According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 2.5 million people were injured in automobile accidents in 2015. Car accidents occur every day across the United States. Some injuries sustained from car accidents may not require medical attention, whereas others may warrant immediate treatment or are life-threatening. Car accident injuries vary depending on a variety of factors, such as seat belt use, the area of impact to the car, the speed of both vehicles, and whether the airbags deployed upon impact.
Injuries caused by car accidents can be grouped into two main categories: impact injuries and penetrating injuries. Impact injuries result from blunt trauma, such as your head hitting the steering wheel or side window. Penetrating injuries most often occur due to shattered glass or other loose objects flying in the vehicle at the time of collision. Each of these types of injuries can cause serious disability, distress, and disfigurement depending on the area of the body affected and the circumstances of the crash. Below are the most common forms of injuries sustained from car accidents.
- Brain and head injuries are frequently seen after a car accident. Head and brain injuries incurred from car accidents are oftentimes caused by your head hitting the steering wheel or side window. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) occur when brain function is disrupted by a traumatic event and range from mild to severe. Mild TBIs can manifest in the form of a concussion that heals on its own within a few weeks, whereas more severe TBIs may result in long-term and sometimes permanent cognitive impairment. Car accidents may also give rise to head injuries such as skull fractures, broken bones, or facial lacerations and bruises, potentially causing permanent or long-lasting damage.
- Neck and back injuries, such as whiplash, are common among those affected by automobile accidents. Whiplash is a condition frequently experienced by people involved in rear-end collisions and is caused by a sudden jolt of the neck in a back and forth motion, much like the cracking of a whip. Whiplash can result in cervical spine fracture, whereas in milder cases your symptoms may disappear in a few days or weeks. Other neck or back injuries that can occur due to a car crash are herniated discs, spinal cord injuries, and more.
- Chest and abdominal injuries most often manifest in the form of contusions or bruises in less severe crashes, but broken ribs or internal organ damage may arise as a result of a more acute force. Impact with the steering wheel or seatbelt are the most common causes of chest contusions in car accidents.
- Leg and knee injuries can arise by hitting the dashboard upon impact due to the limited space your legs have while behind the wheel. Bruises, scrapes, sprains or broken bones in the legs, ankles, and knees are also prevalent results of auto accidents.
- Psychological Injuries such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may manifest after a severe crash. In fact, studies performed by the National Center for PTSD have found that roughly 9% of motor vehicle accident survivors develop PTSD as a result of the crash. Other psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety may result from physical injuries that limit your daily functioning because you are unable to perform tasks you once did with ease.
It is important to seek medical treatment after sustaining car accident injuries. Not all car accident injuries result in immediate symptoms. Some injuries may take days or weeks to show symptoms. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. If you have been in an auto accident, contact our office for a free consultation at 401-753-6359.