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Can You File a Lawsuit for Soft Tissue Injuries?


Car accidents can cause a wide range of injuries, including soft tissue injuries. Although insurance companies often try to downplay their severity, soft tissue injuries can be serious. Sometimes soft tissue injuries are minor and resolve on their own. In other cases, they can cause a considerable amount of pain and disability. If you were in a collision, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit against the negligent party if you have suffered these types of injuries.  

Types of Soft Tissue Injuries

Car accident soft tissue injuries can arise when a ligament, tendon, or muscle is damaged during the impact of the crash. They may not be evident at first — car accident injuries often can take a few weeks to develop and become apparent. A car accident victim may realize they have suffered soft tissue injuries by experiencing pain, bruising, swelling, or a reduced range of motion in the affected area.      

Soft tissue injuries sustained in a car accident can include:

  • Sprains and strains
  • Tendinitis and tendinosis
  • Contusions
  • Bursitis
  • Anterior cruciate ligament knee injuries
  • Concussions
  • Nerve damage
  • Herniated discs
  • Bulging discs

While they may not be visible like a fractured bone or a laceration, certain types of soft tissue injuries can require extensive medical intervention, physical therapy, and even surgery. If they are not diagnosed and treated, soft tissue injuries can worsen and result in debilitation and permanent limitations.        

Physical Limitations Caused by Soft Tissue Injuries

Depending upon which body part has been affected and the extent of the injury, soft tissue damage can have a significant impact on your life and livelihood. Not only can injuries such as sprains, strains, contusions, and nerve damage be excruciatingly painful, but they may affect your ability to sit at work, bend over, walk, and sleep comfortably. They may also prevent you from lifting grocery bags, doing laundry, going to the gym, playing sports, and enjoying time with your family.

New York’s Serious Injury Threshold

Under New York Insurance Law § 5102(d), a car accident victim may be entitled to file a lawsuit to recover their damages if they suffered what the statute defines as a “serious injury.” Several conditions can satisfy the serious injury threshold— including a fracture, significant disfigurement, or dismemberment. However, a car accident victim may also meet the criteria if they suffered a soft tissue injury that caused them to be unable to participate in their usual activities for 90 days or more in the first 180 days after the accident.

Additionally, under the statute, an injured plaintiff in a car accident lawsuit may be entitled to recovery if they experienced “permanent loss of use” of a function of their body. Soft tissue injuries may also qualify if they resulted in a “significant limitation” or “permanent consequential limitation” of the use of a body part.

Importantly, your medical records will show the severity of your injuries and be the key to proving your soft tissue injury. Your doctor will likely recommend MRIs if you’ve been in a car accident to determine whether you’ve suffered soft tissue injuries. You may also need to have an EMG-NCV conducted to diagnose nerve damage. It’s critical to follow your doctor’s treatment plan to get better — and to establish your personal injury claim.  

Recoverable Damages for Soft Tissue Injuries 

If the accident resulted from another party’s negligence — and your soft tissue injuries satisfy the serious injury threshold — you may be able to recover your economic and non-economic damages in a lawsuit.

Economic damages can include unreimbursed medical expenses, lost wages, and future lost earnings. You may also be able to recover for out-of-pocket costs related to your medical treatment. Non-economic damages may be awarded for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium.

Contact an Experienced New York Personal Injury Attorney

If you suffered soft tissue injuries in a car accident, it’s critical to get the medical attention you need. You should also contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible who can advise you of your legal rights and remedies. The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. provides dedicated advocacy for New York car accident victims and can help ensure you obtain the compensation you deserve.   

The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has convenient office locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, as well as mobile locations serving Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester, Rockland County, and on Long Island in Nassau County and Suffolk County. Contact us for a consultation.