In 2012, one million Americans spent time in the hospital for injuries caused by car crashes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Over 2.5 million people went to the emergency room due to car accidents that year, resulting in $18 billion worth of lifetime medical costs. If you’ve been hurt in a car crash, you may have questions about whether or not your injury is common and if you should pursue a claim. You may feel that your injuries are minor, or you may believe you suffered no injuries at all. However, often those people who’ve been in accident suffer injuries that aren’t immediately obvious following the crash; thus, it’s important to understand the types of common injuries caused by vehicle accidents.
Common Types of Car Accident Injuries
In general, victims of car accidents often suffer from the same types of common injuries, including:
Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord runs from the base of your brain to the lower back. It contains nerves that send messages to and from the brain. If you damage your spinal cord, you may lose the function of your arms and legs, depending on where the spine was injured. Spinal column injuries are those that impact the vertebrae or bones that encase the spinal cord, and damage to these bones can create chronic pain and limited mobility.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
When two vehicles collide, the impact generates enough force to cause the brain to move violently back and forth within the skull. This can cause a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and can result in a mild to severe concussion. TBIs can also occur after a direct blow such as when your head hits the steering wheel or windshield. Lasting damage to cognition and brain function can occur when you suffer a TBI.
Because your body isn’t always able to withstand the force of a collision, broken bones, including legs, arms, ribs, and even the skull, can occur depending on the impact location and force during an accident. In extremely violent crashes, bones can even shatter, making it hard for them to heal. This can lead to a lengthy recovery with rehabilitation.
Back, Neck, and Shoulder Injuries
Back and neck injuries can result due to the force of the impact. The collision rocks the body, including the spinal column, back and forth. Broken bones, damage to nerves, and torn muscles are common. Additionally, it’s possible for a shoulder to hit the windshield, door, or the dash, dislocating it or damaging the tendons or muscles.
When a car catches fire after a collision, the driver and passengers are at risk for serious burns. This type of injury can cause intense pain, scars, infection, and other complications.
If an extremity is too significantly damaged or severed due to the impact of a car accident, it may be lost and unable to be repaired. Amputations can mean re-learning to walk, write, and accomplish daily tasks.
Nerves run throughout the body, sending important messages to the brain. They are also very sensitive. If damaged during a car accident, these nerves may send constant pain signals to the brain, creating chronic pain. The damage may be so severe, the nerves are unable to receive messages from the brain properly, making the movement of limbs, joints, and even fingers, difficult.
Organ Damage and Internal Bleeding
Most people suffer some external cuts and bruises during a car accident, and those are often easy to treat. However, internal bleeding isn’t always immediately obvious following a crash. It’s possible for internal organs to be injured, particularly the kidneys, stomach, and liver, that require surgery.
Facial, Eye, and Dental Injuries
The head is always at risk during a car accident. If your head strikes the windshield, steering wheel, or dash, significant bone structure damage can occur. Additionally, there can be damage to the eyes, injury to the teeth, and other complications.
Knee or Leg Injuries
The impact of a car accident can cause the knees to slam into the lower dashboard or the steering wheel, shattering a kneecap. The ligaments which help you to bend and twist your knee can also become damaged or torn. Because it’s difficult to rebuild the knee, car accident victims can face long-term problems with walking, as well as chronic pain. Injury to the tendons and ligaments in the other portions of the leg can also be damaged.
Call the Law Office of Matthew A. Lathrop
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, the best way to secure compensation for damages is to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. Legal representation can help maximize your compensation, so it’s important to contact a skilled and trusted legal firm. Call the Law Office of Matthew A. Lathrop PC, LLO to learn more about how to obtain the compensation you need and deserve. Our team advocates for residents in Nebraska and Iowa who’ve been injured in car crashes, and we can help you, too.