Minor Car Accident Soft Tissue Injury Settlement Amounts
Minor accidents can lead to a variety of minor, soft tissue injuries that can take extensive time and money to recover from. If you have been injured in an accident with soft tissue injuries, you could be entitled to compensation if your injuries were caused by another person’s negligence.
The purposes of this article are to review minor and soft tissue injury settlements, types and possible amounts you could win based upon your specific case.
Overview of Soft Tissue and Minor Accident Settlements
Many minor car accidents have minor and soft tissue injuries. The injured passengers or drivers will file an auto insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for their pain and suffering and out of pocket costs. Your out of pocket costs for minor soft injuries are easy to document and show to the insurance company. When you go to the doctor right after your accident, this will begin the paper trail that will be used to show what your medical and other fixed costs were for the minor car accident.
But pain and suffering, even for a minor accident, can be challenging to prove. It can be more difficult to prove for a minor accident as the injuries may not look severe, but they can still present a sizable problem in terms of recovery. In minor accidents, proving pain and suffering will be the difference between a small and a more significant financial settlement.
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Soft Tissue Injuries Overview
Generally, minor, soft tissue injuries in car accident refer to damage to muscles, tendons, or ligaments. Contusions and abrasions are soft tissue injuries. Also included are minor sprains, 1st degree burns and herniated back disks that do not need surgery. If you are experiencing minor to moderate discomfort from a whiplash injury, this is a soft tissue injury as well. Note that some injuries to soft tissues, such as herniated back disks, can cause a lot of pain.
On the other hand, a serious car accident injury is a ‘hard injury.’ This can be a traumatic brain injury, broken bones, damage to organs, severe burns and cuts, and generally injuries that require surgery and major hospital time.
Pain and Suffering and Soft Tissue Injuries
Your pain and suffering are the physical and emotional pain that is related to the car accident and the injuries suffered. For instance, if you suffer contusions in a car accident, you would probably receive compensation for the pain bruises during and after the accident, and possibly for the emotional suffering that you experience because you cannot engage in your normal activities.
Most states have what is called a standard fault liability system for car accidents. This means that the person who caused the accident is negligent and will be financially responsible for your financial damages.
But bear in mind there are 12 states that currently feature what is called a ‘no fault system.’ This means that you may not file a personal injury lawsuit for your minor accident injuries unless the medical bills incurred go above a certain level; this level varies by state. Other states mandate you must meet a certain threshold for a serious injury, which is also different by each state.
For other state, standard negligence rules are applicable. This means if you can show that another person’s negligence caused your accident injuries, you can recover damages for your minor and soft tissue injuries. This is normally accomplished through that person’s auto insurance policy.
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Calculating Pain and Suffering for Minor Accidents
There is not an exact way to calculate what your accident’s pain and suffering is worth; it can be very easy to overvalue it. To calculate this figure, the insurance company will determine how severe and permanent your soft tissue injuries are. You would, for example, be entitled to more money if you broke several ribs rather than just bruised your leg. The more serious your pain and suffering, the more you will receive in compensation.
The insurance company will probably multiply your medical bills by a 1-5 figure to determine how much your pain and suffering is worth. The more serious your injuries, the higher this ‘multiplier’ will be. You and your personal injury attorney need to use best judgment to determine what the value of your pain and suffering is. When you send a demand letter to the insurance company, you will need to be able to prove what your medical and other costs have been, as well as your level of pain and suffering. This can be strengthened by having your doctor submit a letter stating the degree of pain and suffering and the degree of permanence the injury is.
Generally, minor injuries and soft tissue injuries will receive a multiplier of 1 or 2, while very serious, life altering injuries receive a 4 or 5. It is important to not overinflate your accident injuries; insurance companies have extensive records of how much pain and suffering is involved in most types of injuries. If you overestimate your degree of pain and suffering, this could extend the settlement negotiation process.
Remember, do not try to convince the insurance adjuster that your sprained ankle is worth a 4 multiplier. It is not going to happen. Be sure you enter the insurance negotiation with a fair idea of what the claim is worth.
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When Is It Worth Filing a Personal Injury Claim?
Before you decide to file a car accident claim for minor and soft tissue injuries, consider how serious the accident was and your related injuries. Is it worth the time and effort to make the claim? Dealing with auto insurance companies is a time-consuming process, especially if fault is in question. When fault is not clear cut, the other insurance company will try to pay as little as possible or will even deny the claim. If you decide to file the claim but do not have a satisfactory outcome, it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit.
So, before you make the claim or file suit, consider if the injuries are worth the trouble. If you have a sprained ankle that recovers in a few days or a week, it may not be worth the hassle. On the other hand, if your soft tissue injury is whiplash and it prevents you from working for a month, you have a legitimate claim with considerable expenses. Filing a claim in that case probably makes sense.
