How To Get Compensation for Soft Tissue Injury Settlements

Average settlement for soft tissue injury

In this article I will walk you through everything you need to know in order to determine and maximize your soft tissue injury settlement amount.

What Are Soft Tissue Injuries?

Soft tissue damage happens when you suffer trauma to your tendons, ligaments, and muscles. This can include injuries like:

Strain: This is usually an injury to your tendons or muscles. This happens by stretching, overuse, or force. For instance, whiplash refers to a neck strain that results when the tendons stretch beyond the natural range.

Symptoms:

  • Stiffness

  • possible pain and dislocation

  • swelling

  • reduced rain of motion

Sprain: This soft tissue damage affects the tissues that connect bones in your body, known as ligaments. In case of a powerful car crash, the force can wrench or twist the ligaments and lead to excruciating pain. Sprains occur when the force causes the ligaments to stretch beyond their normal range.

Symptoms:

  • Difficulty bearing weight

  • Dislocation and redness

  • Sudden onset of pain

  • Loss of strength

  • Swelling

  • Sharp pain

Contusion: These are bruises that result from blunt force trauma, especially in car accidents. This happens when any part of your body hits the dashboard, windows, door, and steering wheel.

Symptoms:

  • Pain or/and dislocation

  • Swelling

Bursitis: This injury results in the inflammation of the sacs of fluid around the bones, tendons, and muscles known as a bursa. Bursitis is likely to flare up in the shoulder, hip, elbow, ankle, and foot.

Symptoms: 

  • Pain or/and dislocation

  • Swelling

Whiplash:  Commonly neck injuries and tissue damage around your head.

Symptoms:

  • Stiffness

  • Headaches

  • Neck aches or pain

  • Numbness or tingling in the arms

  • Unexplained dizziness

  • Pain or tenderness in the arms, shoulder, or upper back

  • Reduced range of motion

One common misconception people have about car accident injuries is that your vehicle needs to be traveling at a minimum speed in order to for your injuries to be considers legitimate. This is untrue, since many, low-speed accidents often result in legitimate soft tissue damage.

Some of the factors that determine the severity and type of injuries suffered in car accidents include:

  • Whether the person was wearing a seat belt

  • The direction that the occupant’s head or body was facing

  • The side that the person’s car is hit from, whether side, rear, or front

  • Whether the vehicle had airbags

  • High-speed crash or low-speed collision

 

Which Factors Affect a Soft Tissue Personal Injury Settlements?

As you can probably guess, each injury claim is unique and will be judged according to the specifics of the case.

Minor injuries like bruises or cuts are less likely to win a big settlement as compared to more severe injuries like broken bones and fractures. However, you should still file a claim even when you suffer soft tissue injuries as you may still be eligible for compensation for pain and suffering.

Let’s look at some of the major factors that determine the amount of the settlement in your minor car accident claim include:

Medical Bills

This includes all of your expenses from medical treatments you had as a direct result from the injuries you suffered in your accident. This includes all paid and unpaid future medical expenses.

Remember, there are some medical bills that you will have to pay out of your pocket, with the hope of receiving a full reimbursement after the approval of your claim. Nevertheless, you might also be required to wait for the settlement funds in order to manage some medical bills.

The settlement of your medical bills depends on:

  • Duration of your stay in hospital

  • Type of care given

  • long-term care or surgery

  • Means used in taking you to the hospital (helicopter, ambulance, or any other means)

  • Cost of treatments required

Lost Income Earnings

Soft tissue settlements also include the time and money lost from missing work because of your injuries. To calculate the lost earnings, you have to consider the earnings in the last months and prove to the insurance company that it was the amount that you were earning before the injury. However, there is no guarantee that you will receive 100% of the lost earnings, but if you involve a reliable personal injury, they will ensure that you get a fair settlement.

Usually, most personal injury claims, especially those that result from car accidents, take long before they get approval for the trial. Once the case settles, the insurance company and the accident victim agree on the amount that will end the claim.

However, it is good to understand that each case is unique as there are different circumstances and facts that influence the amount awarded for the claim. Other factors affecting the settlement include:

  • The severity of the injuries

  • Impact of the injuries on your livelihood

  • Degree of your negligence in case you contributed to the accident

  • Sign of pain and suffering

  • Victim’s conduct after the accident

  • Evidence of emotional distress

  • Time is taken to recover from injuries

Consequently, accident victims who suffer a minor strain or sprain that keeps them from work for a day or two are likely to get a smaller settlement than a person who suffers a permanent disability.

Pain and Suffering

This may sound obvious but you can only file for a pain and suffering claim if you are suffering a physical injury from the accident that causes you pain.

In this case, it is advisable to include an experienced and reliable personal injury attorney to help you win a fair settlement since calculating pain and suffering damages can be a daunting task.

However, if the auto insurance company approves your pain and suffering claim, your settlement will increase significantly. Examples of damages to include in pain and suffering are:

  • Loss of enjoyment of life

  • Anxiety or depression

  • Inability to enjoy your hobbies

  • Reduced quality of life

  • Inability to have an intimate relationship with your partner (loss of consortium)

How Do I Calculate Pain and Suffering in Soft Tissue Injury Settlement?

