Strains and sprains
Words Of Wisdom

Groundbreaking: Strains & sprains are permanent injuries!

Sprains and strains are common in auto-accidents

In general, sprains and strains are one of the most common types of injuries, and they are frequently sustained in car accidents. In both sprains and strains, your soft tissues are injured. In the case of sprains, your ligaments are stretched or torn, and in the case of strains, it is your muscles and tendons. 2

Ligament injuries—ankle sprains and ACL injuries, in particular—are the most common cause of joint pain. 1  

How a sprain or strain occurs

The most common mechanism of injury is overstretching a body part. As the soft tissue stretches, its fibers also stretch until they reach their limit. Once they reach the stretching limit, any movement beyond that point will cause a strain or sprain. Less extensive overstretching will only cause the stretching of ligaments, tendons, or muscles, but more extensive stretching can cause those structures to tear.   

In the case of car accidents, if the driver and passengers are restrained (a.k.a. wearing their seatbelts), the lower leg will be the most common site of injury. 3 Though, the ankles, wrists, and knees are also frequently injured. 4        

The driver’s wrist is usually injured in an auto accident, as they tend to grasp the steering wheel firmer at the moment of impact. Drivers also often sustain ankle injuries, which are caused by the unnatural position of the foot at the moment of impact.

Usually, the person will feel a sudden pain near the injured site. A fairly certain sign of ligament rupture is hearing a popping sound at the moment of injury. 2 Swelling occurs quickly after the injury and can last for several weeks. The swelling is frequently followed by bruising, and range of motion of the injured body part will be limited and painful for quite some time.

Treatment for sprain or strain

Treatment options will depend on the severity of the injury. Most people believe that RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) is the only treatment option for sprains and strains. But surgical intervention and treatment may be necessary for the more severe cases.

In fact, it is a common misconception that sprains and strains are a minor injury that don’t have any long-term consequences. In some cases, this kind of auto accident injury can have an extensive and enduring impact on your health and quality of life.

Though every tendon, ligament, or muscle injury will heal by creating scar tissue, there is unfortunately no treatment option that will fully restore the injured tendon or ligament. 5

Prognosis for sprain or strain

Torn ligaments require at least 6 weeks to as much as 3 months to heal. 6 However, it can take up to a couple years for a scar on the injured ligament to fully mature. Only after the healing process is completed will you know whether the injury has healed well or whether the weakened injured site will fail if heavy pressure or stress is applied. 5 The repaired tissue will remain a weak point and future injuries will increase the chance of a new rupture.

Joint instability related to sprains and strains

Many individuals with previous injuries will experience joint instability—a very serious problem, particularly if the knee, ankle, shoulder, elbow, or wrist are the injured areas. 6

Joint instability causes changes in joint motion and force transmission, which can lead to damage not only of the affected joint but also of other body parts. 5 For example, ankle instability will cause gait changes which will eventually affect the knee joints, hips, and lower back, causing cartilage damage and arthritis.

In the case of joint instability, the person might need to change or reduce their level of activity or seek out a different job, if their current one requires constant weight bearing or sudden changes of direction.

A person with chronic joint instability localized in the lower leg usually experiences pain after standing or walking for a longer period of time. Swelling is also a very common issue. If the person has a problem with an upper extremity joint (shoulder, elbow, or wrist), they will usually complain about pain after repeated motions or weight bearing.

Sprains and strains make you more predisposed for future injury

Under normal circumstances, joint cartilage will wear and tear over the course of a lifetime, and people will have symptoms of osteoarthritis in older age. However, in the case of joint laxity caused by ligament issues, such as instability, the bones will have more space to move freely and the cartilage will suffer a lot more impacts than with any other types of injury. 5 7

Previous ligament injuries will also cause muscle weakness, joint instability, decreased function, and neuromuscular deficits (balance problems, problems with sensations, reduced sense of joint position, etc.). 5

A person with joint instability might require a surgery and repeated physical therapy in order to stabilize the joint and minimize the symptoms.

Value of a sprain or strain on your car accident case

In particular, car accidents resulting in sprains and strains can cause devestating and lasting harm to accident victims. If the other side’s insurance company or attorney is giving your trouble and undervaluing your claim if you have been hurt in a car accident in Virginia resulting from the actions of another driver, you can seek representation from a Virginia car accident lawyer. You may be entitled to compensation for your bodily injuries, physical pain and mental anguish, disfigurement and deformity, inconvenience, medical expenses, earnings lost, and property damage.

