Severity of the Injury
Soft Tissue injuries can be quite common and can occur in both adults and children. Soft tissue injuries are generally categorised into three grades based on the severity of the injury.
This is a minor injury that will usually heal in one to two weeks such as an ankle sprain. This injury usually involves up to about 10% of the muscle or ligament. Signs of injury associated with this include mild tenderness and swelling of the injured area. This soft tissue damage usually occurs following a mild strain and in some cases can cause very small tearing of the fibres.
This is caused by a moderate sprain or strain which can cause partial tears of the fibres. This injury can also be associated with swelling and pain in the injured area. An injury of this severity can take three to four weeks to heal properly.
Severe sprain and strain injuries fall into this category and often lead to a complete rupture of muscle structure. This can cause severe pain and discomfort for the injured individual and can also lead to reduced mobility and range of motion of the injured area. Recovery times for these injuries are much longer and urgent medical attention is required. Recovery times also depend on the age and general health of the injured person.
Soft tissue injuries can be associated with many different types of injuries and can lead to great pain and discomfort for the injured persons. These claims will be made through the Injuries Board as a personal injury claim.
An important step in this process is to determine who is liable for the cause of the injuries which you have sustained. This will depend on the circumstances in which your injuries were sustained. If another party has acted negligently which led to the cause of an accident then they could be found liable for this.
Common Signs of a Soft Tissue Injury
- Pain and discomfort
- Swelling and feeling of tenderness
- Reduced mobility and movement
- Tearing of fibres and muscles
- Stiffness of the injured area
- Numbness or feeling of pins and needles
In most cases, it will be an injury that will lead to damage of the soft tissues in the body. These injuries can put pressure on the body leading to some form of connective tissue injury. The severity of this will depend on the type of injury which was sustained. Common injuries which can cause damage to soft tissue can include:
Sprains and Strains
A sprain is tearing of the ligaments in the body. Ligaments are the bands of fibrous tissue which connect two bones together in your joints. Strains are a stretching of the muscles or tendon which is the cord of tissue that connect muscles and bones. Strains generally occur in the lower back and backs of the thighs. As both of these injuries can put pressure on the ligaments and tendons, this can lead to various acute soft tissue injuries. Common symptoms of the affected area can include pain, swelling, reduced movement and bruising. A common type of strain injury is cubital tunnel syndrome.
Contusion, also known as bruising, is an injury to the soft tissue in the body. This is generally caused by some form of a blunt force to a certain area of the body. This can lead to pain and swelling for the injured individual. Recovery times for this injury will vary depending on the severity and the effects which the injury has had on the body and soft tissues. Common contusions are kidney contusions and heart contusions.
This is the name given to the injury when the bursa becomes inflamed. The bursa is filled with fluid and acts as a cushion between the bones, muscles and tendons. Inflammation of the bursa can lead to pain and discomfort and can lead to a soft tissue injury if left untreated due to increased pressure placed on the muscles and tendons.
Tendinitis is the name given to inflammation of the tendons. There are a number of different variations of this injury and it can occur in any part of the body. In many cases, symptoms can be hard to determine as there are many different types of this injury. Inflammation of the tendons is a common cause of soft tissue injury which can affect a person’s everyday activities. Damage to the tendons can lead to any kind of tissue injury and can also range in severity.
In the Workplace
A workplace that is not properly maintained or does not have the adequate safety measures in place may present risk of accident to the employees. Soft tissue injuries usually occur in the workplace because of a slip, trip or fall as a result of:
In such cases, liability may rest on the employer if it is proven that they did not provide a hazard free working environment.
Tendon Injury at Work Claims*
Tendon injuries are a common workplace accident and are generally suffered by people who carry out repetitive movements in the course of their work. These repetitive movements tend to cause damage to the tendons by way of deterioration.
People who are at high risk of sustaining an overuse injury in work are factory workers on an assembly line, office workers, supermarket workers and construction and manual labour workers.
In Public Places
In public places, whether it be shops, supermarkets, business premises, public parks, playgrounds or simply walking along a footpath, there is an expectation that the area would be relatively risk and danger free. In cases where the owner/occupier of a public place or business premises failed to uphold their duty of care and not provide a risk-free environment and you can prove that your skin injury could have been avoided if the occupier had taken the necessary steps to provide a hazard free environment, then you may be entitled to pursue legal action.
The most common accidents involving a soft tissue injury in public places have been:
- Slip and fall on a wet floor in a shop/supermarket
- Trip and fall over uneven flooring
- Fall in a stair well because of broken or inadequate handrails
- Tip and fall because of inadequate lighting
- Slip and fall on wet floor/broken glass in a pub or nightclub
- Tripping on a pot hole or poorly maintained footpath
- Accidents in playgrounds and public parks
On the Road
On the road, there are many scenarios where a person could experience a soft tissue injury as a result of another person’s actions/inactions. In these cases where you can prove that your injury could have been avoided if the other party had not acted negligently, you may be entitled to pursue legal action. Some examples of road traffic accidents:
How Much is a Soft Tissue Injury Claim Worth?
The value of your soft tissue injury claim will heavily depend on the specifics of your case. To value your claim, you must take into account the following:
- The severity of your injuries
- The cost of your medical bills
- How much wages you lost
- Your future medical bills
- Your future lost earnings
- The effect the injury has had on your quality of life
The Judicial Council’s personal injury guidelines categorise soft tissue injuries into some the following categories:
- Fractures or dislocations that may require spinal fusion, or severe damage to soft tissues and/or ruptured tendons leading to chronic conditions and significant disability of a permanent nature: €70,000 – €100,000
- Injuries involving less serious fractures and dislocations than the above point, but which nonetheless cause severe symptoms and/or pain which will be permanent or recurring: €50,000 – €70,000
- Cases involving soft tissue or wrenching type injury and disc lesion of the more severe type resulting in cervical spondylosis, serious limitation of movement, permanent or recurring pain, stiffness or discomfort: €35,000 – €50,000
Disc lesions, fractures of discs or of vertebral bodies or soft tissue injuries
Minor Leg Injuries
- Simple fractures to tibia or fibula or soft tissue injuries: €7,500 – €15,000
- Wide variety of soft tissue injuries, lacerations, cuts, bruising or contusions: €3,000 – €7,500
- Where the injuries are the same as at (iii) above and all symptoms have resolved within six months: €500 – €3,000
Severe achilles tendon injuries
Serious achilles tendon injuries
Moderate achilles tendon injuries
Minor achilles tendon injuries
- Where substantial recovery takes place in one to two years: €6,000 – €12,000
- Where substantial recovery takes place in six months to one year: €3,000 – €6,000
- Where substantial recovery takes place with six months: €500 – €3,000