Car accidents can cause a range of injuries to the occupants who are inside of the car when a collision occurs. One of the biggest misconceptions out there is that one or more cars needs to be traveling at a high rate of speed or the damage done to the car needs to be significant for great bodily damage to occur. Likewise, people think that one needs to be involved in a wreck with an 18-wheeler or commercial truck to sustain real injuries. This is not the case. Severe and even life-threatening injuries can be sustained in low speed accidents or accidents in which the crash appears does not appear to have caused major damage to the car or truck. If you have been involved in an automobile accident, you may be wondering what the most common types of injuries are following a car accident. Here are seven common injuries that may be sustained as the result of a car accident:
Following a car accident, one of the most common types of injuries that can be sustained are superficial injuries. This includes bruising from wearing your seatbelt, a bloody nose from your air bag inflating or scratches or minor cuts due to your windshield shattering and hitting you. Superficial injuries may require no immediate medical attention and sometimes, no medical attention at all. These injuries typically heal up on their own very quickly with no residual damage or permanent disability. If you or a passenger are walking away from a car accident with superficial injuries, consider yourself lucky. However, beware of injuries that may lie beneath the surface.
Lacerations and Crushing Injuries
When the cuts and scrapes escalate in severity, they can actually be large lacerations or crushing injuries caused by different components of the vehicles such as metal or glass. Obviously, these types of injuries require immediate attention. A person who calls 9-1-1 should be thinking about requesting EMS if these serious injuries are suspected instead of asking for the police to show up and then leaving the police to call EMS. Doing so can result in the loss of precious time needed to provide immediate medical attention.
Back and Neck Soft Tissue Injuries
Back and neck muscular injuries are also encompassed among the most common type of injury following a car accident. These injuries are generally referred to as “soft tissue” injuries and they may affect the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other tissues in the body other than bones or vital organs. The most common type of soft tissue injury associated with a car accident is “whiplash”. When you are involved in a car accident, your neck and spine are thrown forward and then backward or to the side. This sudden jerking motion causes trauma to the tissues and joints surrounding the bones and vertebrae that make up your neck and spine. This can cause substantial damage to these tissues with resulting pain and spasms. If you suspect any of these injuries, you should get medical attention as soon as possible. Although these injuries may not seem very significant, lack of treatment may lead to formation of scar tissue that can then result in ongoing pain and discomfort for a long time. Every person is different and you should allow medical professionals to be the ones that determine what treatment you need.
Traumatic Brain Injuries & Concussions
Another injury that unfortunately is relatively common with car accidents is a traumatic brain injury, or “TBI”. In 2013,1 about 2.8 million TBI-related emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations, and deaths occurred in the United States. Car accidents are the third cause of TBIs in the United States. Among TBI-related deaths, motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of death for persons 5-24 years of age.
Brain injuries occur when the brain sustains a strong blow to the head, causing the brain to swell. Many times, medical professionals will first determine that a concussion has occurred, and hope that the concussion does not result in a more severe brain injury. However, many concussions take a long time to resolve and some lead to permanent brain activity impairment with effects like loss of memory, mood swings, depression and more. Concussions and TBI may occur during high impact motor vehicle accidents where the skull is struck by different parts of the inside of the vehicle, depending on how the accident happened or even the concrete or ground if the person was ejected. The motor vehicle accidents that can lead to TBI or concussions may involve passenger cars, motorcycles, trucks or even bicycle or pedicab accidents.
When you think of car accidents, the body parts that most people think of being injured are usually the head, neck and back. But the arms and legs can be injured as the result of an automobile accident as well. Typically, a fracture is the most common type of injury sustained to the arms and legs, at different points such as the wrists, ankles, shoulder, or femur. As someone drives, their arms and legs are bent. Usually a person is using one or two hands to hold the steering wheel and one or two feet on the pedals. If the person collides with another car, the force of the impact can cause the bones to shatter or break, causing limb fractures.
Internal injuries can be one of the most traumatic and serious forms of injury outside of traumatic brain injuries. Many internal injuries are caused by the crushing force of the accident. A steering wheel may be pushed into someone’s abdomen if they hit someone from behind. Or, if a car hits another car from the side, the impact of the accident may drive the metal car body into the passengers who are sitting in the back seat. Either way, internal injuries can include everything from internal bleeding to pierced or torn organs to severe organ damage. Internal injuries need to be treated immediately to prevent further damage to the body or death. Depending on where the accident happened, sometimes it is necessary to air-lift an injured person to get them to the ER as soon as possible.
Loss of Life
In 2016, 3700 people lost their life as the result of a car accident in the state of Texas. Death may be the result of severe head injuries or internal injuries. Wearing a seatbelt helps to minimize the chances of death as the result of a car accident, but it cannot prevent all deaths.
If you have been injured in a car accident, it is important to immediately go to the ER or be seen by a doctor as soon as possible. After getting the medical care you need, consult with a personal injury attorney. Experienced injury attorneys can help retain the right experts prove the biomechanics of the accident if needed, showing how the accident occurred and the exact movements and forces that led to the injuries you sustained.
Contact Pastrana Law Firm at 512-474-4487 for help with your injury case. We have over thirty years of experience and we will help you pursue the fair and full compensation you deserve. Hablamos Español.
This blog is not intended as legal or medical advice. These notes are intended simply as commentary.