The Most Common Types of Car Accident Injuries
Most people are aware that car accidents can cause a variety of physical injuries in addition to the damage they cause to your vehicle and any other vehicles or objects involved. Plus, car accidents can be extremely tricky when it comes to placing blame and receiving just compensation, especially if one of the drivers involved was engaging in illegal activity at the time like texting and driving.
One of the many intricacies in dealing with the fallout of a crash is determining exactly what injuries you incurred, if any. You may assume spotting the injuries caused during your collision would be an easy task, but certain traumatic injuries like those suffered in a collision can be difficult to see. In some cases, injuries might not even show up until days or weeks after the accident.
Oftentimes, your body goes into shock during a traumatic event. This is a primal reaction that helps you muster the strength to get away from the dangerous situation, even if you are critically injured. This is one major reason why non-obvious injuries can take awhile to reveal themselves. However, if you did develop an internal injury during your car accident, it will eventually reveal itself in some way, whether it’s the next day or months after the fact.
Identifying the Most Common Types of Car Accident Injuries
Correctly identifying and documenting your car accident injuries is extremely important if you plan to seek financial compensation from the other party or parties involved. In order to accomplish this, you’ll need to develop an understanding of the most common injuries incurred during car accidents.
Whiplash and Spine Injuries
The spine is one of the most common body parts to become injured after a car accident. The scope of the injury depends greatly on the circumstances of the accident. When your vehicle is stopped suddenly at any speed, you can experience whiplash, a condition caused by the sudden whip-like motion of your torso during the sudden change in velocity.
Typical symptoms of whiplash after a car accident include:
- Stiff neck
- Back pain or soreness
- Abnormal numbness, burning, tingling, or other sensations in the shoulders, hands, or arms
- Memory problems
- Loss of concentration
Due to its nature, whiplash typically affects the neck, shoulders, and upper spine the most but it can also have adverse effects on the lower back, especially when left untreated. In fact, around 300,000 Americans who have suffered whiplash become disabled in some way due to pain and lack of proper treatment.
Other spinal cord injuries commonly seen in car accident victims can range from being as serious as herniated disks to temporary injuries such as neck or shoulder sprains. An experienced medical professional can determine exactly what injuries you’ve sustained, regardless of whether or not you feel any pain immediately following an accident.
Brain injuries are perhaps the common injury that results from car and truck accidents. They can also be the most difficult to spot, particularly since some victims don’t experience symptoms until months or even years down the line.
However, some brain injuries – like penetrating head wounds and skull fractures – can be spotted right away by medical professionals, even if the victim doesn’t feel pain due to the shock of the accident.
Another common brain injury caused by collisions is the coup-contrecoup brain injury, characterized by the brain hitting one side of the skull hard enough to bounce off of it and hit the other side of the skull. This type of injury can have varied symptoms that reveal themselves at different times, but some of the most common include:
- Impaired vision
- Loss of memory
- Frequent headaches
- Changes in personality or behavior
- Anxiety or depression
Similar to coup-contrecoup brain injuries, car accidents are frequently responsible for traumatic brain injury, or TBI. Though a TBI isn’t as specific in terms of brain movement within the skull, it is still caused by a traumatic physical event that causes a blow to the head, leading to disruption of normal brain function. Auto accidents are a leading cause of TBI cases in the U.S. at 20%. Most victims that have sustained a TBI experience similar symptoms to those who have sustained a coup-contrecoup brain injury.
Muscle, Tendon, and Ligament injuries
Internal injuries to the soft tissues such as tendons, muscles, and ligaments can be difficult to spot immediately following a car accident. This is especially true if you sustained more serious injuries that had to be tended to right away. These are the types of injuries that are likely to come back to haunt you in the days and weeks after an accident with joint pain, muscle soreness, and decreased mobility.
Leaving soft tissue injuries untreated is a commonly made mistake, especially since most victims don’t see them as particularly serious. However, damage to your soft tissue can worsen without treatments such as physical therapy, causing you to slowly lose your range of motion in the affected areas and, in some cases, rendering you completely immobile.
Skin Injuries and Broken Bones
Though skin-related injuries such as burns are more likely to affect a motorcyclist in a crash than a person driving a vehicle, there’s still a significant chance of sustaining burns through exposure to hot surfaces, steam, or fluids during a collision. Broken bones are also an extremely common outcome of car accidents, particularly if they are more serious.
Injuries to your skin and broken bones are typically more visually or medically obvious to professionals following an accident than other types of injuries, making it easier to immediately include these in an accident report to be used in a lawsuit.
Seek Medical Care If You’ve Been Involved in a Car Accident
Some common car accident injuries are easy to spot right away, while others are not. In fact, your body’s own survival response may make it more difficult to precisely identify what injuries you’re suffering from and whether you sustained any at all. If you’ve been in a car accident recently, it’s important to see a medical professional right away, even if you aren’t experiencing any symptoms of injury.