Everyone needs transportation — whether to go to work, do errands, or pick up children from school. Cars, trucks, and motorcycles allow people to take care of their daily needs. Society would be greatly different without them.
Since the United States is so large and sprawling, most Americans own a vehicle rather than rely on public transportation. However, anytime you get in a vehicle, you run the risk of a car accident.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has released its most recent data on motor vehicle accidents for 2019. It found the following:
- There were over 6,756,000 car crashes for the year
- 2,740,000 people were injured as a result of a collision
- 36,096 people lost their lives as a result of a car accident
In a country of approximately 330 million people, 2% were involved in a car accident during 2019 alone. While those who drive for a living may have a greater chance of having an accident due to the number of miles they cover each day, everyday individuals doing regular tasks also incur a risk.
It’s not uncommon for injuries to occur due to a car accident. While some injuries will be mild and take a few days to recover from, others may be severe or catastrophic and require a lifetime of ongoing treatment. This guide will cover the types of wounds that are common in car accidents.
If you’ve been in a recent car accident, you may be experiencing physical injuries, an inability to work, and an overall reduced quality of life.
The skilled attorneys at Morgan & Morgan will provide you with a free case review to determine whether you may be entitled to compensation for your car injury. Contact us through our simple online form to schedule an appointment today.
Types of Car Injuries Often Sustained in an Accident
There are a variety of different injuries that may be sustained as a result of a motor vehicle accident. Trauma from an accident can differ by the speed at which the collision occurred, the type of vehicle you were in, and how the automobile was hit. Common injuries from a car accident include:
During a car accident, it’s not uncommon for glass to shatter or sharp objects to contact a passenger’s skin. The impact of an accident can cause loose things to shift all over a vehicle, and depending on what’s inside your car, you may be subjected to a laceration.
While some car injury lacerations are minor and require only cleaning and antiseptic, others may require immediate medical treatment to stem bleeding.
A cut can appear on any part of the body after an accident. However, you’re more likely to see them on exposed areas that aren’t protected by clothing, such as the face, neck, hands, or arms.
Whiplash is one of the most common injuries sustained in a car accident. It could occur when another vehicle runs into yours from behind, forcing your neck and back to move rapidly in the shape of a whip. Those who suffer from whiplash may need only a few days to recover, while others may incur injuries that require long-term treatment.
It’s not uncommon for those who experience whiplash to also experience injuries associated with the back or spinal cord, such as herniated discs. While herniated discs often don’t have initial symptoms, they may eventually lead to severe back pain that requires surgical treatment to recover from.
Head wounds are another type of common car injury. These injuries can vary from mild to severe, or catastrophic. The mildest head injuries may include small cuts or a headache. Severe head injuries can be very traumatic and result in debilitating, lifelong issues. These are known as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
TBIs vary in severity and length of time needed to recover. Minor TBIs include mild concussions, while the most severe include penetrating brain injuries, where an object penetrates the skull and brain. TBIs can result in severely reduced cognitive abilities, personality changes, and sleep issues.
If the force from a car accident is severe, a victim may be thrown against their steering wheel or car dashboard. Any object that they slam into may cause a broken bone. It’s not uncommon for people to use their limbs to brace for a collision, but the jolt may be so strong as to result in a fracture.
Broken bones will require hospital treatment to set them in a cast. In some cases, surgery may be needed to repair cartilage or to insert pins designed to hold bones together. Recovery from a broken bone generally takes six to eight weeks, but physical therapy may be needed afterward.
The impact of a car wreck can jostle internal organs, especially if the force is severe or your body slams against a part of the vehicle. This can result in internal bleeding, which can be serious if it isn’t treated quickly.
Unfortunately, the signs of internal bleeding may not be immediately evident after a wreck. You may experience some lightheadedness or bruising, but other symptoms may not be as apparent.
This is one reason it’s so important to go to a hospital or urgent care center immediately following an accident, even if you don’t believe you’ve been seriously injured. A doctor will examine you for any signs of internal injuries and treat them if needed.
Joint or Knee Issues
As a result of the force from a car accident, your joints or knees may hit items within your car, leading to potential health issues. Joints can suffer the brunt of the impact during an accident if you use them to stop yourself from hitting other areas of your body against a part of the vehicle.
For example, you may use your hands to stop your head from hitting the steering wheel during a crash. This can result in broken or sprained fingers or wrists.
Knee trauma occurs when your knees hit an object within the vehicle, such as the underside of the dashboard. This is more common when an individual isn’t wearing their seat belt or the car experiences a rollover. Knee trauma can be moderate to severe and require anything from a brace to surgery.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is more commonly associated with military veterans who have experienced war, but it can affect anyone who experiences a traumatic event.
A car accident is one of these, especially if the accident was particularly scary or resulted in serious wreckage or physical injuries. PTSD can result in a myriad of symptoms, both physical and emotional.
People who suffer from PTSD may experience flashbacks of the incident, recurring nightmares, and difficulty sleeping. They may avoid certain places or people and be reluctant to participate in group activities or things they don’t feel are safe.
Those who have PTSD may require therapy or medication. In most cases, people can recover from PTSD, but it may take some time.
Should I Go to a Hospital After a Car Accident or Car Injury?
If you’ve been injured and require immediate treatment, you will need to go to the hospital. It’s likely that a bystander, passenger, police officer, or another driver will call an ambulance on your behalf, especially if you’re not conscious or unable to communicate yourself.
If you haven’t been injured seriously enough to need immediate medical treatment, you may use the time to document the wreck, speak with police officers, and talk with any witnesses who saw the accident.
However, you should know that it is common for those who have been in an accident not to realize they have been injured for several hours following the collision. This is due to the adrenaline effect. Adrenaline can cause the body to shut down nerve receptors, resulting in an inability to feel pain until the effect wears off.
If the car accident was severe and others were injured, you should visit the hospital as well, even if you don’t have visible wounds. You may have internal injuries or other hidden damage. You’ll want a doctor to examine you and potentially perform X-rays to uncover any injuries.
People in car accidents that don’t result in a lot of damage or force involved may not need to go to the hospital immediately after an accident, especially if there is no clear evidence of car injury.
At a minimum, anyone involved in a car accident should visit an urgent care facility soon after an accident, even if they feel okay. An urgent care facility visit can rule out the potential for internal injuries and is less expensive than a hospital visit.
Back pain can be less apparent, and it may be wise to visit an orthopedist if you are older or are more susceptible to back injuries.