Being involved in a car accident is a traumatic experience, even if the injuries are minor. But when there are serious injuries (or fatalities) as a result of a car accident, the trauma only intensifies. Where you are seated in the vehicle at the time of the crash and whether the car was hit from the front, side, or rear may determine what injuries you sustain. However, there are several injuries drivers and passengers suffer from most often that you should be aware of:
A brain injury is almost a blanket term for internal injuries inflicted upon the head. They can range from mild to severe, but any kind of a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) should not be taken lightly. A concussion is only one example of a brain injury that can range from minor to major in and of itself.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), concussion symptoms can include headaches, sensitivity to light, and difficulty concentrating, but typically improve and, in most cases, go away entirely over time. More serious head injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents can lead to impaired speech and vision and loss of memory or emotional control.
Brain and internal head injuries can be very serious with long-lasting effects, but facial wounds such as lacerations and bruising are quite common and can be just as painful to endure. These types of injuries are most often inflicted during left-hand turn accidents. Drivers often misjudge how fast another car is coming at them when turning, or may not see a pedestrian or cyclist who is crossing the road.
These types of injuries affect the eyes, ears, and occasionally, the teeth. A facial injury can be as minor as a simple scrape, but other times can cause loss of vision or hearing, jaw and facial bone fractures, or serious dental issues.
Neck and Back Injuries
Injuries inflicted on the neck and back can cause immense trauma to the human body. Whiplash is the most common injury sustained in motor vehicle accidents and can lead to damage in the vertebrae, ligaments and disks, and the spinal cord. In the most serious cases, victims experience paralysis in one or more areas of the body, or even sudden death. When a person's neck is "snapped" as they say, it means the impact of the collision crushed the larynx or trachea.
Symptoms to be on the lookout for that could indicate back or neck injuries include numbness, pricking and burning sensations, sagging arms or shoulders, sudden restricted range of motion, or a bump or deformity near the wound.
In some severe motor vehicle accidents, the victims are crushed inside the car, causing various chest injuries, such as broken ribs or a broken sternum. Although these types of injuries are still considered common wounds, they are thankfully occurring less often with the mandatory placement of airbags in all vehicles.
However, car manufacturers and doctors encourage drivers and their passengers to be mindful of injuries that can be sustained from airbag deployment during a crash. They jump into action at such an accelerated rate that some injuries are actually caused by the airbag instead of the collision. Medical professionals recommend sitting at least ten inches away from where an airbag may deploy to avoid serious cardiac injuries. It is also suggested that small children should not sit in the front seat of a vehicle. If they must, make sure to turn the airbag sensor off before driving.
Pelvic and Abdominal Injuries
Injuries sustained in the lower region of the body are usually a result of either a side or head-on collision and can affect all passengers in the vehicle, whether they're seated in the front or back seats. Most times these injuries are non-penetrating, meaning there won't be any visible lacerations on the surface of the skin, but certain symptoms can indicate injuries to the hips, liver, spleen, or kidneys. The most common signs of lower body injuries of this nature include abdominal pain, bruising, swelling, tenderness, or signs of shock, such as fast heartbeat, pale skin and/or low blood pressure.
Injuries of the feet and and ankles are extremely common in motor vehicle accidents. From strains, sprains, and fractures to severed toes in the most severe cases, there are many different kinds of injuries to this part of the body. Jammed ankles are also quite common and can lead to a variety of other complications including damage to ligaments and joints in the surrounding region. The best way to decrease your chances of sustaining ankle or foot injuries is to keep your feet firmly planted on the floor of the car with your leg bent at the knee. If you are the driver, you can do this to protect your left foot as well.
The physical trauma incurred by a motor vehicle accident can be painful and difficult to deal with, but oftentimes there are emotional effects that set in after the fact. Depression is the most common psychological and emotional consequence following a serious accident. It can be brought on by a number of factors from high medical bills to lost wages at work. Anxiety, worry, fear, anger, and guilt are also frequent feelings victims experience after all the dust clears. If these feelings do not subside over an extended period of time, consult a doctor.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, our team of personal injury lawyers at Dugan & Associates can help you receive the maximum benefits or monetary compensation available to you. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation.