Top 10 Hard-to-Prove Car Crash Injuries: How to Prove?

by | May 24, 2024 | Car Accidents, Personal Injury | 0 comments

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Car crashes can often result in a wide range of injuries, from mild abrasions to severe injuries to the head or spine. Visible injuries will be taken care of immediately and be documented in emergency care facilities. At the same time, underlying invisible injuries or the symptoms, which develop much later the crash can be overlooked. Even the adrenaline rush after a crash can hide the presence of such injuries from us.

Injuries with visible signs of severity can be easily proven legally. However, some injuries are difficult to establish, making it challenging for the victims to get fair compensation.

Through this blog, we analyze the car crash injuries that are difficult to prove and how to establish them legally.

Hard-to-Prove Car Crash Injuries

  1. Whiplash injuries

Whiplash injury occurs most often in rear-end collisions. It happens as a result of the rapid back-and-forth movements of the neck. This sudden jerk to the neck can strain the neck’s soft tissues including muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Whiplash doesn’t always show immediate or visible signs on imaging studies such as X-rays or MRIs. This makes it difficult to prove a whiplash injury.

The symptoms of whiplash, such as neck pain, headaches, and dizziness, are subjective and can vary greatly between individuals. This makes it difficult to establish a clear diagnosis. Symptoms of whiplash can sometimes, may surface much later, appearing days or even weeks after the accident. This delay can create doubt on the connection between the crash and the injury.

The defense or the insurance firms may claim that the delayed appearance of the symptoms themselves shows that it is not connected to the subject incident.

  1. Soft tissue injuries

Soft tissue injuries such as sprains, strains, and contusions affect muscles, tendons, and ligaments in our body. These injuries might not be visible in normal radiology studies like X-rays and often rely on the patient’s subjective reports of pain and discomfort for diagnosis. While advanced imaging techniques like MRI can sometimes detect abnormalities, they are not always clear.

Symptoms of soft tissue injuries include pain, swelling, and limitations in movement. Because these symptoms are common to many conditions, linking them specifically to the car crash can be difficult.

Insurance companies and defense attorneys often view soft tissue injuries with doubt, questioning the severity and even the existence of the injury.

  1. Concussions and Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries (MTBI)

Concussions and mild traumatic brain injuries can occur from a blow to the head, disrupting brain functions. These injuries too will not produce any visible physical injuries. Despite being present, these conditions sometimes may not appear in the imaging results.

Symptoms like memory loss, emotional distress, and cognitive impairments are subjective and vary from person to person. This may make the defense suspect the injury and diagnosis. Emotional symptoms can be considered pre-existing conditions, relating to stress or other issues in life. This makes it difficult to provide a causative link to the accident.

  1. Psychological injuries

Psychological injuries such as PTSD, anxiety, and depression are mostly invisible and would require a diagnosis from mental health professionals. Symptoms are always subjective and vary among individuals. Therefore, it is difficult to quantify or measure them from the personal experiences of the victim.

Like concussion or MTBI-related stress and depression, these psychological injuries too can be attributed to pre-existing conditions or stress in life. This can often complicate relating the injuries to the car crash.

  1. Herniated discs

Disc herniations occur when the soft gel-like center of the spinal discs seeps out through the crack in the tougher outer covering. Symptoms like pain, numbness, weakness, tingling, and pins and needles are subjective and might not correlate with the findings in the radiology reports.

Despite being present, some may be asymptomatic for a long time and the symptoms might evolve after a long time. Depending on the severity of the herniations, symptoms might vary.

People with bigger herniations may be without symptoms and those with milder herniations can have severe symptoms. This may result from the position of the herniation. Therefore, imaging results and subjective symptoms, sometimes, may contradict each other making the defense and the insurance adjusters suspect the severity of the issue. In some cases, they might argue that herniations develop over time due to disc degeneration and are chronic and not acute from the accident.

  1. Internal injuries

Internal injuries such as organ damage, broken ribs, and damaged blood vessels might not have immediate external signs. They may become life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated on time. Internal injuries may necessitate comprehensive invasive diagnostic procedures to confirm the injury.

Without precise documentation and expert testimony, it would be difficult for the plaintiffs to establish the causation and severity.

  1. Knee injuries

Knee injuries such as meniscus tears, ligament and tendon injuries, bursitis, bone contusions, and inflammations may have delayed onsets of symptoms. Even after the immediate onset, they may be mistaken for general soreness. This may lead to delay in diagnosis and treatment, and the delay may result in suspecting the link between the accident and injury.

Radiology findings may not always clearly show the extent of the injury as the inflammation might obscure the issues. Proving the extent and severity of the injury and its impact on mobility and daily activities would be difficult without proper medical documentation and functional assessments.

  1. Shoulder injuries

The shoulder is a complex joint that can sustain various injuries from car crashes. This may include injuries such as rotator cuff tears to dislocations. Each of these injuries might require different types of treatment and evidence to prove.

Proving how the shoulder injury affects the range of motion and functionality involves in-depth medical evaluations and reports from physical therapists. These injuries might not be evident in simple imaging such as X-rays or MRIs. Sometimes, they may necessitate ultrasounds or CT scans to diagnose the issue accurately. Failing to diagnose them on time and precisely might affect the car crash claims.

