There are many different injuries that can occur when there is a car versus pedestrian accident. Five main and serious injuries are traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, fractures, amputations, and herniated discs.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
A traumatic brain injury can occur when the head strikes a hard object such as the car windshield or the pavement. It can also occur when the head rapidly and roughly goes from one point to another causing the brain to smash against the skull inside the head. Brain injuries range from mild to severe. Mild injuries can cause a brief change in mental status and consciousness. Severe injuries can cause an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia.
A traumatic brain injury can cause a wide range of functional short- or long-term changes affecting:
- Thinking (memory and reasoning)
- Sensation (sight and balance)
- Language (communication, expression, and understanding)
- Emotion (depression, anxiety, personality changes, aggression, acting out, and social inappropriateness)
Spinal cord injuries
There are two types of spinal cord injuries: incomplete and complete. The spinal cord is partially severed in an incomplete injury. The person retains some function depending on the severity of the injury. In complete spinal cord injury, the spinal cord is severed all the way the through. Function is severely affected but the person may continue to have some sensation.
There are different types of incomplete spinal cord injuries. They are Anterior Cord Syndrome, Central Cord Syndrome, and Brown-Sequard Syndrome.
Anterior Cord: occurs to the front of the spinal cord and damages motor and sensory pathways. This injury causes struggle with movement but leaves some sensation.
Central Cord: occurs to the back of the center of the spinal cord and damages the nerves that carry signals from the brain to the spinal cord. This injury causes loss of fine motor skills, paralysis of the arms and partial impairment of the legs.
Brown-Sequard Syndrome: occurs one side or the other of the spinal cord. This injury causes struggle with movement on only one side of the body whereas the other side is not affected.
Within each of these types of spinal cord injuries, there are also different labels: Tetraplegia or quadriplegia (paralysis of all limbs below the injury), Paraplegia (Lower half of the body), and Triplegia (one arm and both legs).
Multiple parts of the body can become fractured during a pedestrian versus car accident. These include but are not limited to arms, legs, back, pelvis, ribs, and back. Where the fracture occurs is dependent on where the pedestrian was struck as well as how and where he/she landed. Fortunately, most fractures can be treated and heal in a few weeks to a few months.
The main types of fractures are: displaced, non-displaced, open and closed. When a fracture is displaced it means the bone has broken in one or more places and those ends are not lined up straight. When a fracture is non-displaced, the bone can be broken all the way through or just cracked but it remains in alignment. A closed fracture is when a broken bone is present but the skin stays intact. An open fracture is when a broken bone is present and the bone has punctured the skin.
An amputation is when a limb (all or part of an arm or leg) is surgically removed to treat an injury. An amputation is performed when there is poor blood flow or the area is severely injured.
“Lower limb amputations vary from the partial removal of a toe to the loss of the entire leg and part of the pelvis. Upper limb amputations vary from the partial removal of a finger to the loss of the entire arm and part of the shoulder.“
A herniated disk can occur anywhere along the spine but mostly affects the neck or lower back. “When one of the cushion-like pads between the vertebrae moves out” of place and pushes on the adjacent nerves. Typically, it will heal in 6 months, but in some cases, surgery may be needed.
If you have been involved in a car versus pedestrian accident it is imperative that you seek not only medical treatment but also receive legal advice.
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