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Common Car Accident Injuries

Most Common Car Accident Injuries

Car accidents, unfortunately, are a commonplace occurrence, and they can result in an array of injuries, some minor and others severe. These injuries may have long-lasting impacts on the health and well-being of those involved. The spectrum of car accident injuries is vast, ranging from minor scratches and bruises to serious conditions requiring immediate medical attention.

You Deserve Legal Assistance

If you have been unfortunate enough to sustain injuries in a car accident, it is crucial to seek the appropriate legal counsel to ensure your rights are protected. The law firm of Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci specializes in personal injury law and has extensive experience in dealing with car accident cases. Our dedicated team of car accident lawyers is committed to fighting for the compensation you deserve, helping you navigate the complexities of the legal process with confidence and ease.

Contact our team today for a free consultation.

crutches laying propped up on the couch, owned by a car crash victim who needed emergency medical services

Car Accident Injury Statistics

Every year, car crashes contribute significantly to injury and death statistics worldwide. In the United States alone, approximately 3 million people are injured in car accidents annually, according to data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). What’s more, two million drivers experience permanent injuries each year. These numbers underscore the critical need for road safety measures and efficient legal support for victims to help them cope with the aftermath of such accidents.

The Most Common Injuries Caused by Car Accidents

Bruising

Bruising is a common injury suffered by individuals involved in motor vehicle accidents. A bruise, also known as a contusion, occurs when small blood vessels, or capillaries, under the skin break due to the impact of a blunt force. This results in visible discoloration of the skin, which can range from red and purple to black and blue. While bruising is generally not life-threatening, it can be painful and may take several days to weeks to heal, depending on the severity. If the bruise is unusually large, or if pain and swelling persist, it is advisable to seek medical attention as it could be indicative of a more serious underlying injury.

Whiplash

Whiplash is another common injury resulting from car accidents, particularly rear-end collisions. This injury is characterized by a rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, similar to the cracking of a whip, hence the term ‘whiplash.’ The sudden, forceful movement can cause damage to the bones in the neck, discs between the bones, muscles, nerves, and other tissues of the neck. Symptoms of whiplash may include neck pain or stiffness, headaches, dizziness, and even memory problems or depression in some cases. While whiplash is often considered a relatively minor injury, it can lead to prolonged periods of pain and other issues  , and its effects can be long-lasting or even permanent in some  instances. Medical attention should be sought as soon as possible following an accident, especially if symptoms of whiplash are present.

Brain Injuries

Brain or head injuries are serious consequences that can occur in car accidents, often resulting from a violent jolt or impact to the head. These injuries can range from mild concussions to severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Symptoms might appear immediately or may take days or weeks to manifest. They include headaches, confusion, dizziness, blurred vision, and difficulties with concentration, memory, balance, and coordination. More severe cases of traumatic brain injury can result in prolonged loss of consciousness, seizures, profound confusion, slurred speech, and even coma or other disorders of consciousness.

A head injury is not to be taken lightly. Due to their potentially life-altering implications, it is imperative to seek immediate medical attention if a brain injury is suspected after a car accident.

Chest Injuries

Chest injuries are another common aftermath of car accidents. These often occur due to a  sudden forceful impact against the steering wheel or tightening of the seat belt at the moment of the collision. Chest injuries can range from contusions or bruises to more serious injuries like fractures of the ribs and sternum. In extreme cases, these injuries can lead to internal damage affecting the heart, lungs, and other organs within the chest cavity. Symptoms may include difficulty breathing, pain in the chest area, or visible bruising and swelling. Given the possible severity and complications of chest injuries, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention following a car accident, especially if any of these symptoms are present.

Burns

Burns are yet another potential injury in the aftermath of a car accident, particularly if the collision involves a fire or an explosion. They can range from minor superficial burns, which affect only the outer layer of the skin, to severe third-degree burns, which extend into the deeper tissues and can cause permanent tissue damage. Symptoms of burns may include redness, peeling, blistering, swelling, and severe pain. In extreme cases, burns can lead to shock, infection, and other serious complications. Due to the risk of infection and the potential for long-term scarring and disfigurement, any burn sustained in a car accident should be evaluated and treated by a medical professional immediately.

