Did you know that American residents spend up to one million days in the hospital annually for injuries resulting from car accidents? That accounts for approximately $18 billion in lifetime medical expenses and $33 billion in lost wages.
But you might be surprised to learn that auto accidents can range from simple scrapes and bruises to severe back or brain injuries that potentially cause permanent damage.
This post will examine some of the most common automobile accident injuries and their causes. So, if you have been in a car accident, read on to learn about the types of injuries you could suffer.
Head injuries take various forms; they can be mild or severe depending on the force of the collision.
A head injury may occur when the driver or passenger’s head shifts quickly and unnaturally when a vehicle comes to an abrupt stop. These motions can potentially cause severe neck and back muscle strains and sprains.
However, the skull itself can sustain injuries as well. Your head could sustain scrapes or bruises when it strikes the steering wheel or the side window.
A fatal head-on collision can easily result in a severe head injury that results in concussions. Unfortunately, these injuries can lead to permanent brain damage.
The impact of a motor vehicle accident may make your body hit other parts of the car. This, in turn, may exert pressure on your body that it cannot withstand, hence breaking your bones.
Broken ribs, arms, wrists, hips, and ankles are common in car accidents. These injuries are excruciating and take longer to heal. Recovery from broken bones generally depends on the fracture or broken bone sustained.
These injuries range from simple to compound fractures. Simple fractures do not result in open wounds; they shatter the bone. They can recover with just a cast.
Compound fractures penetrate the skin; hence they are more complex. These require surgery to repair the damage and promote bone healing.
Although bone fractures are very common in car accidents, they are rarely serious or fatal.
According to the Virtual Medical Center, up to 120,000 people suffer whiplash injuries yearly.
Whiplash is the alternative term for soft tissue injuries to the neck and back. Most of these injuries are caused by abrupt movements during an automobile accident, especially rear-end crashes.
Unlike significant injuries, pain from whiplash takes time to appear. The symptoms can range from neck pain and stiffness, tingling and numbness, pain that worsens when the neck moves, and fatigue.
You probably have whiplash if you feel aches or pains in your neck and back after a vehicle accident. Even though the sprains hurt and take some time to heal, whiplash seldom results in permanent damage.
Sometimes the impact of the accident and the stress exerted on your body may result in joint dislocation. The elbow and shoulder are the most common dislocation points because they bear the weight of your upper body being jolted.
It is common for foot, ankle, wrist, or knee joints to dislocate during a car accident.
Generally, seat belts are intended to prevent you from getting hurt in an accident. However, if the seatbelt is not fastened well, it can easily slide out of place, causing your joints to misalign. A dislocated joint is noticed immediately due to the excruciating pain.
The force applied to your body after a vehicle accident might seriously harm your body, similar to whiplash. Your spine’s discs might herniate, which would be agonizing and limit your movement.
Your back, arms, and legs may feel numb or tingly due to a herniated disc. These injuries also take time to heal, even though they are frequently not permanent. You may consider receiving physical therapy to aid in your recovery.
High-impact car accidents can result in traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Most TBIs are caused by falls, gunfire, and auto accidents. TBIs are infamously hard to detect and diagnose. The symptoms can range from loss of memory, cognitive function, or physical health.
Concussions are the mildest form of TBI that does not cause serious brain damage. But severe forms may result in death or lifelong issues.
A TBI may prevent a child’s brain from developing typically and may result in an adult needing ongoing medical attention following an occurrence. Each year, TBIs result in 50,000 fatalities, 2.8 million visits to hospitals and emergency rooms, and hospitalizations.
During a car accident, individuals may come into contact with vehicle components that they don’t typically touch. For example, hot engine components or spraying liquids may cause severe burns. There is a chance that a whole car may catch fire, leaving victims with severe burns that could be fatal.
Burns range from:
- First-degree – Minor injury; skin is red but with no blisters
- Second-degree- Burns extend beyond the surface of the skin and result in thickening and blistering of the skin, recover in two to three weeks.
- Third-degree- Burns appear rigid and leathery white or brown, permeating all skin layers and damaging nerves and tissue beneath the skin. This burn takes several months to cure.
- Fourth degree – Reaches underlying fat, muscle, and bone; can result in amputation or death; once lost, the function cannot be regained; appearance is black and burnt.
Traumatic stress disorder
The shock from a vehicle collision can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Every time you attempt to get into a car, flashbacks of the accident may appear as visions or haunt you.
PTSD might hamper your capacity to perform the things you love. In addition, it may cause nightmares, difficulty sleeping, and other mental diseases, including depression.
Car accidents may leave lasting psychological and emotional traumas, even without PTSD. After an accident, talking to a psychologist or therapist is quite important.
People suffer considerable harm as a result of automobile accidents every other day. It’s normal to feel overburdened and uncertain about what to do after a vehicle accident.
The aftermath of an automobile collision may be very stressful as well. You might have concerns about your legal options or how to submit an injury claim. That’s why you should seek the help of a lawyer.
An experienced car accident lawyer can assist you in determining your eligibility for compensation and may offer guidance on what to do next.