuff tear on the shoulder, carpel tunnel on the wrist, or ulnar nerve trap at the elbow.

But we are most concerned with the possibility of a herniated disc, with the cervical and lumbar regions. On an MRI, this injury will become obvious. In order to prove a serious soft-tissue injury, electrodiagnostic tests such as electromyography ( EMG) and nerve conduction studies can also be used.

This is, sadly, not always straightforward to prove. If this disc is bulging and/or if stenotic is the proper part of the vertebral column, a defence attorney / insurance adjuster will argue that the auto accident pre-existed with the injury. By looking at the vehicle damage alone, an insurance adjuster / defence attorney will often unfairly assess a soft-tissue injury. Note, there will also be very little noticeable damage to the vehicles involved during a low-impact crash. Do not be misled! The way a car absorbs an impact and diffuses energy (metal, plastic, etc.) is radically different from how the human body (bones, muscles, blood, etc.) reacts to the same impact!

There’s a helpful analogy here. If you have ever purchased eggs from the store, you know that based on the obvious state of the carton, you can not judge whether or not an egg is broken. If there is some noticeable damage, the carton can show nothing, but still contain a few eggs that are broken inside. This is because the way a carton absorbs an effect is different from how the same impact is absorbed by an egg.

If pain moving down one’s leg (known as lumbar radiculopathy) results from a lumbar injury, the pain may be the product of a herniated lumbar disc impinging on the neighbouring nerve or the product of a broken ankle or torn meniscus. Doctors often miss these other alternative factors (known as a differential diagnosis in the medical field), which is why it helps to have a personal injury attorney at your side who is skilled in managing auto accident claims.

MRIs are not always ‘definitive’ when it comes to the shoulder or knee. If anyone complains of severe pain in their shoulder or knee, and an MRI does not clearly indicate a tear, it might be appropriate to have an arthroscopy. An arthroscopy is a minor surgical procedure in which a small incision made in a joint can be placed into an endoscope (small video camera) and the area surrounding the suspected injury can be explored.