In cases of a minor car accident settlement, you can receive pain and suffering compensation. In order to do this you will have to prove how much pain and suffering you are experiencing.

The most common method of calculating pain and suffering damage is multiplying the economic damages like lost earnings and medical bills by a multiplier ranging from1 to 5 depending on the severity of the injuries.

For instance, the multiplier used for minor injuries is usually 1 or 2.  Therefore, if the medical costs amount to $5,000 and the multiplier is 2, you will receive $10,000 as the settlement.

On the other hand, a multiplier of 4 or 5 is assigned for long-term and more severe cases or even permanent injuries like spine injury, brain injury, an injury to the internal organs, and many others. (Use our personal injury calculator to see how much you pain and suffering claim could be worth)

Average Payout for Soft Tissue Injury

When it comes to soft tissue injury, the average payout for ankle sprains is about $15,000, while for shoulder injuries, it is about $20,000. The average payout for herniated discs and whiplash injuries range from $100,000 to $350,000 and $2,500 to $10,000 respectively.

Soft Tissue Injury Average Settlement Examples

The compensation for soft tissue injury varies depending on the pain of the injury and its effect on your earnings. In one particular case, a personal injury attorney was able to help a claimant win a fair settlement after filing a claim. The claimant was involved in a minor accident that left him with strain on his neck, and where the other driver was clearly at fault as he hit his car’s front while trying to overtake a truck.

Fortunately, the attorney was able to settle the claim and help the claimant win a $65,000 settlement from the auto insurance company. This shows the importance of involving an experienced personal injury lawyers while filing for your claim to ensure that you get a fair settlement.

Chris 

Chris was involved in a minor accident that caused him to experience pain with a neck sprain that required him to undergo physical therapy, activity restrictions, and other treatments. The at-fault vehicle driver fell unconscious due to a medical condition and struck the rear end of Chris’s vehicle. Since this was a minor injury, the medical expenses were about $15,000, and the multiplier was 2. Therefore, Chris received $30,000 as the average settlement for his claim for the injury.

Paula

Paula suffered severe soft tissue injuries after an accident involving her vehicle and an over-speeding truck. The injuries included herniated discs and Whiplash injuries. After hiring excellent lawyers, she was able to win the claim, and the injuries were awarded a multiplier of 4. The medical expenses were $500,000, which means that she was able to receive $2,000,000 as the average settlement.

How Can You Improve Your Chances of Getting a Higher Settlement?

A reasonable accident settlement should be able to cover all the expenses incurred due to the crash, including the medical bills and the lost wages.

To increase your chances of getting a fair settlement, you need to take many steps. These include:

  • Seek immediate medical attention

It is easy for you to ignore minor injuries and assume that they will heal on their own. However, you need to immediately seek medical attention after an accident, even if you do not feel like you have sustained any injuries.

Remember, many injuries take time to show symptoms, and they are better treated as early as possible to avoid further complications. Failing to seek medical care immediately after an accident might give the insurance company a chance to argue that you were not seriously injured.

  • Follow the medical instructions 

Moreover, it is also important to ensure that you follow the instructions given by your medical provider. Failing to follow the instructions like returning for a check-up appointment or obtaining a referral might lower the value of your claim.

  • Provide medical records and bills to your lawyers

You also need to remember to forward the records of your treatment and copies of your medical bills to your attorney as you visit medical providers. Keeping your attorney up-to-date with your treatment helps build a strong case, which increases the chances of obtaining a fair settlement.

Hiring a reliable car accident attorney is critically important in ensuring that you get a favorable settlement. Attorneys have experience in negotiating settlement claims, which helps save both money and time in lengthy cases.

In addition, it is also important to ensure that you are honest with your lawyers, including stating whether you have any preexisting condition. This allows your attorney to address the issue before the at-fault insurance company uses it against you.

Why do Soft Tissue Injuries Get Low Settlements?

Typically, soft tissue injuries get low settlements as compared to other injuries. Most insurance adjusters are skeptical about these injuries as they do not show easily, like broken bones, internal organ damages, or other hard injuries. Consequently, the insurance companies have adopted a number of pre-suit strategies that make it harder for the victims to win a fair settlement.

With the new approach, many insurance companies deny claims for sof tissue injuries and restrict their adjusters’ discretion to negotiate. These firms are ordering their adjusters to offer low initial settlements in soft tissue cases resulting from minor vehicle damage or low-speed crashes.

Moreover, the companies are also adopting strategies that frustrate personal injury attorneys while ensuring you get an unfavorable compensation. Even if you were not the fault party. The adjusters are allowed to make only one additional offer before these files are sent to defense counsel.

Factors that Make Soft Tissue Injuries Difficult to Prove

There are several factors that make soft tissue injury cases difficult to prove. Some of the factors include:

  • Lack of medical evidence

These injuries cannot show with diagnostic imaging such as X-rays, CAT scans, and MRIs, unlike hard injuries. Moreover, healing complications like immune response and inflammation are not easy and obvious to predict.

