Auto and truck accidents are devastating. Even for attorneys. Recently, a friend driving on Interstate 45 going through Conroe in Montgomery County was broadsided by a speeder that just happened to be high out of his mind on drugs. The friend happened to be a lawyer. We’ve all seen near misses and accidents waiting to happen. A teen blew by me on the highway just yesterday. But what happens when your number is up? Boom, you’re hit. What do you do? First, high-speed collisions cause hidden vehicular damage that’s hard to visually ascertain. Even a seasoned insurance adjustor doesn’t catch all the damage. Let’s face the facts, insurance companies are the business to make money. Repeat inspections and visits to the mechanic cost money. Companies in the collision business want to get auto and truck claims paid quickly and cheaply. The lawyer above continued to have parts fall off her vehicle over the course of the next year. And folks this was a Toyota, not a Yugo. It was new before the crash. Sadly, the truck never drove the same. The claim was settled, she was unhappy. She ended up buying a new one less than a year later. Incidentally, our firm didn’t handle her accident claim and she was never made whole. Moral of the story, choose your lawyer carefully after your car or truck accident. But what’s more insidious than a property, car, or truck claim after a collision? Soft tissue injuries.
Today, I had a visit with a friend with neck and shoulder pain. The injury, soft tissue in nature, was the result of a low impact car accident. The injury happened long ago. The statute of limitations on the claim were long gone. The pain wasn’t. Around the time of the accident he said treatment wasn’t a priority. It should have been. His shoulder getting weaker, his range of motion is decreasing, he didn’t know where to turn. Simple things he used to enjoy like weight lifting and mountain biking becoming more difficult. He’s scheduled for a surgery consultation this week.
Why do I bring up this scenario? It’s because I hear this same set of facts frequently. Vehicles have hidden damage from auto and truck accidents but so do human bodies. When your body is pushed past its physical limits, something must give. Sometimes this trauma immediately causes pain. Sometimes it doesn’t. But what I used to see quite of bit while rehabilitating patients, were the secondary injuries that came to light at a much later date. Let’s look at a blatant example. Say for instance you’re in a truck or vehicle crash and you strike the window with your head. Head injuries bleed and head injuries hurt. Severely in some cases. What’s your priority? Your head. You go to the emergency room. There, you are treated for severe life threatening problems. Emergency rooms practice triage. In other words, severe injuries take precedent. That gash on your head, it’s treated first. Nothing else appeared life threatening so you were sent packing. But what about those torn muscles and ligaments in your neck and shoulder? Just like broken ribs, those soft tissue injuries hide under the radar, not to be noticed by you or anyone else for weeks. Truth be told, broken ribs don’t even show up on a x-ray until they start healing which can be a week later. Without a CT scan or MRI, a trained eye, those soft tissue injuries won’t show up either. The result? Those tissues either heal correctly, heal incorrectly, not at all, or develop scar tissue which causes delayed pain, discomfort, and leads to arthritic conditions.