Types of Car Accident Injuries
Car accidents are a leading cause of injuries. Over 5.6 million car accidents were reported in the United States in 2012. Of these, over 30,000 of were fatal and another 1.6 million involved other injuries. The damage they leave behind can be immense. The economic cost of car accidents is estimated to be $277 billion each year - or around $897 for every person living in the United States.
While car accident injuries can vary from person to person and from crash to crash, there are some fairly common ones. This article provides a general overview of common car accident injuries. More specific information for a particular case should always be obtained from a doctor.
Head and Back Injuries
Head injuries are among the most serious car accident injuries. Seated drivers and passengers involved in high-speed collisions can strike their heads against steering wheels, dashboards, or windows. This can cause traumatic brain injuries, ranging from mild concussions to comas and lasting cognitive problems. Often extensive medical treatment and long-term medical care are required after such injuries. Head injuries can also lead to skull fractures, hearing loss, and vision problems.
Back injuries are also common. Any damage to the spinal cord can cause significant nerve damage. Patients may experience reduced sensation of and control over their arms, hands, legs, feet, and other body parts. More serious forms of spinal damage can leave patients permanently paralyzed. Another common car accident injury is a herniated disk. This tends to be less severe than spinal damage or head injuries, but can still cause significant problems. Patients often experience numb or tingling sensations, muscle weakness, and arm or leg pain.
Neck and Chest Injuries
Probably the most well known car accident injury is whiplash. Sudden movement of the head and neck (such as from a rear-end collision) can cause serious neck muscle and ligament damage. Whiplash injuries can differ from person to person, depending on the accident and the health of the person involved in it. Generalized neck pain and swelling is also fairly common. It is also not unheard of for patients to suffer temporary vocal cord paralysis after a car accident.
Many serious injuries are related to trauma affecting the chest area. Blunt force trauma from car accidents can cause broken ribs and collapsed lungs. People with heart problems can go into traumatic cardiac arrest from an accident. Internal bleeding in the chest area can be an immediate problem following an accident. Damage to internal organs, the pelvis, and the abdomen can also occur. These kinds of injuries require immediate medical attention.
Injuries to the arms, legs, hands and feet can be common. Accidents involving pedestrians can see leg and foot damages in addition to all those mentioned above. Motorcyclists involved in car accidents can suffer significantly more serious and more numerous injuries. These can include broken bones, ligament damage such as a torn ACL, and even severed limbs. The fatality rate for motorcyclists is also significantly higher than that for drivers and passengers in cars.
Emotional distress following a car accident is also common. People most often drive or ride in a car with friends and family members. Serious car crashes can leave emotional scars on those who suffered serious injuries as well as those who witnessed them. Counseling and treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and similar psychological injuries is fairly common.
Getting Legal Help
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, consider speaking with an attorney. An attorney can evaluate your case and advise you of your legal options. Those who are injured in a car accident can often recover compensation from those responsible by filing a personal injury lawsuit.