  1. Nerve damages

Nerve damage is also one of the car crash injuries, which has the invisible but subjective symptoms like numbness, tingling and shooting pains. Moreover, the symptoms of nerve damage can appear days or weeks after the accident, making it tricky to establish its connection to the crash.

Diagnosing nerve damage typically requires specialized tests like EMGs or nerve conduction studies, which may not be immediately performed after an accident.

  1. Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders

Temporomandibular Joint Disorders or TMJ disorders can occur along with whiplash injuries due to the sudden impact from car crashes. TMJ disorders means the dysfunction of the joints and muscles in the jaw. This may cause symptoms such as jaw pain, headaches, earaches and difficulty in chewing. These symptoms may not appear immediately but can develop later.

TMJ disorders can also occur due to stress or dental issues from wear and tear. The late onset of the symptoms would make it difficult to establish a correlation between the crash and symptoms. The defense lawyers might argue that it developed from wear and tear and not related to the crash. Moreover, the X-rays and MRIs might not always detect the issues, which can also lead to disputes.

How to legally establish these car crash injuries effectively?

Proving car crash injuries, especially injuries that are difficult to detect or quantify, would require evidence in the form of thorough documentation, expert testimonies, and strategic arguments.

Attorneys experienced in handling car crash injuries will have a winning edge in proving these injuries. By drafting powerful demand letters, attorneys can persuade the defense believe the credibility of the victim’s injuries and come to terms with a fair recompense for the victim.

Thorough and detailed deposition testimonies and trial preparation anticipating the arguments of the defense can come in handy during trials. Let’s see the effective evidence that can substantiate the car crash injuries.

Immediate medical attention and documentation

Even if symptoms are not apparent, seeking medical attention immediately after the crash is vital in proving the injuries. Early medical documents are crucial in establishing the baseline of injuries.

Ensure that all the medical visits, symptoms, treatments, and progress are thoroughly documented. Even minor symptoms should not be overlooked and detailed descriptions of pain, discomfort, and any noticeable injuries should be documented starting from the ER.

Documentation of even minor symptoms of these injuries in medical records including emergency room records, follow-up visits, specialist consultations, and diagnostic tests can be vital in proving them. Detailed reports from all the treating physicians, highlighting the nature, extent, and potential causes of these injuries can be crucial.

Consistency in treatment and follow-up care is essential in proving the credibility of the injuries claimed. Any non-compliance or gaps in treatment can affect the car crash claim negatively. The defense can argue that the injuries are not as severe as claimed.

Any inconsistencies in the symptoms documented may give chances for the defense to argue that the symptoms are faked.

Photographic evidence

Photographs of the accident scene, vehicle damage, and visible injuries of the victim can provide visual evidence of the severity of the crash. Videography of the victim’s daily life after the crash can prove the limitations on mobility, psychological impacts of the injuries, and other evidence to prove the injuries.

Diagnostic imaging and testing

Utilizing a variety of imaging techniques like X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and ultrasounds to identify and document injuries can help in establishing the injuries. Herniated discs and soft tissue injuries might appear in later imaging studies. Therefore, repeated radiological tests can be vital.

Functional assessments can help in documenting limitations in mobility, strength, and daily activities due to the injuries.

Pain and suffering journals

Victim’s daily journals documenting the symptoms, pain level, and how they affect their daily activities can be influential as they show subjective symptoms on a daily basis. If the journal has consistently documented the pain and suffering, it would be beneficial in facing arguments that the symptoms are exaggerated or unrelated.

Personal and witness testimonies

Victim’s detailed account of the symptoms, pain levels, and their impact on life to various providers should be consistent. Clear documentation of the symptoms of pre-existing conditions can help differentiate them from the new symptoms of car crash injuries.

Eyewitness testimonies from passengers, bystanders, and first responders can stand proof for the severity of the crash and the symptoms in the victim at the accident scene. Testimonies of family members, friends, and colleagues can substantiate the change in the victim’s behavior, capabilities, and health before and after the crash.

The psychological and emotional impact

Evaluations from mental health professionals and their opinions can be influential in proving psychological injuries like PTSD, depression, anxiety, and stress. Testimonies from counselors and therapists on the victim’s emotional and psychological state can also be considered solid proof.

Expert testimony

Medical experts, specialized in the types of injuries sustained can provide expert opinions on the causation and extent of injuries. Specialists in neurology, orthopedics, ophthalmology, psychiatry, occupational therapy, and physical therapy can provide comprehensive evaluations and expert testimonies. For severe and chronic injuries, life care planners can project future medical needs and associated costs.

Accident reconstruction expert opinions

Opinions of the accident reconstruction and biomechanics experts on the mechanics of the crash and how it could have caused the victim’s injuries can support the claim effectively. The extent of the vehicle damages and the type of injuries sustained can be correlated to demonstrate the force of the impact and its impact on the body.

Medical literature and research

Relevant studies and literature linking the specific types of car crash injuries to the mechanisms of the victim’s accident can provide scientific support to the claim. Presenting similar cases where the plaintiffs sustained more or less similar injuries can support the credibility of the injuries claimed.

In brief, by following the above-mentioned strategies, personal injury attorneys can build a strong case to prove the hard-to-prove car crash injuries. They can also overcome the challenges related to the subjective symptoms, delayed diagnoses, and the distrust of the defense attorneys.

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