Beau Correll is a Winchester, VA attorney who focuses on victims of personal injury. The professionals at Correll Law Firm, PLC are available for a free case evaluation to help you begin pursuing your personal injury case and receiving the compensation you deserve.

References:

1.       Ligament Injury and Healing: A Review of Current Clinical Diagnostics and Therapeutics R.A. Hauser, E.E. Dolan, H.J. Phillips, A.C. Newlin, R.E. Moore and B.A. Woldin

2.       “Sprains And Strains – Symptoms And Causes.” Mayo Clinic. N. p., 2018. Web. 1 June 2018.

3.       Pattimore, Dan et al. “The Nature And Cause Of Lower Limb Injuries In Car Crashes.” SAE Technical Paper Series(1991): n. pag. Web. 1 June 2018.

4.       “Sprains, Strains And Other Soft-Tissue Injuries – Orthoinfo – AAOS.” Orthoinfo.aaos.org. N. p., 2018. Web. 1 June 2018.

5.       Tendon and Ligament: Development, Repair and Disease. Samuel Tozer and Delphine Duprez.

6.       Tricia J. Hubbard and Charlie A. Hicks-Little (2008) Ankle Ligament Healing After an Acute Ankle Sprain: An Evidence-Based Approach. Journal of Athletic Training: Sep/Oct 2008, Vol. 43, No. 5, pp. 523-529.

7.       Hertel, Jay. “Functional Instability Following Lateral Ankle Sprain.” Sports Medicine 29.5 (2000): 361-371. Web. 1 June 2018.

Vehicle collision
Words Of Wisdom

Ouch! Car accidents can cause a lifetime of pain (DETAILS)

Types of car accident permanent injuries

According to Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary, a permanent injury is physical or mental damage that will indefinitely restrict normal activities or employment of an individual. 1

One of the most common causes of permanent injuries is car accidents.

Regardless of whether a person is left partially or totally disabled after being hurt in a car accident, a sudden and permanent injury can have a devastating impact on their life.

The injured person will not be able to continue performing or even enjoying their normal activities, or they may find it hard to adjust to the life they had before the auto injury. He or she may struggle to provide for their family to the same level as before, leading them to wonder what to do after a car accident injury.

While it may feel isolating, their situation is not uncommon. Every year, over 1.2 million people die in car accidents and millions more are injured in an accident. 2

In the USA alone, over 40,000 people die in car accidents annually and someone is injured in an auto accident every 10 seconds. The number of people permanently injured is over two million per year. 3 Almost 10% of people involved in car accidents suffer a permanent injury, with that total number increasing every year. 4

The risk of permanent injury depends mostly on the body part injured in a car accident. People who suffer thorax or abdominal injuries have the lowest chance of permanent injury. On the other side, neck, arm, and leg injuries are the most common causes of permanent injuries. 4

Spine injuries

Neck strain is one of the most common injuries in a car accident, and it is usually considered as a minor injury. But in 16-17% of people, it can lead to severe health issues and even permanent injuries. 4 Individuals usually complain of persistent neck pain with radiation to the head or down the arms, tingling or numbness, loss of strength in hands, and decreased range of motion, which require periodical physical therapy treatments in order to reduce these symptoms and increase mobility.

Injuries of the cervical, thoracic or lumbar spine (complete or incomplete cord syndrome) are most devastating and will lead to permanent injuries in 100% of people. These people will have paraplegia or quadriplegia for the rest of their lives. 4 Individuals with paraplegia or quadriplegia will always require help from another person, and their occupations and their quality of life will be severely restricted. They will require lifelong rounds of physical treatment or kinesiotherapy in order to prevent joint contractures (joint stiffness). Additionally, they have a much higher chance of developing bedsores, pneumonia, UTIs, and other infections.

Fractures in car accidents

Fractures often occur in car accidents. Their impact on the person’s health depends mostly on the type of fracture and injured bone. In the case of simple, non-displaced injuries, most are treated with a cast, which is removed after 4-6 weeks (depending on the injured bone) and followed by physical treatment. These injuries usually don’t leave severe or long-lasting consequences.

