The Most Common Auto Accident Injuries
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that over 3 million people are injured in traffic accidents per year in the United States; this includes serious as well as minor injuries. Many of these injuries are similar in nature as there are certain parts of the body that tend to get injured more often in automobile accidents. According to the NHTSA, the following are the most common types of injuries seen in car accidents.
1.–2. Head and Brain Trauma
Government statistics place motor vehicle accidents as the number one cause of head trauma. Even seemingly minor head accidents can prove fatal. These injuries are often the result of the head colliding with the dashboard or steering wheel or being thrown from the vehicle, which happens most often in motorcycle accidents. Dr. Carmelo Graffagnino, director of Duke University Medical Center’s Neurosciences Critical Care Unit, says that it is common for people to appear perfectly normal after an accident, only to deteriorate rapidly soon after. This is because head trauma often results in traumatic brain injury (TBI), but the person may not feel head pain until a while after the accident. This is why it is very important to seek medical attention if you have been in a serious accident.
3.–4. Neck and Connective Tissue Injury
Whiplash is a very common injury, often resulting from auto accidents. While the seat belt does wonders to hold people in place, it cannot protect the neck, and in some cases harms it (though this injury is much less serious than being thrown around, or out of, the vehicle). When a vehicle collides with something, especially at high speeds, it often results in a rapid decrease of speed, but unfortunately, your head and neck continue to travel at the same rate and are subject to flying forward and jerking backward (whiplash). According to NHS, whiplash can cause your arms and shoulders to hurt, as your neck has many nerves connecting to these parts of the body. Like brain trauma, the pain is usually not evident until later, usually the next day. Whiplash can be incredibly painful as it involves the bruising of the neck muscles. About 50% of whiplash victims fully recover, 40% suffer chronic pain afterward, and 10% become permanently disabled according to the Chaney Law Firm.
5.–6. Back and Pelvis Injury
A common type of back injury from auto accidents is a herniated disc. Discs cushion the spine, and the impact of an accident can cause a disc to break, leaving your spine exposed. Broken discs can sit on nerves and cause your limbs to become tingly or numb. Disabled Word reports that compression fractures are another form of a back injury that can be very serious. Compression fractures are small breaks in the spine that can lead the vertebrae to collapse. This is common among older adults. The pain associated with compression factors includes difficulty breathing. Compression fractures need immediate medical attention, but often don’t receive it as people mistake the symptoms for normal signs of aging.
7. Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries are on the top of the list for seriousness, right along with brain trauma. When the spinal cord becomes permanently damaged, the person becomes paralyzed. This can mean paralysis from the waist down to the chest down, depending on where the cord is damaged. The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that communicates directly to the brain. When these nerves become damaged–often through motor vehicle accidents–the brain can no longer tell the limbs how to function.
8. Internal Organ Damage
An internal organ injury is another type of injury that may not manifest itself through the pain until some time after the accident. Broken ribs can puncture lungs, and spleens can tear as a result of auto accidents. People usually seek medical attention after they experience the side effects of collapsed lungs, ruptured spleens, or kidney and liver damage. At this point, it can often be too late to completely fix the problem. This is why it is important to be fully examined after serious auto accidents.
9. Limb Injuries
Limb injuries can include damage to the knees, feet, toes, arms, or legs. The legs and feet are especially vulnerable in car accidents due to their location in the vehicle. When a vehicle is damaged in the front, it is common to have legs and feet trapped and crushed in the damage.
10. Chest Injuries
Chest injuries often occur as a result of shattered ribs that puncture the heart or lungs. These can result from the seat belt and the amount of impact caused by the collision. Chest injuries can also obstruct the airway, a life-threatening injury. In fact, most chest injuries are life-threatening and immediate medical attention is needed. These auto accident injuries very often occur because of someone else’s negligence, whether through drunk driving, distracted driving, or speeding. If you have been injured in an auto accident, medical bills can pile up. Christensen & Hymas specializes in personal injury cases and can help you receive compensation for your injuries. Please call us at 801-506-0800 for a free consultation.
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