Whiplash and Soft Tissue Injuries in Car Accidents

Whiplash and Soft Tissue Injuries in Car Accidents

A soft tissue injury, as the name implies, impacts your body’s connective or soft tissues. If you experience these injuries, you will likely experience swelling, soreness, discoloration, and a limited range of motion in the affected area. Many of these injuries will not show symptoms for 24 to 48 hours after the incident occurs.

You must not dismiss the aches and pains that develop after a car accident. Even if they seem minor, you need a medical evaluation and treatment.

A car accident can result in several different types of soft tissue injuries, including whiplash and sprains. All of these can impact your ability to live normally and complete day-to-day tasks.

Soft Tissue Injuries Defined

As mentioned above, soft tissue injuries occur when your body’s soft tissues, connective tissues, or muscles are damaged. These tissues are made of individual fibers; injuries occur when the fibers become inflamed, tear, or stretch.

Soft tissue injuries occur if your body suffers trauma, like the overuse of a part of your body or blunt force trauma that occurs in an accident.

Even in seemingly minor collisions, the force can cause you to fly across the vehicle. This type of motion can stretch the tissues beyond the normal range of motion, resulting in complete or partial tears in the tissue fibers. Depending on the extent of the force, an impact may also cause damage to blood cells in the tissue.

Read more: Whiplash Injuries In Florida Car Accidents

Common Types of Car Accident-Caused Soft Tissue Injuries

The force caused by vehicle accidents, even those that occur at low speeds, is often stronger than you realize. The impact can result in many injuries, ranging from minor to severe.

No two injuries are the same; some are more common than others. Some of the most common soft tissue injuries that occur in car accidents can be found here.

Soft Tissue Sprains

Sprains may occur in a car accident if the impact causes your body to “jolt” so severely that the ligaments connecting your bones are overstretched. During a car accident, a sprain will usually occur in your neck. This is commonly referred to as whiplash. You may have tears in the ligament in some cases.

Symptoms of a soft tissue sprain include bruises or pain around the area, inflammation, and swelling that impact your flexibility.

Soft Tissue Strains

Strains are similar to sprains and occur when the vehicle is struck suddenly. The difference between strains and sprains is that a strain injury is to the tendons connecting the bones and muscles or the actual muscle.

If you are in a car accident, strains are common in the lower back. Muscles may also become torn in more severe collisions.

The symptoms of a strain include bruising or tenderness in the affected area, muscle spasms, reduced range of motion, inflammation, and swelling.


The force of a car accident can cause contusions, which are commonly called bruising. This occurs when the blood vessels or capillaries are struck with such excessive force that they are significantly damaged. If this happens, blood may begin to leak into the nearby tissues.

Even though bruises are common, they can cover larger portions of your body in a car accident. Additionally, bruises often indicate other injuries like strains, sprains, or broken bones.

Common symptoms of contusions after a car accident include discolored skin, tenderness when touched, and swollen areas around the bruise.

Cerebral Contusions and Concussions

Another name for cerebral contusions and concussions is closed head injuries. The bleeding, swelling, or bruising occurs inside your skull and around your brain. Vehicle accidents are the most common cause of these potentially life-threatening injuries.

These are often dangerous because there is not any visible sign of injury on the outside. Also, head injuries may be confused with a stroke. In any case, you need emergency treatment.

Some common symptoms of contusions and concussions include confusion, loss of speech, numbness, and loss of memory.

Cuts and Gashes (Lacerations)

Lacerations, including gashes and cuts, are the most common soft tissue injuries seen after car accidents. The injury can range from minor cuts to more serious gashes that require surgery or stitches.

If you are involved in a car accident, the force may result in the glass shattering, road debris coming into the vehicle, and the loose contents flying freely inside the vehicle. The impact of these things may be enough to cut you.

Lacerations are injuries you can see immediately. If you experience this injury, seek medical care. By doing this, you can keep minor injuries from becoming more serious concerns.

Specific Soft Tissue Injuries Seen in Car Accidents

The above injuries describe types of soft tissue injuries commonly seen in car accidents. Here you can learn some of the more specific injuries that are seen.

MCL Tear

The MCL is the medial collateral ligament. When it is damaged, the pain can be severe. The MCL is found on the inner part of the knee. An MCL tear can occur in an accident when your knee bends into an unnatural or awkward position.

Symptoms of this injury include a loss of stability, stiffness, pressure when walking, pain when walking, or a swollen knee.

Torn ACL

You have likely heard of reports of athletes dealing with a torn ACL. While this may be a common injury, you may not know exactly what it means.

The ACL is the anterior cruciate ligament. It connects the middle portion of your knee. Even though you may not relate knee injuries to car accidents, they are common. ACL injuries are especially common if your knee is forced in an unnatural fashion during an accident, which is common in rear-end collisions and rollover collisions because of how your body suddenly changes directions.

Signs of a torn ACL include swelling around the knee, pain when you stand or walk, pain in the knee, and hearing a popping noise coming from your knee.

Shoulder Impingement

This refers to shoulder pain that restricts the total range of motion. It can interfere with daily activities and keep you from lifting your arms over your head.

It occurs when the shoulder tendons are inflamed because of excess exertion. As time passes, this condition can turn into shoulder tendonitis. If the injury goes on untreated, you may require rotator cuff surgery. This injury commonly occurs when your body collides with the airbag.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney for Help After a Car Accident

If you are involved in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence and experience a soft tissue injury, you may be able to recover compensation from the at-fault party. However, because personal injury law can be complex, you should contact our law firm immediately.

At Fetterman Law, we can help with your case and ensure you have the best possible representation to secure the compensation you deserve.

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