What Are Common Car Accident Soft Tissue Injuries?

Written by Jobeth Bowers. Posted in .

Key Takeaways:

  • Soft tissue damage is common in car accidents.
  • You should always see a doctor about soft tissue damage.
  • Soft tissue damage takes a few weeks to a few months to heal in most cases.
  • Your medical records will be key in demonstrating soft tissue damage from accidents in court cases.

In 2022, Maryland saw 28,084 car accidents that involved injuries. While the type and severity of these injuries depend on the individual car crash, some are more common than others. Soft tissue injuries like whiplash consistently top the list of the most common car accident injuries. Many of these can seem minor initially, but ignoring them can be dangerous. What seems like a minor sprain can grow worse and become severe, debilitating, and even deadly.

If you were in a Maryland car accident that resulted in serious injuries, you deserve compensation for your pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical bills. When the insurance company refuses to pay, it can be stressful and take significant time away from your healing. The Maryland personal injury and car accident lawyers at Bowers Law are here to help you fight for the fair compensation you deserve. To schedule your free consultation, call 667-220-6500 or fill out our online contact form.

What is Soft Tissue Damage?

Soft tissue damage refers to injuries suffered to muscles and ligaments as opposed to injuries like broken bones. These softer body parts are more prone to injuries ranging in severity from minor bruises and contusions to tears and deep cuts. The main classifications of soft tissue injuries include the following:

  • Contusions: Discoloration that results from broken blood vessels under the skin from a direct impact
  • Sprains: Injuries to ligaments, muscles, or connective tissue from overstretching
  • Tendonitis: Irritation and inflammation of tendons from stress and overuse
  • Bursitis: Inflammation of the sacs that surround your joints from repeat motion and stress
  • Stress Injuries: Other types of repetitive motion injuries, overuse, and overstress
  • Strains: Traumatic stretching or tearing of a ligament or muscle

What Are the Symptoms of Soft Tissue Injuries?

Many types of soft tissue injuries can present similar symptoms. Recognizing these symptoms can allow you to receive medical treatment before the injury worsens. These symptoms can include:

  • Lumps and knots at the injury site
  • Instability in joints
  • Weakness or inability to hold weight
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Muscle spasms or cramps
  • Swelling
  • Visible marks such as cuts and bruises
  • Aches and pains

Six Types of Common Soft Tissue Injuries After a Car Accident in Maryland

There are many types of soft tissue injuries you might experience after a car crash. The most common injuries include closed head injuries, whiplash, sprains, strains, bruises, and cuts.

Closed Head Injuries

Closed head injuries and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are a type of soft tissue injury. These occur when your brain moves in your skull and becomes bruised, misshapen, or otherwise damaged, such as if your head strikes the steering wheel or even hits the airbag. They are often diagnosed after CT scans.


A whiplash injury occurs when the neck experiences a fast movement and sudden stop. This common term refers to many different types of neck injuries. Rear-end collisions are a common cause of neck injuries, but anything that causes a sudden neck movement can result in whiplash soft tissue injury claims.

What is essential to understand about whiplash is that it is not a medical diagnosis but is a colloquial term to refer to strains or sprains in the neck, often after a motor vehicle accident. You may have whiplash if you experience neck pain or stiffness following a car accident.


Sprains occur in car crashes when you experience a sudden jolt that stretches the ligaments connecting your bones. The most common form of sprain in a car crash is whiplash. You may experience pain, bruising, swelling, inflammation, or a limited range of motion around the affected ligament. Your doctor will use X-rays to rule out broken bones and physically examine the area to diagnose the sprain.


Strains differ from sprains because they affect tendons that connect muscles rather than ligaments. Strains in the lower back are prevalent in car accidents, and muscles may even tear in the worst cases. Strain symptoms include tenderness, bruising, swelling, inflammation, spasms, and impaired range of motion. Diagnosis requires scans and physical examination.


Bruises, also called contusions, occur when the blood vessels or capillaries are ruptured and leak into surrounding tissues. They are common injuries but can be severe after car accidents. They present with telltale discoloration at the affected area, are tender to the touch, and generally have swelling. When you have bruises, a medical professional should check to ensure that they are not symptomatic of other, more serious injuries.


Cuts or lacerations are the most common form of soft tissue injuries. They can range from minor cuts to life-threatening ones requiring immediate medical attention for stitches or even surgery to address. You should seek medical care whenever you see blood after an auto accident.

If you experience these or any other severe personal injury after a car accident, you should immediately contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Bowers Law for legal advice and representation. Call or text us at 667-220-6500 or use our online contact form for a free consultation about your case today.

When Should I See a Doctor for Soft Tissue Damage?

Doctor examining a patients injuries

Any time you are in a serious car accident, you should immediately seek medical attention. Ignoring or delaying treatment for soft tissue injuries can create future complications, delay recovery, and, in the worst cases, threaten your life. Even injuries that initially feel mild can become serious. Some severe injuries can take hours, days, or even weeks to present symptoms as they worsen.

Many who suffer from strains and sprains do not go to the doctor, believing they will heal independently. This can be a bad idea. Without medical advice and care, you do not know the severity of your injury. Bad soft tissue injury cases involving tears can turn into lifelong disabilities without a doctor’s care.

What is the Treatment for Soft Tissue Injuries?

The treatment for soft tissue injuries depends mainly on the severity of the damage. Mild injuries require only some rest, while severe injuries require physical therapy or even surgery to repair.


RICE is an acronym for “rest, ice, compression, and elevation.” This is the standard form of treatment for grade 0-1 soft tissue injury recovery. When a doctor advises RICE treatment, they will likely advise you to rest the muscle. If it is an arm, avoid motion and lifting. If it is a leg, do not put weight on it and keep it elevated.

