The soft tissue comprises the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the body as opposed to the hard tissue, or the bones and cartilage. Soft tissue is often torn, sprained or strained in car accidents because the impact, sudden braking and bracing of the body stretch it in extreme ways. The result is usually chronic pain and swelling in the neck.

Those are just the most common symptoms. Soft tissue damage can also cause bleeding and a loss of motor function in the neck. Victims may feel a worrying stiffness in their neck. Unfortunately, the symptoms appear at different times in different people, sometimes days after an accident. This means that many people can harm themselves by delaying medical treatment. Soft tissue injuries cannot be detected by X-ray and are hard to diagnose.

In rear-end collisions, the victim’s head is snapped back, causing tears in the neck tissue. This is called whiplash and is the most common form of soft tissue injury. Its symptoms are concentrated in the neck and may include shooting pains, tingling, burning and stiffness.

Whiplash could also lead to spinal disc herniation and muscle joint dysfunction. Some victims of whiplash experience symptoms that are akin to post-traumatic stress disorder, such as depression and nervousness. Other people suffer from headaches, memory loss, poor sleep and dizziness.

Soft tissue damage constitutes a serious injury, and victims who sustain this damage through no fault of their own may be eligible for compensation. This is where knowledge of personal injury law is required. Victims can hire a lawyer to help them file a claim and be reimbursed for medical bills, vehicle damage, lost wages and pain and suffering. Personal injury attorneys usually have investigators they can turn to when building up evidence against the other driver. Lawyers can also handle all negotiations with the auto insurance company.