Phoenix Accident Lawyers Discuss: Common Injuries in Car Accidents
The annual report from the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) reveals that more than 3 million people are injured every year in car accidents across the country. Car accidents cost the US $230.6 billion, or an average of $820 per person, annually.
Injuries from car accidents are as varied as the circumstances leading to each collision. While some injuries may heal in days with minimum medical treatment or no treatment at all, serious injuries are permanent and cause some physical disability or the other.
- 2.35 million people are disabled or injured in road crashes annually
- Road crashes kill over 37,000 people annually
- Over 1,600 children under 15 years of age die every year in car accidents
- Nearly 8,000 drivers in the age group of 16-20 are killed in auto crashes every year
- Road crashes are largely responsible for the deaths of US citizens traveling abroad
Factors determining injury type
The severity and type of injury a driver and/or passengers suffer depend on their use of seat belts,whether the vehicle was hit from the front, side, or rear, presence of airbags in the car, whether the occupant faced straight ahead or was his head turned in another direction during the collision and if the crash was at low or high speed.
Types of car accident injuries
Car accident injuries are broadly of two types: penetrating injuries and impact injuries. Penetrating injuries are the typical scrapes and cuts caused by shattering glass or any loose object flying about inside the car after impact.
These may require minimal treatment or maybe a few stitches. Impact injuries happen when the driver or passenger’s body hits some part of the car’s interior, such as a knee knocking against a dashboard or a head hitting a side window or seat rest.
Injuries to soft tissues
Injury to muscles, tendons, and ligaments is called soft tissue injury. One of its forms is the “whiplash” injury to the upper back and neck which we always hear about. Ligaments and muscles get stretched due to sudden jerks of the head and neck influenced about by the collision. There may also be mid and low-back muscle sprains or more serious spinal injuries because of the forcible impact. Swelling of the neck and generalized pain are common and temporary paralysis of the vocal cords is also seen in some cases.
Head injuries are either minor or major. A sudden head-on collision may result in an impact with the steering wheel or a side window that may lead to scrapes and bruises on the forehead and head, or even deeper lacerations. A severe collision impact is likely to cause a closed head injury where tissue and fluid inside the skull are damaged and which require immediate medical attention. A traumatic brain injury or a deep skull fracture may lead to a coma and lifelong cognitive problems and also deafness and vision problems which need extensive and prolonged medical treatment.
Chest injuries also happen far too often in auto accidents. These may be in the form of bruises or contusions. However, severe injuries include broken ribs or internal pulmonary hemorrhage caused by an impact and which may cause death. This happens more when the steering wheel collides with the driver behind it. Severe bruising of the shoulders and chest may also happen if the person, in spite of wearing a seat belt, is suddenly thrown forward and hits the steering wheel or dashboard.
Limb injuries are more commonly seen when there’s a side impact. Passengers in the back seat are more likely to get arm and leg injuries because of limited room in terms of movement (though this depends on what type of vehicle they are in). The occupant’s knees might hit the back of the front seats or dashboard (if they are sitting in front) which can cause not only scraping and mere bruising, but also severe sprains and fractures might occur.
Impact inducing spinal cord damage is also common in auto accidents. This results in nerve damage where the patient may experience reduced sensation and control over the movement of their arms, legs, and feet. Acute spinal damage is also known to leave patients paralyzed permanently. A herniated disk of the spine, moreover, may lead to a feeling of numbness or a tingling sensation, pain in the arms or legs and muscle weakness.
Car accidents can be minor, disastrous, or fatal. No matter what kind of car accident it is, you need a lawyer by your side to protect your interests. You should get compensated for the injuries you suffered because someone made a mistake while driving their car.