  • Failure to seek prompt medical attention

Most people are skeptical about soft tissue injuries as they can seem considerably minor but worsen after some weeks or months. On the other hand, hard injuries like a broken bone can’t be ignored as they are visible.

  • Complex treatment

These injuries are relatively hard to treat as they may require a long period of physical therapy, activity restrictions, patient compliance, and other treatments.

  • Direct causation 

The insurance company is likely to try to disapprove your claim and associate your present injuries to a prior medical condition, chronic workplace stress injury, and an old accident. With cases of fraudulent claims in the past, proving legitimate claims has also become difficult.

This is not to say that muscle tears, strains/sprains, whiplash-type injuries, deep muscle bruises, nerve damage are not detrimental to the lifestyle of the plaintiff or painful.  It just means it’s more challenging to show medical evidence that you are indeed suffering.

Defense lawyers and insurance companies can make a wide range of arguments about your claims even if you have hard-to-refuse evidence such as an x-ray image showing a broken bone. Consequently, it is important to get thorough and immediate medical treatment for any slight sign of injury. The medical reports from your doctor will play a key role in proving an injury for your claim’s approval.

What is the Insurance Company’s View on Soft Tissue Injuries?

When it comes to soft tissue injury claims, many insurance companies are usually skeptical and have ranges of the amount that are willing to pay for a claim on this type of injury. The insurance company may also refuse to settle a claim if the claimant demands more than what is within the range.  Most companies are skeptical of claims that relate to soft tissue injury, and they usually have fixed ranges of the amounts that they are willing to pay for your settlement.

Usually, insurance companies as entities are not predictable, understandable, logical, or fair, but their adjusters are just ordinary, friendly people. This means that if you approach them well you stand a chance to win a fairer settlement even with the tough strategies adopted by these companies.

In some states, the insurance company might be able to reimburse the extra amount for its litigation costs in case the plaintiff wins a lawsuit on a personal injury claim if the amount is less than what the company had proposed. Therefore, it is good to avoid turning down offers on the insurance adjuster’s settlement.

How Do Insurance Companies Calculate Your Soft Tissue Injuries?

Insurance companies have to deal with thousands claims from accidents. In order to expedite this process many companies use specialized computer software to evaluate how much your accident claim could be worth.  One well known program is known as Colossus.

Colossus is designed to calculate a settlement award that the claimant should get after the adjuster feeds it with the information. The program considers various factors in its calculation, including medical records. Some of the factors that Colossus consider include:

  • Type of injury

  • Type of treatment

  • Hospitalization (duration)

  • Length of treatment

  • Who was at fault

Consequently, it is difficult to get a proper valuation of pain and suffering damages through this program.

Usually, insurance companies like keeping the information on using Colossus to calculate soft tissue injuries for your settlement a secret. Some adjusters use the Colossus calculation as a guide while making an offer for your settlement, while others, especially new adjusters, take the value as the absolute figure for the offer. 

Why computer generated offers are not perfect?

With technological advancement, many insurance providers usually use computer-generated offers as the initial offer. The industry-guarded computer scoring systems are designed to consider specific factors (such as your geographical location, type of injury, and similar factors) that affect your settlement amount.

Unfortunately, these computer systems are not perfect as they do not factor in individual complexities that should influence the amount you receive in your settlement. For instance, a program like Colossus cannot factor in an individual’s line of work, how you perceive pain or other related conditions.

Should I accept the offer for soft tissue injury or go for a trial?

As mentioned above, computer-generated offers are not perfect as they ignore many factors that should play a role in determining your settlement. For instance, a computer may generate $10,000 as the initial offer and then double or triple the amount while giving the second offer. This explains why you need to involve an experienced personal injury lawyer to ensure you get a fair settlement.

If Colossus gives a $15,000 offer for a particular case, then it is highly likely that the case would have won about $700,000 when other factors like pain and suffering damages and lifestyle are put into consideration. However, whether you are happy with the settlement or not, it is good to mention that pushing for a trial is not easy.

In most cases, the jury will offer a compassionate approach that helps in calculating your losses resulting from the injury. A jury trial also subjects claimants to an emotional ordeal that might not be easy for everyone. Therefore, if your case has a significant prior medical history or minor damages, it is good to settle for an amount close to $10,000 rather than going for trial.

Why Soft Tissue Injuries Can Still Get High Claim

While many cases end with a low settlement filing for soft tissue injury claims could still be worthwhile. However, this will mainly depend on the personal injury lawyer you involve and the evidence you table before the case. A reliable and experienced personal injury will persuade the jury and the company and clear the unfair assumption that soft tissue injuries always result in minor damages.

The personal injury lawyers convinces the jurors to clearly see the world through the plaintiff’s eyes to relate to the damages resulting from the injuries to ensure that the plaintiff gets full compensation. A good personal injury lawyer should take enough time to understand their clients and prepare them well for a trial to win a high claim in their settlement.

 

How much is my settlement worth?