Whether you are in a minor or serious accident, injury is likely and can result in thousands of dollars in medical bills or even death. The extent of injuries can be affected by everything from the collision’s speed to the angle of impact and even the vehicle you and the other driver are in.
Car accidents can cause both physical and psychological trauma that may stay with you for years after the incident, which is why it is so important to know what to do immediately following an accident to help make the recovery process more manageable.
Additionally, understanding what type of injuries are common, including their symptoms will help you get the treatment you need to fully recover from an accident.
No matter the severity of your automobile accident injuries, you should always seek professional assistance to ensure you get the coverage and financial compensation you need.
The Most Common Car Accident Injuries
While any injury can range in severity and affect each person differently, there are a few types of injuries resulting from collisions that are, more often than not, minor.
These will likely still require medical attention to ensure your body is recovering after your accident, but they typically will not necessitate intensive treatment and a hospital stay.
Minor Car Accident Injuries
Just because these injuries seem simple doesn’t mean they’re harmless.
Watch for symptoms related to any of the following conditions:
Whiplash is by far the most common car accident injury. It’s caused by a sudden jerking motion of the vehicle that causes your head to “whip” in any direction. Depending on the speed of the collision, whiplash may simply feel like a dull ache in your neck and upper back, or it can be a debilitating pain that makes it difficult to move your head at all.
Minor whiplash can heal on its own with time and adequate support for the neck muscles, but it often requires a doctor’s help through guided exercises and medication.
Car accident injury symptoms such as whiplash aren’t always felt immediately, so you should receive a medical evaluation following an automobile accident, even if you don’t feel hurt.
Cuts, Scrapes & Bruises
Minor cuts and scrapes can easily happen if the accident causes broken glass, as well as when objects get tossed around your vehicle on impact. It is also easy to get scrapes from the friction of an improperly positioned seat belt. Finally, bruises are extremely likely from impact due to your body violently shifting against your seatbelt, steering wheel, or door.
In low-speed car accidents, these types of injuries are generally minor and do not require medical attention. Treating scrapes and cuts with antibiotic salve and bandages and icing bruises is typically all you would need for treatment.
However, even minor lacerations can lead to an infection, and significant bruising accompanied with pain can be signs of a more serious condition. It is still essential to seek medical attention to ensure your injuries are minor and will heal properly on their own.
Strained Muscles and Ligaments
During an accident, muscles tense on impact, which can cause significant strain. The sudden jolting from the collision can also pull your muscles too quickly, resulting in trauma.
Muscles may become strained and swollen, and ligaments in your back and joints can get stretched from the sudden movements.
Minor trauma and muscle strain typically present itself as stiff or sore muscles. Because our entire bodies tense up in preparation when we see an impact coming, you can feel stiffness in any part of your body afterward.
In minor or low-speed accidents, muscle strain remains minimal and can often go away with the help of a medical professional such as a chiropractor.
However, joint, back pain and severe muscle pain anywhere in your body could indicate a more serious injury. Muscles and ligaments can be torn, joints can become dislocated, and discs in your spine can even herniate due to an accident.
Even if you or your passengers do not feel injured immediately after an accident, continue to monitor for pain or discomfort for 48 hours and seek medical attention if any should arise.
Psychological trauma resulting from any serious event can range in severity from a tolerable level of stress, anxiety, or guilt to debilitating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression.
It is characterized here as a minor injury because there might not be physical injuries associated. Still, like the other minor injuries listed, psychological pain may be minor or severe.
It is common for people with car crash injuries to have residual psychological stress and pain that may require continuous work with a healthcare professional to cope and heal from the trauma.
Be sure to keep an eye out for severe anxiety or stress after an accident, as well as any sudden change in your mental state, and seek out medical attention as soon as possible.
Serious Car Crash Injuries
Any accident can result in serious injury, especially if anyone is not buckled or if alcohol or drugs are involved. A major car accident can leave you or your passengers hospitalized or worse from head and neck trauma, broken bones, or internal bleeding.
Head, Neck & Back Trauma
Head injuries are always severe and require medical examination immediately. It may only be a minor concussion, but depending on the head trauma’s strength and location of impact, there could be serious brain damage or bleeding.
Generally, minor concussions need a simple treatment, but severe head trauma may result in long-term hospitalization, surgery, and physical rehabilitation.
Immediately following an accident, you may only feel a slight pain in your head, but this can quickly turn debilitating. If you or one of your passengers hit their head in an accident, alert the first responders so medical attention can be administered immediately.
Additionally, severe whiplash and back trauma can cause a misalignment in your spine, as well as herniated discs. These are extremely painful injuries that require frequent doctor’s visits, physical therapy, and potential surgery to recover from.
Head, neck, and back injuries are some of the most common fatal injuries in a car accident. Even when the injuries aren’t fatal, recovering from these can also take years. Some people never fully recover, carrying pain, weakness, or other symptoms with them for life.
Even in low-impact accidents, broken bones can happen easily from the jarring of impact, deployment of airbags, and strain against your seat belt.
One of the most common bones to break is your ribs from the sudden pressure of the seat belt. Broken ribs can result in pain and difficulty breathing, as well as serious bruising along the rib cage. They’re among the most common car accident injuries that require surgery.
While a broken bone is a serious injury, they can become even more severe in a compound fracture when the bone punches through soft tissue such as muscles, skin, and even your internal organs. Depending on the bone you break, it could require surgery and months or years of physical therapy to heal.
Car Accident Injuries that Require Surgery
Herniated discs and broken bones may require surgery to repair and aid in healing, but other injuries will always require surgery to repair and help you heal. In serious accidents, a person can become severely injured and may be losing blood or in such intense pain that they could go into shock.
In this case, immediate medical attention and possibly surgery are needed to save that person’s life.
Internal bleeding, breaks in the spine, deep lacerations, or burns are a few of the frequent and life-threatening injuries resulting from a severe accident.
In these events, the work of first responders and emergency room staff in the first few hours can make all the difference in the lives of those injured.
However, even with the best medical care, some injuries cannot be healed, and automobile accidents can result in fatal injuries.
Of the non-life-threatening injuries, torn ligaments are the most common.
This happens when a sudden movement strains the ligaments holding your muscles and joints in place to the point where they either wholly or partially tear. Unlike muscles and skin, ligaments cannot heal tears on their own, and surgery is needed to repair the tear.
At the same time, physical therapy is often recommended post-surgery to continue the healing process.
Car Accident Injury Compensation
Whether you experience minor or life-threatening car accident injuries, the expenses of medical treatment can quickly become overwhelming. With the right help, you can receive compensation for your injuries, as well as for the suffering and psychological trauma you or your passengers experience from a vehicle collision.
Our team of experienced personal injury lawyers will fight on your side to make sure you are compensated for your pain and suffering or for the wrongful death of a loved one who was in a crash.
We believe every person involved in an accident should get the care they need to recover, no matter how serious the injury. Contact us today for help getting the car accident injury compensation you deserve.