Back and Spinal Cord Injuries

Back injuries are frequently reported by victims of car accidents. The impact of a collision can lead to various types of back injuries, including sprains, strains, herniated discs, and fractures, all of which can result in long-term pain and disability. These injuries can occur anywhere along the spine, from the neck (cervical spine) down to the lower back (lumbar spine). Symptoms can range from localized pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion, to more severe symptoms like radiating pain, numbness, or weakness in the limbs in case of nerve involvement. In some cases, the symptoms of a back injury may not appear immediately after the accident and can take days or even weeks to manifest. Therefore, it’s essential to seek medical attention after a car accident, even if you feel fine initially, to rule out any potential back injuries.

man with spinal injuries resulting from a car accident, doctor looking at his spine on a table

Soft Tissue Injuries

This type of injury involves damage to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons throughout the body. These injuries are common in car accidents due to the impact and sudden movements involved. One of the most common types of soft tissue injuries is “whiplash,” which we have previously discussed. Other soft tissue injuries can include sprains, strains, and contusions. Symptoms of soft tissue injuries can include pain, swelling, bruising, and loss of function. In many cases, symptoms of these injuries may not appear immediately and can take hours, days, or even weeks to manifest. Therefore, seeking medical attention immediately following a car accident can help identify and treat these injuries early, potentially preventing long-term complications.

Internal Bleeding

Internal bleeding is a serious medical condition that can occur after a car accident, typically resulting from blunt force trauma that damages blood vessels within the body. It involves loss of blood that occurs inside the body, making it less noticeable than external wounds, but can be just as dangerous, if not more so. Symptoms of internal bleeding may not be immediately apparent and can develop hours or even days after the accident. They may include pain and swelling in the abdomen, lightheadedness, dizziness, or a drop in blood pressure. In severe cases, internal bleeding can lead to shock or organ failure, both of which can be life-threatening. Therefore, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention after a car accident, especially if there’s any suspicion of internal bleeding.

Broken Bones

Broken bones or fractures are common car accident injuries. These injuries can range from minor fractures that require minimal treatment to severe breaks that may necessitate surgery or long-term rehabilitation. The sudden force of a collision can cause the occupants of a  vehicle to be thrown against the interior, leading to potential fractures of the arms, legs, ribs, or even the skull. Symptoms of a broken bone include intense pain, swelling, bruising, and an inability to move the affected limb. In severe cases, the broken bone may even pierce the skin, a condition known as an open or compound fracture. Broken ribs can be especially dangerous as they can lead to further complications like punctured organs or difficulty breathing. Therefore, seeking prompt medical attention after a car accident is crucial in identifying and treating any potential fractures.

Given the potential for long-term complications and the need for proper healing, it’s essential to seek immediate medical treatment if a broken bone is suspected after a car accident.

Arm and Leg Injuries

Arm and leg injuries are also frequent outcomes of car accidents. These injuries can manifest in numerous forms, ranging from simple bruises and sprains to severe fractures and even amputations in the most extreme cases. The sudden impact during a collision can cause occupants to be jolted forcefully, leading to potential harm to the arms and legs. In less severe cases, symptoms may include pain, swelling, or difficulty moving the affected limb. However, more serious injuries could result in visible deformities, intense pain, and an inability to use the limb. It is essential to seek immediate medical attention if any arm or leg injury is suspected following a car accident to prevent further complications and to initiate appropriate treatment as soon as possible.

Organ Damage

Car accidents can often result in substantial internal injuries, including organ damage. These types of injuries can be life-threatening if not identified and treated promptly. The force of impact in a car accident can cause the body to be jolted or thrown, leading to the potential for organs to be punctured, bruised, or ruptured. Organs are particularly vulnerable to damage, including the lungs, heart, liver, spleen, and kidneys. Symptoms of organ damage can vary greatly depending on the organ involved and the severity of the injury but may include pain, swelling, internal bleeding, changes in body function, or signs of shock such as cold and sweaty skin, irregular heart rate, and rapid breathing. Due to the seriousness of such injuries, it is of the utmost importance to seek immediate medical attention following a car accident, especially if there is any concern about potential organ damage.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can occur following a traumatic event such as a car accident. It’s characterized by intense and disturbing thoughts and feelings related to the traumatic event that last long after the event has ended. People with PTSD may experience flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the accident. They may also exhibit emotional numbness, distress, irritability, anxiety, depression, and a heightened state of alertness, often leading to sleep disturbances and difficulty  with concentration. The onset of PTSD symptoms can vary – they may begin shortly after the accident or emerge several weeks or months later. Given the potentially debilitating impact of PTSD on daily functioning and quality of life, it is crucial to seek professional help if any symptoms present following a car accident. Treatment typically involves psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both to help manage symptoms and improve overall well-being.

