Acute soft tissue injuries are common injuries in car and workers’ compensation accidents. Recovering from workers comp injuries and auto accident injuries require several phases of healing. Healing takes time and typically so does the legal representation of a workers’ comp or auto accident case. In fact, attorneys can be hesitant to settle a workers’ compensation or auto accident case until the victim reaches maximum medical improvement (MMI), or in layman’s terms, at the conclusion of the healing process. Settlements can be predicated upon the type of healing that has taken place. Sometimes, injuries are so severe that no matter how much time passes or effort exerted; you’ll never be the same again. Here are some of the phases of healing an injured party will typically experience:
Phase 1- Acute Inflammatory Phase –This is the initial reaction to the injury. Typically, the muscle tissue that has been torn will bleed or leak inflammatory substances in the injured area for up to 72 hours after the injury, which causes the swelling. Often, an injured victim will continue to feel gradually worse during the 72 hours period. During this time, applying cryotherapy, such as ice, to the injured area is very important.
Phase 2- Repair and Regeneration – Typically, this phase begins 72 hours after injury and can continue for up to 8 weeks. During this period, the torn tissue begins the regeneration phase by bridging the tear with scar tissue. Typically, the scar tissue is stiffer or tougher than the original tissue, although it is significantly weaker because it is not made of the same material as the original tissue. Thus, the injured area can never really be the same again and the injured party will feel that the injured area is weaker.
Phase 3 – Remodeling – This phase may last up to 12 months or more. During this period, it is incredibly important to exercise the area to increase the strength and continue the soft tissue realignment of the scar tissue fibers to aid in the healing of the injury and decrease the risk of re-injury. This is why most soft tissues injuries require extensive physical or occupational therapy during the healing process. Doctors have been known to say; “the more strenuous the physical or occupational therapy, the better the end product.”
Healing workers comp injuries and auto accident injuries can take a long time and the end result of which doesn’t always leave you “as good as new.” If you’ve experienced an injury from an auto accident, slip and fall, or workers’ compensation accident, talk to an attorney to see if you might have a case. Often, a consultation is free of charge.