What Are Soft Tissue Injuries Caused by Car Accidents?

November 16, 2020 | By Riddle & Brantley Accident Injury Lawyers
What Are Soft Tissue Injuries Caused by Car Accidents?

Soft Tissue Injuries in Car Accidents

The most common type of injury after a car accident is a soft tissue injury. Our North Carolina car accident attorneys have handled thousands of car accident claims involving soft tissue injuries. The insurance company uses the term “soft tissue” injuries generally to describe muscle strains, tears, sprains, or bruising. Soft tissue injuries may occur in various areas of the body including:

  • Skin
  • Connective Tissue
  • Ligaments
  • Fat
  • Muscles
  • Blood vessels

What is Considered a Soft Tissue Injury?

Additionally, a doctor may describe soft tissue injuries as:

  • Contusions
  • Sprains
  • Strains
  • Whiplash
  • Concussions
  • Scarring
Soft tissue injuries are the most common injuries in car accidents and include sprains, strains, tears, cuts, and bruising.

Injuries like broken bones or fractures are not considered soft tissue injuries. Consequently, broken bones are valued differently when it comes to determining a settlement in a car accident claim.

Common Soft Tissue Injuries Caused by Car Accidents

There are many types of soft tissue injuries caused by car, truck, and other motor vehicle accidents. Some of the most common soft tissue injuries caused by car accidents include:


This injury occurs when a ligament is stretched or torn. Ligaments are bands of tissue that connect bones.

Car accidents often cause sprains in wrists, ankles, and knees.

Symptoms of sprains include:

  • Pain
  • Bruising (contusions)
  • Swelling
  • Inflammation
  • Impaired flexibility

In order to diagnose a sprain, doctors will have to x-ray the injured body part.


A strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon. A tendon is a type of tissue that connects muscles to bones. The most common types of strains related to auto accidents include the back and neck.

Strains can be full or partial, and result in any of the following symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Weakness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Cramping
  • Swelling
  • Inflammation
  • Limited range of motion

Depending on the symptoms and severity of a potential strain, a doctor may rely on an x-ray to make a formal diagnosis.

Contusions or Bruising

"Contusion" is the medical term for bruising.

In many cases, contusions occur from direct blows to soft tissue. These injuries typically arise when the force of the impact from a car accident presses underlying muscles and connective tissues. A bruise forms because the capillaries and blood vessels beneath the skin are damaged, and blood leaks into the surrounding tissue.

Symptoms of contusions (bruising) include:

  • Pain
  • Discoloration
  • Sensitivity
  • Tenderness

While painful, contusions are generally less serious than other soft tissue injuries and will typically go away on their own.

Cerebral Contusions and Concussions

Unlike a standard concussion, cerebral contusions are even more serious because there can be bruising, bleeding, or swelling within the skull and around the brain. These injuries are commonly known as closed head injuries or, in the most severe cases, "traumatic brain injuries" or TBI.

These injuries can be extremely dangerous because they are not outwardly visible.

Symptoms of closed head injuries include:

  • Memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of speech

In many cases, your physician will diagnose you with a cerebral contusion with a neuropsychological exam, CT scan, or MRI.

Lacerations / Cuts and Scrapes

Lacerations, cuts, or scrapes, occur when the skin is broken. Muscles and tendons may be severed and bleeding is common. While some lacerations are minimal, others may need surgery or leave scarring. The value of lacerations often depends on whether there are stitches or scarring. In extreme cases, clients may need plastic surgery to minimize scarring.

Lacerations are the most common form of soft tissue injury resulting from car accidents. These types of injuries can also be permeant if there is scarring from the laceration. We recommend that you continue to take pictures of the healing process, so the insurance company can properly evaluate the scar.


Many of our clients also suffer from whiplash after a car accident. This type of soft tissue injury occurs when the head and neck are suddenly forced back and forth.

In the medical community, whiplash is known as cervical sprain/strain or hyperextension.

Symptoms of whiplash include:

  • Neck stiffness
  • Limited range of motion
  • Sharp neck pain
  • Back problems

In some cases, symptoms of whiplash won’t develop for days after the car accident. Whiplash can also take days or even weeks to go away.

Have you or a loved one sustained soft tissue injuries from a car accident? Contact Riddle and Brantley for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our attorneys have vast experience dealing with soft tissue injuries.

Have You Been Injured in a Car Accident in North Carolina?

$665 million recovered since 2000 alone.

If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle in North Carolina and sustained soft tissue injuries, you may be entitled to compensation. Our legal team can help ensure that you are getting the compensation you deserve.

For a FREE consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer handling claims throughout North Carolina, please call 1-800-525-7111 or complete the form below.

For almost 40 years, our experienced injury attorneys have been fighting for the people of North Carolina and visitors to our great state, and we’re proud of our record of success and the way our clients talk about their experience working with us.

Since 1985, we’ve recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation on behalf of deserving victims (see disclaimer below). Our attorneys have over 225 years of combined legal experience.

  • “Every time I’ve needed them, they were there for me.” –Tyronnie T.
  • “Riddle & Brantley found me all the available money from the insurance companies.” David H.
  • “It was nice to see Riddle & Brantley put me and my needs first.” – Colley
  • “They turned a heartbreaking situation completely around.” –Tonya T.
  • “They handled my case very professionally, with respect from beginning to end.” Joseph P.

 “This settlement changed me and my family’s lives.”

Linda B., Riddle & Brantley client

Please call 1-800-525-7111 today and let’s review your claim.

Justice Counts for those injured due to others’ negligence and we would love to help you and your loved ones if we can.

*** Disclaimer: The results mentioned are intended to illustrate the type of cases handled by the firm. These results do not guarantee a similar outcome, and they should not be construed to constitute a promise or guarantee of a particular result in any particular case. Every case is different, and the outcome of any case depends upon a variety of factors unique to that case.