Penetrating Injuries

Penetrating injuries, although less common, can occur in car accidents when an external object pierces the skin and enters the body. These injuries can cause damage to internal organs, blood vessels, and bones and can range in severity depending on the nature of the accident and the object involved. Penetrating injuries can result in external bleeding, but they can also cause internal bleeding, particularly if an organ or major blood vessel is struck. Symptoms may include visible wounds, bleeding, and pain at the site of injury. More severe penetrating injuries may cause symptoms related to the damage of internal structures, such as difficulty breathing if the lungs are affected or abdominal pain if the injury involves the internal organs of the abdomen. As with all types of car accident injuries, immediate medical attention is vital following a penetrating injury to prevent potential complications and ensure appropriate treatment.

person involved in vehicle crashes with an arm injury, holding their arm wrapped in a cast

What to do After a Motor Vehicle Accident

Here are a few steps to follow after a car accident:

Safety First: If you’re able, ensure the safety of everyone involved by moving out of traffic and turning on your hazard lights.

Call for Help: Dial your local emergency number to report the accident and ask for medical assistance if needed.

Document the Scene: Take photos of the accident scene, damages to vehicles, and any visible injuries, if possible.

Exchange Information: Share contact and insurance details with the other driver involved. 

Seek Medical Attention: Even if injuries are not severe immediately, it’s important to get checked out by a medical professional. Injuries from car accidents can be serious and deserve medical attention, no matter how small you may feel they are.

Consult a Lawyer: Speak to a legal professional to understand your rights and to protect yourself if legal action ensues.

Strategies to Protect Yourself and Others from Car Accidents

Adopt Defensive Driving:

Always be aware of your surroundings and anticipate potential dangers. Follow the speed limits, maintain a safe distance from other vehicles, and never assume other drivers will behave predictably.

Avoid Distractions:

Stay focused on the road. Avoid using your phone, eating, applying makeup, or any other activities that can distract you while driving

Use Seat Belts:

Always wear your seat belt and ensure all passengers are buckled up, too. Seat belts can significantly reduce the risk of fatal injuries in an accident.

Follow Traffic Rules:

Observe and follow all traffic signs and signals. This includes stopping at red lights and stop signs and yielding the right-of-way when required.

Maintain Your Vehicle:

Regular maintenance of your vehicle can prevent unexpected incidents. Ensure your brakes, tires, lights, and other systems are in good working condition.

Do Not Drink and Drive:

Alcohol impairs your ability to drive and increases the risk of an accident. If you’ve been drinking, use a taxi service or a rideshare, or designate a sober driver.

Drive According To Weather Conditions:

Poor weather conditions like rain, snow, fog, or ice can make roads dangerous. Adjust your driving to the conditions, reducing speed and increasing the following distance when necessary.

Use Car Safety Features:

If your car has safety features like anti-lock brakes, traction control, and advanced airbags, ensure they are functional and learn how to use them correctly.

Educate Young Drivers:

If you have young drivers in your family, ensure they receive proper driver’s education. Discuss the importance of safe driving habits and the consequences of reckless driving.

Rest If You’re Tired:

Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. If you feel tired while driving, pull over and rest or switch with a well-rested driver if possible.

picture of the front windshield of a car shattered after a car accident that caused serious injury

Your Expert Car Accident Lawyers

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, it’s imperative to get the legal support you need. Our team is skilled at navigating the complex legal landscape that often envelops such scenarios. We’re committed to protecting your rights and pursuing the compensation you deserve for any losses and injuries sustained. Remember, it’s not just about recovering from the present situation but also securing your future well-being. Please don’t hesitate to contact us; we’re here to help you every step of the way.

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