RICE, however, is usually only one part of treatment for these injuries and does not have a set amount of time. Recovery can take a very long time for grade 2-3 soft tissue damage.


Doctors often prescribe pain meds and anti-inflammatories when treating soft tissue injuries. Over-the-counter medicines such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can sometimes be used for minor injuries. Doctors may prescribe prescription drugs for more severe damage.


Immobilization often indicates a serious injury involving muscle, tendon, or ligament tears. A doctor may place your limb in a cast or other device that prevents you from moving it. The idea is to keep the injured area in an ideal position for the torn soft tissue to mend, which can take some time.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is integral to recovering from most serious soft tissue injuries. Muscles, ligaments, and tendons can change shape or become tight as they heal. Physical therapy can help gently stretch them and improve their range of motion, flexibility, and strength to get them back to their original function or as close to it as possible.


Doctors may recommend surgery in the worst cases of soft tissue injury. Sometimes, soft tissue injury can coincide with severe damage to bones. A compound fracture, for example, sees the bone in a limb emerge from the skin, which also tears ligaments, muscles, and tendons. In such cases, surgery is usually required to set the limb and create ideal conditions for soft tissue to heal. The soft tissue can often take longer to heal than the bone does.

How Long Do Soft Tissue Injuries Take to Heal After a Car Accident?

Soft tissue injuries can take a few weeks to several months to heal. Some conditions, however, can become debilitating and cause long-term or even lifelong disability and chronic pain. People often think of broken bones as the worst kind of injury. Still, serious soft tissue damage can take much longer than broken bones to knit, and sometimes accident victims in car accident claims involving these types of injuries are never the same again.

The first few days after a soft tissue injury, the victim is in the acute injury phase. They may experience swelling, bruising, bleeding, and significant pain. Medical treatment is essential during this period because the injury can get worse if not addressed quickly.

As the body begins to heal, the second phase begins. During this time, your body forms scar tissue. This usually occurs within about six weeks. By this time, most injuries are healed. However, the body may continue to create new tissue until normal function is restored, which can take months.

If injury victims still have pain three months after the injury, the condition may be chronic. By this point, if you have not already, you should contact an experienced attorney at a Maryland personal injury law firm for legal advice and representation.

How Do You Prove Soft Tissue Damage After a Car Accident?

Proving fault in your personal injury claim requires carefully tracking your medical records, medical expenses, and how the injury has affected your life. It also means documenting the accident. If you can take pictures of the scene, make diagrams, file a police report, and get eyewitness contact information, this can all be helpful. Above all else, however, you must seek counsel from a qualified personal injury lawyer who can fight back and remind everyone that you deserve compensation for what happened to you.

Maryland is an at-fault state for a car accident claim. This means that the driver who caused the accident is responsible for covering all damages in the injury claim, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other economic and non-economic damages. It is essential, however, that you prove fault in your car accident claim.

Maryland is also one of the very few states in the United States that still uses a “pure” contributory negligence system. This means that if you are found to be even 1% responsible for an accident, you can be barred from any settlement for your car accident injuries.

You can be sure that even though the insurance adjuster seems friendly at first, the insurance company is neither your friend nor your ally. They will try to avoid paying out the insurance claim. This may include attempting to place blame for the accident on you.

Why Clients Choose Bowers Law

A woman with an injured arm in a sling typing on a computer

At Bowers Law, you will benefit from having experienced Maryland car accident lawyers by your side through every step of the legal process. Take a look at what some of our previous clients had to say about our services.


“Bowers Law is the greatest law firm you could ever have to help assist you in any case. They are consistent, kind, positive, and outstanding.” — Lexie K.

“Jobeth, Sydney, and Jessica kept up with working hard for me for over two years. My auto insurance company made everything as difficult as possible, but the Bowers Law crew showed them who’s boss. Thanks so much for the win!!!” — Genna R.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Average Settlement For Soft Tissue Injuries After a Maryland Car Accident?

Settlements will vary on a case-by-case basis depending on the severity of the injury, but the average settlement for accidents with lesser injuries is around $10,000. Fair settlements for more serious injuries can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars. A lawyer can help you fight for adequate compensation.

Insurance companies will often use the term “soft tissue injury” to imply that you’re not truly hurt. Without a competent and experienced auto accident attorney, you will most likely get low-balled. These types of cases represent the largest area in which insurance companies try to undervalue settlements.

What is the Maximum Settlement For a Soft Tissue Injury in Maryland?

The maximum cap for settlements in Maryland is $935,000 for non-economic damages. There is no cap on economic damages.

Can Soft Tissue Damage Be Permanent?

Yes, soft tissue damage can be permanent. While these injuries typically do heal over time, certain conditions can cause the tissue never to heal properly and repeatedly tear. This will, in turn, cause the muscles and tendons in the affected area to weaken permanently.

Soft Tissue Injuries Are Nothing to Ignore

It can be easy to write off soft tissue injuries as “just a strain or bruise.” However, we always encourage our clients to seek treatment from a doctor or qualified medical professional. No matter how severe your injury might be, Bowers Law can help you fight for the compensation you deserve, and having an attorney in your corner will improve your chances of a higher settlement amount.

If you are fighting for compensation after a serious soft tissue injury, you do not have to face the insurance company alone. There is no disclaimer or obligation to speak with us. Contact us at 667-220-6500 or use our online form to schedule a free case review with one of our Maryland car accident attorneys today.

Jobeth Bowers

Written By Jobeth Bowers

Maryland Attorney Jobeth Bowers is the founder of Bowers Law and a graduate of the University of Baltimore School of Law

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