However, displaced fractures, intra-articular fractures, and fractures of weight bearing bones can have permanent consequences. These fractures are usually treated surgically, and intense physical therapy treatment is required in order to achieve good results. Even after that, individuals can have issues like pain, restricted motion, and non-healing which can require further rounds of physical therapy or surgery. Intra-articular fractures cause severe damage of the cartilage, leading to the much faster deterioration of the joints. The most susceptible are the hip, knee, and ankle joints, which bear significant weight. In the case of severe arthrosis (joint destruction), the person will require joint replacement surgery.

Head injuries caused by auto accidents

Head injuries are especially common in unrestrained drivers or passengers involved in car accidents. The severity of the consequences depends mostly on the type of head injury. Head contusion or concussions are not particularly severe, in most cases. On the other hand, brain contusions and hematomas will most likely leave permanent consequences. People with these types of injuries can remain in a coma for a long period of time, and later, they can develop cognitive problems, posttraumatic epilepsy, hearing or vision problems, etc. Some patients require repeated surgical procedures to correct or alleviate these issues, if possible. After a coma, individuals will spend months in intensive physical therapy in order to restore their normal functions and motions.

Amputations

Another type of injury that leads to permanent damage is traumatic amputation. The severity of the injury depends mostly on the body part being amputated. Losing a toe or a finger has less of an impact on someone’s life versus losing a thumb or a ring finger. Loss of a thumb or arm above the elbow will always lead to 100% impairment. 4

Amputees will have to wear a prosthesis for their entire lives, which can have a severe negative effect on their quality of life. Most of them will require a longer course of physical therapy. Also, in some cases, the surgical revision of a stump will be required in order to improve balance and comfort while wearing a prosthesis.

Skin lacerations and burns from auto injuries

Skin lacerations (cuts) are very common in car accidents. In the case of smaller cuts, they will often heal by themselves within a couple of weeks, leaving small or almost invisible scars. However, deeper or big skin lacerations often require stitches and leave scars. If the laceration occurs on any visible body parts (the face, for example), it can have permanent consequences not just for the skin but for the victim’s self-confidence.

Lacerations near the joints and scarring can cause joint contractures, which are a very serious problem. The person who sustains a deep or big laceration will likely require further treatments, the most common of which are surgical scar revisions, laser treatments, PRP (platelet rich plasma), microneedling, etc.

Burns can also occur in car accidents. Just like lacerations, they can leave scars. Deeper burns or burns which cover a large portion of the body can cause permanent injuries. Burns located on the face can be mutilating. Deep burns on the joints cause joint contractures in most cases. Any future treatment options will depend mostly on the severity of the burns, and people with severe burns will usually require multiple surgical procedures in order to increase their quality of life following the auto accident injury.

Contact a car accident lawyer

If you or a loved one are injured in an auto or trucking accident, reach out to the professionals at Correll Law Firm, PLC.  We know how the insurance companies determine value based on whether you have a permanent injury. Many times, insurance companies WANT you knowing the full picture of whether you are injuries.  Read our article about how it’s just one of their dirty tricks.

We serve Virginia and are happy to provide a free consultation for your personal injury or car accident matter.  You can reach out to us via the phone number above or fill out this quick form and we’ll have a member of our staff give you a call.

References:

1.            “Permanent Injury.” LII / Legal Information Institute. N. p., 2010. Web. 29 May 2018.

2.            Peden M, Scurfield R, Sleet D, et al. World report on road traffic injury prevention. World Health Organization; Geneva: 2004.

3.            https://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/national-car-accident-statistics

4.            Sigrun Malm, Claes Tingvall. “Risk Of Permanent Medical Impairment (RPMI) In Road Traffic Accidents.” Annals of Advances in Automotive Medicine / Annual Scientific Conference 52 (2008): 93. Web. 29 May 2018.

Words Of Wisdom

8 Shady Insurance Tactics

Many folks like you, when thinking of the car accident settlement process, feel that insurance company employees are simply going to fairly measure your injuries, then pay you what is “owed.”  

However, it’s not that simple.  Insurance companies make a profit by maximizing the amount of money people pay in premiums and reducing the amount paid out in claims to injured people like you.  It’s their business model and people, like you, can be taken advantage of if they’re unaware.

