Types of Car Accident Injuries
For most of us, driving is an integral part of our everyday lives. But, we often forget just how dangerous this activity can be. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, there are over 6 million police-reported car accidents each year. In 2018 alone, 36,560 of these collisions involved a fatality, and over 2.7 million people were injured.
While car accident injuries can happen to anyone, they typically occur to people riding in passenger cars, trucks, or motorcycles. However, remember that pedestrians and cyclists can also be involved in a collision.
As you might expect, the type of injury that results from a crash depends on the circumstances of the accident. Relevant factors include:
- The speed of the vehicles
- Where the vehicles collided
- The location of the person injured – such as in the driver’s seat, passenger’s seat, or walking on the sidewalk
- Whether safety devices, such as seatbelts and helmets, were used, and
- Whether the airbags deployed.
Note that if you are in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost income and wages, damage to property, and pain and suffering.
Scrapes, Cuts and Bruising
Now, in many cases, an accident only results in minor scrapes, cuts, and/or bruises. The most common cause of these injuries is loose objects in the car, broken glass, deployed airbags, or other damaged parts of the vehicle.
Because these injuries are not severe, you might decide not to seek medical attention. But, it’s important to note that there is always a risk of infection, and more serious cuts may require stitches. For this reason, when in doubt, it’s always best to go to the doctor even if your injury seems minor.
Whiplash and Soft Tissue Injuries
Keep in mind that whiplash is the most common type of car accident injury. This involves injury to the muscle ligaments and tendons of the neck. The damage results from an impact that causes a person’s head to jerk back and then snap forward. The neck must abruptly straighten and bend beyond the normal range of motion.
Note that whiplash can happen even in low-speed collisions. In fact, studies have shown that it can occur even if your car is stopped and you are hit from behind by a driver going only 10 miles per hour. This type of injury is serious and can lead to chronic neck and back pain, which may interfere with everyday life.
Injuries to the chest area are also common in car accidents. This would include broken bones in the ribcage and damaged lungs. In most cases, chest injuries are caused by the seat belt, airbags, or a person slamming into the steering wheel.
Bear in mind that not all physical injuries are obvious following a collision. However, a victim may suffer internal harm that can be just as serious. This would include conditions such as internal bleeding and damage to organs. Note that studies have shown that the spleen and liver are the most vulnerable, particularly in side-impact crashes.
As you might expect, the head is also vulnerable to injury in a vehicle collision. Similar to whiplash, harm to this area of the body can be caused by the head being tossed back and forth. It can also be the result of a person hitting something solid, such as the steering wheel.
Now, there are different levels of severity for head trauma cases. Minor traumatic brain injuries are commonly referred to as concussions, but the damage can also range up to completely disabling conditions, such as a deep coma.
These injuries can have serious consequences and take months or even years to heal. Further, sometimes the symptoms are immediately apparent, while others can develop over time. For that reason, it’s important to seek medical attention right away if you receive any kind of head trauma.
A medical professional can determine the severity of your injury through an MRI or CAT scan. Keep in mind that while airbags and seatbelts can help reduce the risk of serious head trauma, these injuries can and do still occur.
Arm and Leg Injuries
It’s important to note that any exposed body part is more susceptible to injury in a crash. This is particularly true of arms and legs, and it’s common to see broken bones and torn ligaments in these areas of the body. The legs are even more vulnerable in front-impact crashes. This is because these body parts often absorb the impact or collide with the instrument panel.