Each year in the United States, about 3 million people are nonfatally injured in motor vehicle crashes according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. Car accidents are the leading cause of injuries.
In general, there are two types of car accident injuries: impact injuries or penetrating injuries. Impact injuries result from the victim's body-slamming part of the car. Penetrating injuries result from an object entering the victim's body.
Some accidents may not require any medical treatment at all and can be resolved on their own. However, more serious injuries may become permanent if not treated which is why you should always see a car accident doctor.
Several injuries aren't apparent right after a collision. It may take days after the collision before a person begins to feel any pain, even though the damage was caused by the accident earlier.
Whiplash is one of the most common injuries in car accidents. Whiplash is a specific type of neck strain due to the sudden changing movement of the head and neck. It occurs when an impact to the body or head causes the head to move or jerk suddenly forwards or backward, causing the neck to strain.
There is a noticeable amount of pain and tension when dealing with whiplash. Some common symptoms are tenderness, pain when moving the head side to side or forward and backward, muscles feeling knotted or worsening pain with movement.
Some cases of whiplash can heal over time if the accident was not severe, however, others require treatment plans. Depending on the injury and impact intensity, the pain may take some time to develop or the pain may be immediate. This injury can be treated by a whiplash doctor.
Head injuries are the most serious car accident injuries. These injuries vary from severity, some being relatively minor while others are life-threatening.
Impact with a side window or steering wheel can cause bruising and external damage to the head. More severe collisions can cause the brain to swell, bleed, or fluid, and tissue inside the skull is damaged from the impact.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) usually result from a violent force to the head or the body. An object that penetrates the brain tissue can also cause a TBI.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can cause immediate injury and complications that can last far into the future. If not treated correctly, TBI can lead to long-term problems with brain function. This kind of injury is caused by severe collisions, sometimes resulting in permanent brain damage.
A concussion can directly impact the function of the brain. They can be caused by the direct impact to the head or even as a result of sudden acceleration or deceleration of the body. A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury, temporarily affecting the brain.
The most common symptoms of concussions are headaches, vision loss, reduced mental function, head pressure, dizziness, difficulty with physical coordination, and more. These symptoms may take a couple of hours to appear.
Arm and Leg Injuries
Injuries to the arm, legs, feet, and hands are common in motor vehicle accidents. The breaks are typically caused by the blunt force of the crash. The limbs and bones can be twisted or bent unnaturally causing the bone to break.
Symptoms of bone breakage or fractures include swelling, discoloration, bruising, and loss of function. Depending on the break, these symptoms will vary.
Bone fractures tend not to be classified as a serious or critical injury; however extreme cases can lead to amputations of the limb. Moderate breaks need months of physical therapy treatment.
Scrapes and Cuts
Loose objects kept inside the car can become dangerous when they go flying during a collision. Cell phones, books, and coffee mugs can all cause injury to those inside the car if they are unsecured.
These objects, in addition to broken glass and car parts, may cause injuries as minor as small scrapes and as serious as lacerations that require stitches. Airbags also often cause cuts and scrapes during deployment.
Not all car accident injuries are physical. Serious car crashes can leave emotional distress on someone who suffered from a serious injury or on those who witnessed them. Minor accidents can result in serious emotional and mental anguish.
Symptoms of mental anguish are anxiety, depression, guilt, insomnia, and frustration. Studies have shown that even when physical injuries are not serious, emotional distress can continue for years after the accident had occurred.
Counseling and treatment plans for post-traumatic stress disorder are common for psychological injuries that occurred with the car accident.
Injuries resulting from car accidents are unique and vary as do the types of crashes that cause
them. The position of the car, how the vehicle is it, how much force is absorbed, whether or not the seat belt is in use, are all factors on how the body reacts to the force of the collision. If involved in a car accident, make sure to get the proper treatment needed and keep a close eye on the body due to some symptoms not always appearing right away.