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. Here are the most common types of injuries seen in car accidents:
1. Head and Brain Trauma
Motor vehicle accidents are a leading 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 is common in motorcycle accidents.
A person may appear perfectly normal after an accident, only to deteriorate rapidly soon after because of traumatic brain injury or internal organ damage. It may take hours or days for the effects of a traumatic brain injury to set in. This is why it is very important to seek medical attention if you have been in a serious accident.
2. Neck and Connective Tissue Injury
Neck and connective tissue injuries may occur with or without broken bones. 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.
When a vehicle collides with something, especially at high speeds, your head and neck may continue to travel at the same rate. The flying and jerking forward may cause whiplash. Whiplash can cause your arms and shoulders to hurt because of the many nerves in the neck that connect throughout 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.
3. 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.
Compression fractures are another form of 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. However, many people incorrectly dismiss the symptoms as normal aging.
4. 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. Injuries may be permanent. This can mean paralysis from the waist down or 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. The victim may not be able to control organs or perform voluntary muscle movement.
5. Internal Organ Damage
Internal organ damage may not be immediately obvious after the accident, but it can be extremely serious. A victim may have internal organ damage without experiencing pain. Broken ribs can puncture the lungs. 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 a serious auto accident.
6. 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. Broken bones may require surgery and take months to heal. When a vehicle is damaged in the front, it is common to have legs and feet trapped and crushed in the damage.
7. Chest Injuries
Chest injuries often occur as a result of shattered ribs that puncture the heart or lungs. These injuries can result from the seat belt and the amount of impact caused by the collision. Chest injuries can obstruct the airway, which can be a life-threatening injury. In fact, most chest injuries are life-threatening, and immediate medical attention is needed.
These auto accident injuries often occur because of someone else’s negligence, whether through drunk driving, distracted driving, speeding, or another cause. 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.