DID YOU KNOW: It has even been disclosed that the adjusters can get paid BONUSES in reducing payouts!

We are frequently seeing cases in which people are taken advantage of.  That said, we want to share with you 8 Shady Tactics they use to reduce paying you what you are owed.

1: They’re looking at your life!

Particularly in cases where we have a client that is severely injured, insurance claims representatives will delve into social media accounts.  They’ll even have you followed and videoed in public.  They may take a few moments of walking to your door without a cane or other assistive device (if a medical professional recommends one) and try to claim you were fine the entire time!

That’s why when we litigate cases we frequently demand any and all surveillance of clients.  During the civil discovery process they usually have to “give up the goods” on what they have on clients. Usually? It’s nothing. 

2. They’ll put up roadblocks

They don’t want you to separate the forest from the trees.

Insurance companies relish in delaying your claim.  They’ll make you get overly-involved in paperwork.  They’ll place all kinds of hoops for you to jump through.  They’ll confuse you and mix in property and personal injury policy limits.  They want to “run that clock” because guess what?  They know that if you play the game long enough you may miss the statute of limitations and you’ll lose your claim forever.

One frequently tactic they use is to only evaluate your claim based on your present injuries.  If you sign that settlement form, you may be “donezo” if you ever develop further pain and discomfort from the original injury.  That’s why it’s important to engage an attorney early.

3. Spying on your Facebook

Always be very cautious what you say on social media because they will misconstrue that, if possible, just like they will on recorded phone calls.

TIP FROM US: Hire an attorney before any discussions with the other person’s insurance company.

4. Inserting tricky clauses into routine documents

We come across this regularly.  If you don’t have an attorney representing you – and even if you do – they will frequently try to get ALL of your medical records, even if it’s not related to the accident.  In those release documents, if you examine the fine-print, you’re agreeing for them to look even YEARS back!  For unrelated things!

They do this because they may want to pin your ailment on a pre-existing condition.  Sometimes they’ll go to great lengths to draw that connection, even if it’s not entirely supported by medical science.

5: Asking Incomplete Questions / Trying to Frame You In The Wrong Light

These insurance adjusters want to blame you whenever they can for the accident.  We urge clients to contact us immediately, rather than playing “their game.”

One of the insurance adjuster “tools of the trade” is to ask incomplete questions to people that don’t have attorneys on recorded phone calls.

We had one case where a bush partially obstructed a client’s view. The client, out of an abundance of caution, pulled into the roadway for a full 30 seconds so any other cars could see him before he pulled out.  After the accident, the other driver’s insurance company denied the claim (initially) by asking on a prerecorded call if the client was to blame for pulling out into a roadway.  The client didn’t see the trickery and said, “Yes!”  However, only when the full facts came out was it clear THEIR DRIVER was at fault.  If a car is in the road for a full 30 seconds, the law recognizes it was the fault of the other driver for being negligent.

That’s but one example out of many.  In summation, don’t play the games of the insurance companies!

6: They blame Colossus.

Most insurance companies use a complex computer program called “Colossus” to evaluate a claim, using various metrics.  Not only are the metrics suspect and not properly assess certain accident-related conditions, but we know many of the limitations of this program.  

The insurance adjuster will usually just blame the computer program for the low settlement number.  Don’t be taken advantage of in this process.

7: Colossus uses a Plaintiff attorney’s “batting average.”

This program, depending on the version, may look at your attorney’s “batting average.”  By that, it looks to whether your attorney is willing to sue if the number is too low.  We take pride in fighting for our clients who wish to pursue this route and are unafraid of taking a case to trial.  We want the maximum amount of recovery for our clients so they can be made whole again.

8: “Do you really need a lawyer?” -Their Insurance Company

Keep in mind what we said before: they want to avoid or reduce payouts.  Lawyers, that know what they are doing, hold the insurance companies accountable.  You need someone that knows the rules of the road to maximize compensation.

Correll Law Firm, PLC (www.correllfirm.com) has experience confronting the insurance companies and fighting for financial recovery of our clients.  If you have been injured in a car accident or the negligence of someone in other ways, call us at (540) 535-2005 for a free case evaluation.

The insurance companies know how to reduce your claim value.  Do you know how to obtain the maximum amount you’re entitled to?