Just as there are different causes and types of vehicular crashes, there are also many common injuries from car accidents. In this post, I’ll talk about various factors that figure in car accidents, as well as common car accident injuries.
What are the more common types of car accident injuries?
There are certain car accident injuries that tend to be more common than injuries from other types of personal injury cases. There are some factors that tend to lessen or make more severe, your car accident injuries.
Wearing a seatbelt
Wearing a seatbelt is the single most important thing a driver or passenger can do to prevent or lessen the extent of car accident injuries. Of the 37,133 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2017, 47% were not wearing seat belts. In 2017 alone, seat belts saved an estimated 14,955 lives and could have saved an additional 2,549 people if they had been wearing seat belts.
According to the NHTSA, 90% of car accidents involve people who were wearing a seatbelt. We have come a long way since the days of there being only a lap belt in a car or not having any type of seat belt in a car. It is scientifically proven that seatbelts save lives and most people do practice safe driving and habitually wear seatbelts. But, there are still 10% of our population that do not habitually wear seatbelts and this habit will cause more car accident injuries.
Airbags are another recent invention that have saved many lives. I would think that most people are driving around with airbags installed in their vehicles. Some of the older vehicles may not have airbags and you are taking a risk in driving an older vehicle or car as many of these do not have airbags or even seatbelts. With the increasing popularity of classic cars, come the risks of being in a car accident without having many safeguards like airbags and shoulder/lap seatbelts which will result in more severe car accident injuries.
Type of car crash
There are many different types of car accidents. Some injured victims get hit from the rear. Some injured victims get hit head on, or broadsided or veer off the road into a tree, etc. There are a multitude of different factual scenarios which can cause car accident injuries. A victim who gets hit from the rear will most likely suffer a “whiplash” type injury, but can also suffer other types of car accident injuries, depending on the force and the weight of the striking car or truck.
A victim who is hit head-on can suffer different types of car accident injuries than one who is hit from the rear. Broadside collisions can also offer different types of car accident injuries. It usually depends on the speed of the striking car, the weight of the striking car and the “force of impact”. Usually, a greater force of impact will cause more serious car accident injuries while a lower speed, lower force of impact will cause less severe injuries. But, I have seen elderly car accident victims sustain very serious car accident injuries from a very low impact. So, a good car accident attorney will look at all factors when concluding what car accident injuries have been sustained by his or her client.
The car accident victim may have had his or her head turned or body turned in a multitude of different positions.
In every car accident, your car accident attorney must analyze the way your body was positioned at the time of impact. Some of my clients have seen the striking car approaching and are able to properly position their body to sustain less severe car accident injuries. Other victims never see the car or vehicle approaching and may be more relaxed at the time of impact. There are many different scenarios.
How old or fragile is the car accident victim?
In my personal injury practice, I have found that the older the client, the more car accident injuries that will be sustained. This makes perfect sense. An older client will have pre-existing conditions that can make the client more fragile in a forceful impact. For example, let’s say the injured victim is 72 years old and has a pre-existing back injury due to arthritis. When than 72-year old gets hit by another car, he will more likely suffer more serious car accident injuries than a person of younger age and who may not have any pre-existing injuries.
Speed of impact
As mentioned previously, the “force of impact” or the speed of both vehicles must be taken into consideration. If you are struck by an 18-wheeler, you will most definitely have more serious car accident injuries than if you were struck by a small car or motorcycle. A higher speed collision is more than likely going to result in more severe car accident injuries, than a low speed collision. However, I have seen serious car accident injuries in low impact, low speed collisions so this is not a hard and fast rule. A good car accident attorney will analyze both the speed at collision and the weight of both vehicles.
In my 24 years of experience handling car accident cases and car accident injuries, these are the more common types of car accident injuries:
Whiplash type injury
These types of car accident injuries (whiplash) are very common when someone is involved in a car crash. Whiplash is the forceful bending of your neck and back due to the force of the collision. Whiplash can result in torn muscles and ligaments as well as neck strain/sprain and/or back strain/sprain. According the Mayo Clinic, here are the more common signs and symptoms of whiplash:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Worsening of pain with neck movement
- Loss of range of motion in the neck
- Headaches, most often starting at the base of the skull
- Tenderness or pain in the shoulder, upper back or arms
- Tingling or numbness in the arms
Some people also have:
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Sleep disturbances
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory problems
Again, I personally handle a lot of “whiplash” type cases as they are the most common type of car accident injuries that I personally see when a car accident victim comes to see me.
Cuts and abrasions
When involved in a car accident, some car accident injuries involve cuts and abrasions to the injured victim’s body. There may be flying objects when the impact occurs and these flying objects can cause various car accident injuries like cuts to the face or abrasions to the skin. I recently had a client who was struck from the rear while holding a coffee cup. She was the front seat passenger. As a result of the force of the rear end collision, she banged her tooth into her coffee cup and required dental work.
