Brian White | October 13, 2020 | Auto Accidents
Millions of people are injured in car accidents each year in the United States. During 2019, 15,843 people sustained serious injuries in Texas car crashes. There were 166,628 possible injuries in car accidents that year, and over 93,000 unknown injuries.
Car accident injuries vary greatly. Some individuals walk away from a motor vehicle accident with no injuries or minor injuries. Other individuals sustain catastrophic injuries and life-threatening injuries.
When a negligent driver causes a car accident, that driver can be held liable for damages caused by the crash. If a defective product was a factor in the accident, a car company or parts manufacturer could share liability for damages. Identifying the party responsible for the cause of the crash is a critical step in recovering compensation for injuries.
However, documenting injuries is also an essential step in the personal injury claims process. You must have evidence that the car accident caused your injuries to recover money for a claim. Therefore, it is best for your health and injury claim to seek immediate medical treatment after a car accident.
Common Types of Car Accident Injuries
It is impossible to list all types of injuries that a person might sustain in an automobile accident. However, below are some of the most common types of car accident injuries that people sustain during a collision.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) range from mild concussions to severe brain trauma. Concussions can heal on their own, but some people could suffer from long-term impairments. A severe TBI can result in permanent disabilities, including cognitive, emotional, and physical impairments.
Brain injuries can occur when a person’s head strikes another object or an object penetrates the skull during a crash. Common brain injuries caused by car crashes include:
- Coup Contrecoup brain injury
- Skull fractures
- Diffuse Axonal injury
- Bleeding of the brain
- Bruising (contusions) and swelling of the brain
- Traumatic brain injury
- Penetrating head injury
A person does not need to hit their head to suffer a traumatic brain injury in a car accident. Whiplash can cause brain injury. The brain can move violently within the skull causing damage to multiple areas of the brain as it strikes the skull.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries can cause partial and total paralysis. Even minor spinal cord injuries can result in loss of motion and sensation. A person who sustains a spinal cord injury faces a significant decrease in their quality of life.
The cost of a spinal cord injury can be extremely high. Over a person’s lifetime, the loss of wages, personal care, and medical care can total millions of dollars.
Neck and Back Injuries
Injuries to the neck and back are also common in car accidents. A person’s body can twist violently during a collision, including rear-end crashes and side-impact accidents. In some cases, the person could be thrown from the vehicle, which is common in head-on crashes.
Common neck and back injuries caused by car accidents include:
- Brain stem injuries
- Broken vertebrae
- Herniated discs
- Cervical fractures
- Back and neck strains
An injury to the neck or back can cause chronic pain and limited range of motion. Some injuries to the back and neck can cause disabling conditions, resulting in lost income, significant medical bills, and decreases in the enjoyment of life.
Internal Organ Damage
Damage to the lungs, kidneys, heart, liver, bladder, and other internal organs can be devastating. The loss of bodily function can result in ongoing medical treatment. In many cases, damage to internal organs can be life-threatening.
Internal organ damage can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms might be confused with aches and pains associated with being in a crash. If an accident victim experiences pain or other unexplained symptoms, they should see a doctor immediately. A variety of diagnostic tests and imaging tests can identify internal organ damage after a car accident.
Broken Bones and Fractures
A collision can cause multiple fractures and broken bones. A victim can be crushed within the vehicle or trapped between the steering column and the seat. Even when the person is wearing a seatbelt, the person could sustain broken bones and fractures.
Broken bones might require surgery to repair the damage. A surgeon may need to insert a rod, plate, screws, and pins to stabilize the bone or joint. Intense physical therapy might be required to help the person learn to walk or function again after a broken bone or fracture.
In some cases, fractures and broken bones could result in impairments. A person could have a higher risk of developing arthritis and other conditions later in life because of a broken bone.
Emotional and Mental Trauma
A car accident can result in debilitating psychological injuries. An accident can be very traumatic for the people involved in the crash. Some individuals develop long-term emotional and psychological conditions because of the crash and their injuries.
Common psychological injuries caused by car accidents include, but are not limited to:
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Night terrors
- Emotional distress
If psychological injuries are not treated, the conditions could worsen. A person could suffer severe consequences, including problems with work, school, personal relationships, and social disorders.
What Should You Do if You are Injured in a Car Accident?
If a car accident causes injuries to you or a family member, it is important to take care of your physical and emotional health. Seeking medical treatment is the best way to take care of your needs and wellbeing. However, you also want to protect your legal rights.
You could be entitled to compensation for a variety of damages after a car wreck, including:
- Past and future cost of medical treatment and care
- Past and future cost of personal care and in-home health care
- Loss of benefits, salaries, wages, and other income
- A decrease in your earning potential because of permanent impairments
- Disfigurement, scarring, and disabilities
- Loss of quality of life or enjoyment of life
- Physical suffering and pain
- Mental and emotional distress and trauma
- Other out-of-pocket financial losses
- Wrongful death benefits
As soon as possible, contact a car accident lawyer to discuss your case. The other driver’s insurance company might pressure you to accept a quick settlement for your personal injury claim. However, a quick settlement is often for an amount that is lower than the actual value of the injury claim.
Instead, talk with a lawyer before you agree to a settlement, sign any forms for the insurance company, or provide a statement regarding the accident or your injuries. A lawyer works to protect your best interests by fighting for maximum compensation for car accident injuries.