Common Car Accident Injuries
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2006 there were 251,423,000 registered vehicles and 202,810,000 licensed drivers in the United States. With so many individuals and vehicles on the roads, and with the increase in most speed limits on Mississippi Highways, accidents will happen. A car accident can have many traumatic effects on both you and your family, both physically and emotionally. Within seconds, your life can change forever. Being involved in such a catastrophic incident is bad enough, but unfortunately, there are issues that you must address even after things calm down, including dealing with your injuries and medical treatment, if needed.
There are many types of injures you could sustain from a car accident. In some lucky cases, nothing really happens aside from a few scrapes, whiplash and a big scare, but other, less fortunate, incident victims have serious effects such as:
- Amputation of Limbs
- Soft Tissue Damage
- Back & Neck Injury
- Brain & Head Trauma
- Knee & Shoulder Damage
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Cuts & Lacerations
- Broken & Fractured Bones
Unfortunately, amputation occurs as the result of automobile accidents, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence, and many other things. Amputation cases extremely serious, and will affect the injured person for the rest of their life. Not only do they have a significant physical effect on a person's daily life, but they also come with a significant financial effect, too, as prosthetics and treatments are very expensive. That's why it is so important to get a lawyer on your side, to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
Soft tissue damage is a generic term used to describe damage that does not involve any broken bones or visible lacerations, cuts and scarring. Soft tissue damage is often termed as strained muscles, tendons or ligaments. The most common soft tissue injuries involve the neck, back and shoulder. Soft tissue injuries to your body can be quite difficult to treat compared to other types of injuries––there are no broken bones to set, and there is no real surgical intervention that can correct such injuries. the vast majority of soft tissue injuries are treated with pain medications, physical therapy, steroid injections, chiropractic treatment, or various pain management treatments. In some cases, time alone may heal these injuries, but in many cases, you need some type of medical treatment to address soft tissue damage.
Back and neck injuries are probably the most common types of injuries that motorists suffer in car accidents. These injuries oftentimes arise from a sudden back–and–forth jerking of an unexpected collision in a car accident, and commonly result in whiplash. Whiplash is one of the most common types of car accident back injuries. Even in those instances where the victim is wearing his or her seatbelt, whiplash can still occur. Whiplash accounts for more than one million car accident back injuries each year in the U.S. A more severe back injury resulting from this back–and–forth jerking is a compression fracture of the spinal column (i.e., usually referred to as a "broke back" or "broken back") where the forward or backward action compresses or crushes a vertebrae. 10% of these car accident back injuries lead to some long term disability. Whiplash, compression fractures and bulging disks occur most often in rear end collisions, but also occur when a vehicle strikes a non–moving object or gets broad–sided by another automobile. A lot of the time, these types of injuries start out leaving the accident victim feeling a slightly sore, but after a couple of days, the pain becomes acute and in some circumstances, can even be debilitating.
Without proper medical treatment, whiplash injury, a compression fracture, or a bulging disk can cause serious injury to the joints, discs, spinal cord, muscles, nerves, and ligaments of the neck and is most serious when a victim's head is turned to the side during the impact. Whiplash car accident back injuries, though common, are sometimes difficult to diagnose. Symptoms of these car accident back injuries can include muscle spasms in the neck and upper back area, increased neck pain with movement, and increasing pain in the base of the neck. If you are suffering from these types of symptoms, you should contact your doctor right away.
Concussions and brain or head trauma are becoming more prevalent due to the rate of speed car accidents are occurring today. If you're experiencing blurred vision, double vision, dizziness, headaches, problems concentrating, a loss of consciousness or memory problems, seek medical treatment immediately. Also, if you lost consciousness during the collision, even for a brief moment, it is best to advise your treating physician and have tests run to rule out any significant brain injury. Brain injuries are extremely serious, so it's important to get a medical evaluation for these injuries. Undiagnosed brain injuries can lead to death. For a more detailed discussion, please visit our Brain Injury page.
Unfortunately, many people sustain knee and shoulder injuries in a car wreck because these parts of the body are usually the first to suffer the impact. Knee and shoulder injuries can occur when you brace for impact. In other cases, these injuries occur when your body slams into your car with a hard impact during an accident. Burning sensation, swelling, bruising and immobility may indicate a torn ligament or ACL, and these types of injuries can be very painful to treat and may also lead to a recurring medical condition. Surgery is oftentimes required to correct your injuries, and needless to say, is very expensive.
Car accident back injuries can also result in cervical or lumbar disc injuries (such as disc herniations and bulging discs) or nerve damage causing paralysis. These car accident back injuries result in serious and sometimes debilitating pain that is persistent. Pain from these car accident back injuries can occur in your neck or lower back, may worsen with physical activity, or may cause muscle spasms. Some disc injuries, such as a bulging or herniated disc, lead to radiating pain that travels into your extremities, as the inflamed disc presses against a nerve/spinal cord. Not surprisingly, a bulging or herniated disc is often the beginning of a chronic, long–term injury, wherein the victim may experience some degree of pain every day for the rest of their life. Even worse, you could be prone to reinjuring your back in the future due to the weakening of the disc.
Disc problems may respond to non–invasive medical treatment (non–surgical treatment), but in many cases, doctors recommend surgical intervention to repair the injuries for the long term. Regardless of whether you use surgery or more conventional methods of treatment, such as physical therapy or steroid injections, disc problems can cause severe impairment and drastically limit your activities and enjoyment of your life and also require future medical treatment as you age.
Further, spinal cord car accident injuries can cause serious nerve damage resulting in paralysis, loss of feeling in certain areas of the body, loss of reflex function, and autonomic disturbances. Car accident injuries that affect the spinal cord can be very debilitating and can lead to secondary medical problems including infection, muscle spasms, sexual dysfunction, loss of bladder control, and centralized hypersensitivity or pain in certain areas of the body.
There are a number of medical tests that can be performed on a patient who is thought to have sustained car accident back injuries. The most prominent is the x–ray, which can detect certain injuries to the back and neck; however, muscle strains and sprains cannot be diagnosed through this medical means. Your doctor can also use CT or CAT scans, MRIs, myelograms, discograms, electromyograms, and bone scans to determine the nature and extent of car accident back injuries. Not all emergency room physicians will order these tests the day of your car accident to allow time for your injuries to stabilize, so it is important to follow up with your treating physicians if your pain does not subside. Please contact us if you have sustained any of these injuries.
The weakest part of your automobile is the windows and windshield. Often times, the glass in your automobile will break in even minor automobile incidents. Broken glass in a car crash, as well as the introduction of any sharp object as a result of two cars colliding, can cause severe cuts and lacerations. Cuts and lacerations can be more serious than you think, and therefore, you should seek immediate medical treatment to ensure the injury is treated properly. Without immediate treatment, cuts and lacerations can become infected; as such, it's important to take good care of these injuries to avoid it becoming worse.
The human body is very fragile. A severe, jarring impact at a high speed, oftentimes results in a set broken bones. Whether you suffer a compound fracture or hairline fracture, broken bones can cause excruciating and prolonged pain. Fractures, regardless of severity, are very serious and require medical attention immediately. Broken bones should be immediately treated in order to avoid further damage to the bone by improper setting and incorrect healing.
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If you have suffered injuries that resulted from a vehicle accident that was caused by another party, you may be eligible to seek compensation for the damages you have endured. Liable parties may be required to compensate victims for medical expenses, loss of income or earning potential, and pain and suffering.
If you have any questions about your legal rights regarding your injuries or your loved one's injuries, please contact Kobs & Philley, PLLC for a FREE CONSULTATION.