Head injuries or concussions
Many of my clients hit their head on something inside the car. For example, I recently had a client hit his steering wheel very forcefully so he was taken to the ER and diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury. A TBI or traumatic brain injury can be mild, moderate or severe. Fortunately, he had only a mild concussion or brain injury. A mild concussion can be treated by a neuropsychologist who is a specialist in brain injuries/concussions. My client was treated by his neuropsychologist and recovered after a few months of therapy. So, car accident injuries involving concussions and brain injuries are very real car accident injuries and can be mild to severe, depending on the impact and forces involved. Concussions are nothing to play around with and no matter how mild you think it is, you should immediately go to your local emergency room. Some signs of concussions are headaches, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, memory loss, fogginess and dizziness, among others.
Chest and stomach injuries
Many injured victims can suffer chest and stomach car accident injuries. The steering wheel may be forced into someone’s chest and could cause contusions, ligament damage or even fractures and broken bones. The stomach car accident injuries can be from the force of the seatbelt tightening around your stomach. This type of seatbelt injury can cause damage to your internal organs. For example, I had a female client who seatbelt ended up causing her to have a hernia. The hernia had to be surgically repaired. Therefore, hernias can also be one of the car accident injuries that a good car accident attorney will screen for.
Broken bones and fractures
In some car accident injuries cases, a driver or passenger can sustain a fracture due to the force of the collision. Fractures or broken bones can occur from hitting the dashboard or steering wheel or being thrown into the car door. A fracture can also commonly occur in one’s spine, either in the neck or back which is normally caused by the extreme force of a collision. With regard to car accident injuries, fractures and broken bones are painful and usually are first treated at the emergency room.
During accidents, most injuries tend to be visible to the naked eye — meaning any cuts, bruises, lacerations, bleeding, and other signs of injury can be attended to quickly. However, internal bleeding is also not an uncommon outcome of car accidents.
Since internal bleeding does not outwardly manifest itself, it’s crucial to get checked to prevent more serious problems. Internal bleeding can be especially life-threatening if you are taking blood thinners or have clotting problems.
A herniated disc is another possible outcome in a car accident. It happens when a vertebra (or more) in your spine ruptures or moves out of its position, leading to pain and other complications.
When you try to brace yourself for impact by pushing against the steering wheel or dashboard, you can sustain shoulder injuries resulting from shock absorption during the collision.
HAND AND WRIST INJURIES
Injured hands and broken wrists or distal radius fractures are quite common in car accidents. They may entail surgery, depending on the severity of the fracture.
When the impact of a crash causes your knees to hit the dashboard, it can lead to painful ligaments and knee caps. This type of injury might require you to undergo surgery or use braces or crutches to correct the damage and rehabilitate your knees.
FOOT AND ANKLE INJURIES
Just like the knees, your toes, ankles, and feet can sustain injuries when they get strained, sprained, or fractured during a car accident. There is also the risk of losing the feet and toes, depending on the mechanics of the crash.
SCARRING OR FACIAL DISFIGUREMENT
You can sustain facial injuries from broken glass or the impact of a steering wheel, airbag, windshield, dash, car seat, side window, or any hard material or surface. Such injuries can lead to disfigurement or even permanent scarring and may require surgical correction.
Amputations are not as common as the other common car accident injuries. However, they can occur in motorcycle, bicycle and pedestrian crashes. I once had a motorcyclist who had to have his leg amputated at the knee. The at-fault driver turned left in front of my client and of course said he never saw my client’s motorcycle. It was an elderly driver who had limited eyesight and hearing. Bicyclists who get struck by a vehicle can also suffer very serious and life-threatening car accident injuries. They are not protected by a car frame and their bodies must take the entire brunt of the collision.
POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER
Aside from sustaining physical injuries, you could also experience psychological stress due to a car accident. If you suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), you might not be able to function normally like before, and you might be required to undergo therapy or counseling.
OTHER PSYCHOLOGICAL INJURIES
You could also suffer from other psychological issues apart from PTSD after experiencing a car accident. You might experience intense feelings of regret, guilt, and anxiety, as well as suffer from unpleasant flashbacks that can cause a good deal of mental distress.
These are some of the more common car accident injuries that a car accident victim may sustain. It is my job as a specialist in car accident injuries and cases to find each and ever injury that my client has sustained. I thoroughly go over each and every bit of pain in every part of the body. Some clients tend to leave out injuries or forget about injuries as they do not want to seem like a wimp or complainer.
My advice is to seek immediate medical treatment even if you think your injuries are minor. A trained doctor will certainly find injuries that you have not even thought about. I would recommend that all persons with car accident injuries seek immediate medical attention at the ER, family walk-in-clinic or with their family physician.
Tips to Avoid Car Accidents
While it’s true that you can only control yourself while on the road, you also need to do what you can to avoid car accidents and injuries, such as:
- Always wearing a seatbelt
- Observing speed limits
- Keeping your eyes on the road
- Avoiding distractions
- Applying road courtesy
- Parking when you feel tired, confused, or sleepy
- Ensuring your vehicle is well-maintained
However, if you get involved in a car crash even after following these tips, make sure you get in touch with Allen Accident Law.