In our article on what to do after a car accident we detailed how you can assess yourself quickly and thoroughly for injuries that might be clearly present after a car accident. However, not all injuries are immediately obvious. Many injuries, like soft tissue injuries, will have a delayed onset – possibly leaving you in doubt as to their origin. Here’s a list of the most common injuries caused by car and truck accidents in 2017.
Neck Injury From Vehicle Accident
You’re already probably familiar with whiplash. Whiplash is an injury caused when your head suddenly moves forward and backward, in this case – due to the incredibly forces of a car accident. Your head is like a bowling ball and it wants to stay in motion with the rest of your vehicle, despite the sudden stop. Your vehicle handles this by absorbing the impact, your neck handles this by holding on to your head by literally any means possible. The result: Neck sprains, neck strains, ligament damage, disc herniation, and cervical spine injuries.
Leg, Knee, Foot & Ankle Injuries
A vehicle can deform in a number of ways during a car or truck accident. As the driver or passenger, you don’t have much of a choice how this will happen, and you don’t really have time to move into a more comfortable and safe position. Broken legs, cuts, bruises, dislocated knees, burns, sprained ankles, hip injuries and so much more are likely to occur when two vehicles collide.
You might assume these injuries would be perfectly obvious, but again, sometimes they don’t manifest themselves until the adrenalin of the situation wears off, and sometimes not even then for a couple days.
Spine & Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal damage can be very serious. Almost everyone knows someone who has had a herniated disc, disintegrating disc, or dislocated disc, and we often see in those afflicted by these injuries a lifetime of pain management and decreased mobility. A car or truck accident can cause physical damage to the bones and structure of your spine in an uncountable number of ways. In addition, the trauma to your spine from your car or truck accident can also cause spinal cord injuries which can also mean partial and permanent paralysis and result in increased medical care needs (and costs) as well.
Concussion & Brain Injuries
A concussion or brain injury can be clear from the outset if there is what’s called a penetrating brain injury – there is a physical object in your brain as the result of an accident. Likely as not, if you’re reading this, you probably know if this is/was the case. However, there are many ways your brain may have been concussed in a car accident and a resulting brain injury might not be readily apparent at first examination.
As we talked about in the whiplash section, your head can move quickly and forcefully in alternating directions in a car or truck accident (front and back / side to side). Your brain is soft tissue suspended in fluid inside your skull. Most of the time, this arrangement keeps your brain very safe. However, just like how your head wants to keep going in the same direction once it’s in motion, your brain does too. So, your head becomes restricted in what direction it can go, by the neck (often causing damage to the neck), and your brain becomes restricted in its direction of travel by the interior of your skull (causing your brain to bang against the skull). This will often cause a concussion, even if there was no blunt force trauma to the head.
Additionally, there may be a number of objects flying around your vehicle during an accident, nearly all of them could potentially impact you in the head, resulting in bone & skull breaks, and brain injuries.
As you recover from a car or truck accident pay attention to your sensitivity to lights, sounds, or other sensory input. Also, take note of difficulty concentrating, reading, or doing other activity that you should be able to do based on your previous capabilities. See a doctor immediately if these symptoms start to manifest, or if you feel queasy, have difficulty sleeping, become forgetful or absent minded, or dizzy in the days after your car or truck accident.
Burns due to a car or truck accident can range from superficial burns due to friction from belts, clothes or airbag deployment to more serious tissue damage from fires or scalding liquids and gasses.
Broken bones in the face including broken jaw, broken nose, broken cheeks, broken teeth, and more can be the result of impacts from parts of your vehicle including your steering wheel, the dashboard, a windshield or window, flying objects, your airbag, seats, other occupants of the car or truck, objects that the vehicle impacts, and more. A broken nose will probably heal in time, but multiple broken bones in the face can be disfiguring, they can seriously impact how you breath, how you eat, and how you do speak. There are a number of ways that facial injuries resulting from your car or truck accident can impact your life.
Not every injury is apparent on the outside, and if you forego medical attention at first, keep in mind that you may have suffered internal injuries, even in seemingly minor car or truck accidents. You could have internal injuries affecting your kidneys, liver, lungs, intestines, heart, and/or other organs. If you have increased tenderness, bloating, swelling, unexpected discharge, bloody discharge, or a general feeling of unease, it’s important to get a doctor to examine you for all potential injuries related to the accident. If you experienced any of these after your accident, you should make note and consider contacting a car accident attorney who can ensure you are compensated for lost income, wages, property, and abilities.
One of the most common injuries resulting from car and truck accidents are injuries to the chest. Often the chest will strike the steering wheel or other objects as they are thrust towards the body (or the body is thrust towards them). Even if the steering wheel, dashboard, or other seat doesn’t strike the chest, you may have cracked, broken, or bruised ribs from your seatbelt. A chest injury, especially with broken ribs, could result in further internal injuries as well. Regardless, a chest injury is going to make you sore for some time and will limit your ability to move around comfortably, and may even limit your ability to work or do other necessary tasks for some time. You should be compensated for this.
Other Broken Bones
Several of the items we’ve already covered include broken bones, including face, neck, back, chest, and skull. However, there are a couple hundred more bones in your body and any of them could break in a car accident. In fact, you may not be aware after the accident that you’ve broken a bone. This means, that if you were in a car or truck accident a couple days ago and you’re just now reading this article and you are noticing a very sore area around a bone…don’t discount the idea that it might be broken. And that broken bone is as likely as not related to your recent car accident. Especially if there’s no other obvious or clear explanation.
Mental Health Injuries Due to Car or Truck Accident
A car or truck accident is a traumatic event. Even if you’re able to move, and your vehicle only suffered minor damage, you’re still likely going to be apprehensive for a little while after your accident. This is a natural place for your mind to go after a trauma. It wants to avoid having to go through that again and it lets you know by doing uncomfortable things with your anxiety, fear, stress, depression, and other emotions. No two people are going to react to the stress of an accident the same way, so it wouldn’t make sense for us to list out how you’re going to react. However, if you are unable to drive or engage in behavior you were previously able to, that is a barrier you need to discuss with a doctor and an attorney. The doctor or therapist can help you identify the post traumatic stress you may be experiencing, and help you to treat it. The car accident attorney can help you get the compensation you need to get the treatment you require for your mental health injuries.