Car accidents happen daily in the United States, causing severe injuries and sometimes even death. Some of these accidents are unpreventable, while others unnecessarily occur due to someone else's negligence. If you or your loved one has suffered injuries caused by a car accident, it's important to know what to do next.
So without further ado, here's everything you need to know about car accident injuries.
Car Accident Injuries Statistics You Should Know
According to a recent study, at least 2.7 million injuries were caused by car accidents in the United States in 2019. In the same year, at least 4.5 million people in the US consulted doctors regarding car accident injuries. Sadly, more than 39,000 people lost their lives in car accidents in the US that year alone.
Further studies show that the average number of car accidents in the United States stands at 6 million every year. Shockingly, more than 90 people die in car accidents every day in the country, and over 2 million drivers in the United States suffer permanent injuries caused by car accidents every year.
From the above statistics, it's clear that car accidents are a big problem in the United States. The unfortunate truth is that you don't even need to be a driver or a passenger to be involved in a car accident. No one is safe out there.
Besides, these accidents can change your life forever. For this reason, it's always advisable to understand what you're entitled to when involved in a car accident, whether as the driver, passenger or pedestrian.
Common Types of Car Accident Injuries
Car accidents cause various injuries; some are serious, while others are quite manageable. Regardless of the injury, it significantly impacts the victim's life, either temporarily or permanently. Here's an overview of some common car accident injuries worth knowing, including their symptoms and effects.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are quite common in car accidents. This kind of injury occurs when there's a sudden blow to the spinal cord or its surrounding tissues, such as discs, vertebrae, ligaments, etc.
Some common symptoms of spinal cord injuries include muscle weakness, numbness within the chest, arms, and legs, loss of bowel and bladder control, difficulty breathing, extreme pain in the back, head, or neck, etc.
Spinal cord injuries can break, crush or relocate sensitive tissues found around this area. As a result, the injured individual could experience internal bleeding, leading to a slow death. This kind of injury can also lead to paralysis, especially in the lower half of the body.
Back injuries are more common, particularly when a car is hit from behind. The impact usually relocates the spine and other back tissues, causing extreme pain. Victims of back injuries caused by car accidents may experience the following symptoms:
- difficulty walking upright, sitting, or standing in a particular position;
- radiating pain down the buttocks and legs;
- muscle spasms; or
- numbness in arms, legs, feet, or hands;
If left untreated, back pain from car accidents can lead to even more serious conditions, such as lumbar spine strain and paralysis.
Burns mostly occur when the cars involved in the accidents explode into flames. This kind of injury also happens when the victims get into contact with hot fluids from the car's hood or anywhere else within the vehicle. Burns caused by car accidents can be severe, especially if the victim is trapped inside the burning vehicle.
Doctors classify burns under four main categories, as discussed below:
First-degree burn: This kind of burn only affects the outer skin layer and causes skin redness. You'll also experience a little bit of pain, but you won't develop blisters in most cases.
Second-degree burn: This type of burn targets your skin's outer layer and the dermis, the layer underneath. Common symptoms of second-degree burns include soreness, bright redness, a “wet” appearance, and blisters. This burn further falls into two sub-sub-categories: the superficial second-degree burn, which only targets your dermis and doesn't cause scarring, and the deep partial-thickness burn, which changes your skin color and leaves scars.
Third-degree burns: Also known as “full-thickness burn,” it damages two layers of your skin and nerves, making it appear black, brown, yellow, or white. However, this kind of burn is painless because it destroys your nerves.
Fourth-degree burns: This kind of burn is life-threatening because it damages all layers of your skin, including your tendons, muscles, and bones.
Many people lose their lives due to internal injuries caused by accidents because such injuries don't usually show serious symptoms until it's too late. This explains why it's always advisable to visit a doctor after a car accident. The doctor will scan your body to ensure you don't have any internal injuries. And, if you do have such injuries, you'll need treatment right away.
Common symptoms of internal injuries include abdominal pain, chills, fatigue, and lightheadedness. This kind of injury often comes with mild symptoms, which is why most victims tend to downplay its seriousness. But on a serious note, internal bleeding can rupture your blood vessels or cause internal blood clots, eventually leading to death.
Most victims of car accidents suffer broken bones due to the impact of the accident. Some broken bones may require a cast, while others may need more complex procedures, such as surgery. Common signs of fractures or broken bones include deformity, swelling, and pain.
Amputation is usually considered for body parts severely damaged by the crash. Unfortunately, while amputation can save the victim's life, it often leads to permanent disability.
Whiplash and Neck Injuries
Whiplash is a type of neck injury that occurs due to rapid, back-and-forth movement of the neck. Its name derives from the back and forth movement of a whip. This kind of injury damages the muscles, tendons, and ligaments along the neck, shoulder, and back.
Common symptoms of whiplash include severe pain in the neck, back, and shoulders, dizziness, headache, muscle spasms, sleep disorders, and stiffness.
Knee injuries occur when the car hits another car or object involved in the accident. It can also occur when the car is hit by another car or object from any direction. Knee injuries are painful, and in most cases, victims of such accidents are usually unable to walk for days, weeks, or even months.
This kind of injury can also tear the meniscus or knee cartilage if the knee is turned or twisted abruptly during the crash. As a result, the victim will have difficulty walking and may need surgery and physical therapy for months or even years.
A laceration is a common injury caused by flying objects, broken glass, or torn sheet metal during a car accident. This kind of injury often leads to severe bleeding, damaging internal tissues, organs, bones, and muscles.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorders
Some car accidents cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. As a result, victims of such accidents often have a rough time doing certain things as they used to before the accident. For example, some may take years to drive again, which may not have anything to do with their physical injuries from the accident. PTSD affects the brain and may require routine therapy and counseling to manage. Some individuals with PTSD may take a few months to recover, while others never recover at all.