Soft Tissue Injury Average Settlement
Below are recent examples of soft tissue injury settlements. Your settlement could be more or less. Speak to a personal injury attorney about your case specifics for a better idea of what your settlement could be.
- $20,000 for a cervical strain in a car accident. This is a soft tissue injury to the neck.
- $125,000 settlement for an ankle ligament injury from a handling cart.
- $75,000 settlement for back pain from a slip and fall accident.
- $40,000 for worker slip and fall accident, leading to lower back pain.
How to Get the Best Soft Injury Settlement
Soft tissue injuries cannot be easily seen on an X-ray so getting a successful claim requires you to have very good documentation of the injury from a medical professional. What you need to do to maximize your soft tissue injury settlement is to convince the auto insurance company that you are likely to win at trial. You do this by showing proof the accident happened in a certain way where the defendant was clearly at fault. Also, you should have testimony from a medical professional or other expert that your soft tissue injury is a typical injury for that minor accident type.
If there are higher damages at stake, such as in a herniated disk case, you could need to have expert witnesses to provide testimony in a legal deposition. But in a smaller case, you probably have done enough if you have clear written proof from the doctor or expert about your minor injuries.
Remember that soft tissue injuries such as whiplash are almost always viewed skeptically by insurance companies. The injury may be very painful, but absent clear proof, the insurance company will try to argue that you are exaggerating your pain. You can counter this by having extensive documentation from your doctor about your whiplash and the pain it is causing you. For this reason, it is very important to be seen by a doctor right away after the accident so that your whiplash is clearly documented from the start.
Minor Injury and Soft Tissue Injuries Summary
Even for minor accidents, haggling with difficult insurance companies can be very frustrating. Attorneys who handle personal injury cases and car accidents are experts in handling such matters. They know if the soft tissue injuries you suffered are worth pursuing compensation for or not. Talk to an experienced personal injury attorney in your area about your soft tissue injuries to determine if moving forward is worth it.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How do I know if my injuries are serious enough to seek legal advice?
In the event that someone else’s negligent driving has caused you to become injured, it would be wise of you to seek legal advice and discuss options with a personal injury attorney. Regardless of how minor you may think your wounds may be, if you have sustained any injuries to where you have sought out medical treatment, it’s possible you may have cause for a claim. It’s frequent that individuals believe their injuries are too minor to seek legal advice but isn’t until they consult with a personal injury attorney that they understand how much their case is actually worth. Often times a victim’s injuries may be dormant for a brief moment but over time begin to worsen. It’s crucial to recognize that there is a statute of limitations in which you are able to file a personal injury claim and most states require it to be done so within 2 years. So, don’t postpone seeking legal advice if you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of others.
Is soft tissue damage permanent?
Soft tissue injuries can occur when an unforeseen sudden maneuver tweaks and damages the tissue surrounding bone structures and organs. In other words, soft tissue injuries are a result of damage to the muscles, ligaments and tendons. These types of injuries will leave you experiencing pain along with swelling and bruising. Soft tissue injuries include:
- Torn ligaments
- Contusions or bruising
Soft tissue damage can be permanent! Generally, a serious strain or sprain will require surgery leaving the victim with a lengthy recovery oftentimes never fully recovering. The pooling of blood on soft tissue as a result from the internal bleeding can also cause permanent damage.
Is a herniated disc a soft tissue injury?
Ordinarily the word “soft” makes one think it’s a minor or light issue. A soft tissue injury can be much greater than a “light” injury. Often, a soft tissue injury can evolve into a severe injury leaving you disable from everyday tasks and may lead to surgery for repair or even leave you with permanent damage. A herniated disc is considered a soft tissue injury. Some soft tissue injuries such as herniated or bulging discs can cause severe physical pain and have a lengthy recovery time. Herniated discs are common in car accidents due to the unnatural, sudden movements your body will experience from the violent impact of the collision. You will typically experience extreme back pain, typically to the lower back, and oftentimes will pinch the sciatic nerve leaving you with a pain running all the way down one leg and possibly reaching the foot.
What’s the average soft tissue payout after a car accident?
Soft tissue settlements are difficult to pinpoint an average amount of compensation the victim may receive. Typically soft tissue injuries are the most common type of injuries sustained in a car accident allowing insurance companies to decrease the settlement payout. Soft tissue injuries are also difficult to provide concrete evidence that such injury exists and oftentimes the jury will find the victim exaggerating their injuries. If you are suffering from what falls under the category for a soft tissue injury it is in your best interest to meticulously document and record evidence and medical records that will help solidify your claim. Soft tissue settlements differ depending on various different factors. Some examples of soft tissue settlements include:
- Whiplash valuing between $2,500- $10,000
- Ankle sprains valuing around $15,000
- Shoulder strain valuing around $20,000
- Herniated disc valuing around $100,000- $350,000
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