In an average year, 4.4 million people are seriously injured in car accidents in the United States. Even if you always try to drive safely, accidents happen to the best of us. The good news is if you’ve been injured in a car accident, plenty of resources and expertise are available to help you get through your injury.
Your first priority after a car accident should be to seek medical help. In case of an emergency, call 911 right away. Even if you feel okay, it’s always best to have a doctor check you over. You may have hidden injuries that can cause real harm to your mind and body.
Keep reading to learn about the most common injuries that people get in car accidents.
While there are many types of injuries from car accidents, the most common one is whiplash. Whiplash from a car accident is the sudden, violent movement of the head and neck, causing muscle and soft tissue injuries. Many signs of whiplash appear slowly and take several weeks or even months to go away.
Immediate signs of whiplash can include neck pain, dizziness and limited range of motion. Long-term effects often include bad headaches, memory and concentration problems, sleeping issues, and tingling or numbness in the arms and legs.
To avoid these problems, be sure you get medical treatment as soon as possible after a car accident. Then a doctor can monitor your body for signs of whiplash and help you heal.
Head and brain injuries
Head and brain injuries are also common in car accidents because of all of the objects near your head that can hit you in a sudden accident. Head injuries have serious immediate and long-term effects on those injured.
Head and brain injuries might appear as open wounds or facial deformation if your head hits something other than the airbag. (Head injuries are one reason why it's important to always wear a seatbelt.)
Internal brain injuries can happen when a quick stop jars your brain and hits the inside of your skull. Brain bruising and hemorrhaging can lead to long-term problems like reduced brain function, a reduced ability to understand complex ideas and memory problems.
However, by seeking medical help after a car accident, a doctor can look for signs of brain injuries to possibly prevent more long-term issues. The sooner you see a doctor, the better.
Sudden trauma to the body often results in broken bones, especially among the young and the elderly. Seatbelts are the most reliable way to reduce the chances of broken bones, but broken bones can still happen if the impact of the car accident is strong enough.
Legs and hips are at risk of breaks and cracks if the front of the car folds up, and arms are at risk if the driver tries to brace for impact or protect their face. Also, the restraining force of the seatbelt or airbag can crack ribs. Be sure you see a doctor as soon as possible so that your bones can heal correctly.
Herniated discs happen when one or more of the soft parts of your spine move out of place or break from a sudden shift. Once out of place, the discs can poke the nerves in the spine, causing much pain. These injuries don't often go away on their own. Herniated discs can become life-long damage if you don't take care of the problem right away.
Cuts and scrapes
Any object that's loose in the car during an accident can become a high-speed projectile. Just imagine the damage a phone or coffee cup can do if it hits you in the head. Flying objects from a car accident can result in cuts or scrapes.
Although generally not serious, some cuts can be deep and require first aid to stop blood loss. Cleaning the cut can stop infection, and getting stitches can help the cut heal faster. Clean the cut and seek medical help as soon as possible to get stitches if you need them to stop more serious problems from happening.
What makes internal bleeding so dangerous is that it's often hard to know that internal bleeding happened if you don't have a penetrating injury. Blunt forces from steering wheels, seatbelts and even windshields can all cause internal bleeding with no clear signs right away.
Signs of internal bleeding include purple bruising, abdominal swelling, dizziness and fainting. Because of the seriousness of this type of injury, it's important to get medical help right away for anything more than the smallest scrapes and cuts.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
PTSD proves that not all car accident injuries are physical. Mental and emotional injuries are also possible. The violence and severity of a car accident can cause upsetting thoughts that can last for months or years.
For someone with PTSD, doing normal activities can be difficult because the individual may try to avoid reminders or flashbacks of their trauma in any way they can. For example, they may avoid driving as much as possible.
Many therapies exist to help people with PTSD from a car accident. Therapy options include group therapy, prolonged exposure therapy, cognitive processing therapy and even animal assistance therapy.
While death isn't an injury, it's still important to know what to do if someone dies in a car accident. If a loved one has been killed in a car accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim and get financial compensation. The team at Accident.com can help you file the claim. While money can't replace a life, the wrongful death claim can give family and friends some peace of mind when dealing with the funeral.
It's important to know that filing a wrongful death claim is different in each state. Depending on your state, you have different time limitations to file the claim. Also, the type of car involved in the accident changes the laws for filing a wrongful death claim.
Be sure you understand your state's laws before starting the process of filing.
Get help now
If someone gets badly hurt in a car accident, the first thing you should do is call 911. After someone has helped the injured, the next step is to protect yourself.
After a doctor checks you over for any injuries, you can contact the legal team at Accident.com. We can help you find the right lawyer to get you through all of your injuries. You don't have to go through a car accident alone.
We offer a free consultation where your lawyer will figure out the best plan of action based on your specific situation. Your lawyer will also file any claims needed to protect the health and rights of you and your family. Time is always limited when it comes to legal filings, so don't hesitate to contact us.