Accident victims suffer a host of different injuries. Broken bones, herniated discs in areas of the spine, concussions and a host of lesser problems abound. Many nagging injuries defy precise description and are often categorized as "soft-tissue injuries".
What Is A Soft Tissue Injury?
Soft tissue injuries are generally categorized as damage to tendons, ligaments, muscles and non-bony body structures. They can produce a variety of symptoms including inflammation, bruising, sprains, strains and can be quite painful. Soft tissue injuries can in some instances be more limiting than broken bones. They also often produce skepticism on the part of insurance adjusters and defense lawyers, when they are confronted by persistent complaints which require continuing treatment.
Some of this skepticism stems from medical bromides suggesting recovery times of 3 to 4 weeks for most soft tissue injuries. Doctors routinely used by insurance companies at trial will often opine that any more than 6 to 8 weeks of physical therapy is unnescessary and not causally related.
At Clark and Steinhorn, LLC we have seen literally thousands of "soft tissue" injury car accident cases and many of our clients have needed a good deal more than 6 to 8 weeks of physical therapy to get to maximum medical improvement. Despite the insurance industries' lack of enthusiasm for paying fair compensation for soft tissue injuries, we have followed certain guidelines to enhance our clients getting their due.
Make sure your treating doctor prescribes your treatment including any physical therapy in writing. This ensures a record from which the doctor can't back away later, reflecting their medical opinion that the injuries you sustained in the car or truck crash required specific treatment for a specific period of time.
If you receive a prescription for four weeks of physical therapy and the four weeks didn't get you back to normal, go back and see your doctor and detail the physical problems you are having that might benefit from some additional period of P.T. Again get that in writing and arguments by the insurance company that it wasn't medically necessary will be refuted before they are made.
If your symptoms persist despite extended therapy see your doctor, explain the continuing problems and the persistence of your symptoms, and that may motivate your doctor to look at your soft tissue injury differently. This may result in additional diagnostic testing to ensure you haven't suffered a previously undiagnosed structural injury, or possible additional prescription of physical therapy or perhaps some pharmacological approach. The bottom line, as long as your doctor understands your problems aren't going away. they will support your need for additional care of some variety in the quest for maximum medical improvement.
Don't get more therapy or treatment without your doctor's knowledge or support. Periodically we see cases where our clients are prescribed physical therapy which has the effect of making them feel better but is not supported by any doctor. This creates many problems. Our efforts to claim the therapy costs in the claim or at trial, lack the necessary foundation that the treatment was "medically necessary" and thus can't be claimed. This means that the costs of that treatment are borne by the injured person not the insurance company for the at fault driver. It also opens the door to defense lawyers and doctors opining that the injured person "over-treated" the implication being that they are malingerers or fakers.
Finally, let your lawyer know what's going on with you medically. If your treatment plan isn't working an experienced lawyer can make constructive suggestions about possible alternate treatment options to discuss with your doctors. Some victims of car crashes find that they are unhappy with their healthcare providers and again, a knowledgeable attorney can help them better communicate with their healthcare providers or even find more effective ones without negatively effecting their case. People who switch doctors mid-case without advancing good reasons can be characterized later as "doctor shoppers" with potentially bad effects.