Car accidents are traumatic, terrifying events that can inflict grave injuries on victims. Many of our clients have suffered unimaginable physical and mental pain in the weeks, months, or years following their accident.
If you or your loved one are in this situation now, you are not alone. Below is a list of the most common injuries from car accidents. If you’ve experienced any of these following your crash, speak to our legal team right away. We’re here to help you recover.
1. Soft Tissue Injuries
“Soft tissue injury” is an umbrella term for any injury to your muscles, tendons, or ligaments. Acute (sudden-onset) soft tissue injuries from a car accident can include:
- Sprains: A stretching or tearing of a ligament, usually in the ankle, knee, or elbow
- Strains: A stretching or tearing of a muscle or tendon, usually in the feet, legs, or back
- Contusions: Bruises sustained from heavy impact
Bruising and soreness are common even in minor car accidents. Though most soft tissue injuries heal on their own, a visit to your doctor can help speed up the healing process after such a difficult event.
Whiplash is a type of soft tissue injury that is sustained when the neck is “whipped” forward and backward suddenly and violently. The condition is most commonly seen in victims of rear-end accidents. Symptoms include:
- Neck stiffness
- Pain in the neck, shoulders, back, or arms
- Dizziness or confusion
- Mental symptoms (irritability, anxiety/depression, memory issues, difficulty sleeping)
Symptoms of whiplash may not present until days or weeks after your accident. Following your collision, we recommend getting examined by a doctor right away to catch and treat whiplash early.
3. Spinal Disc Injuries
The bones in your back are protected by rubbery discs that sit between vertebrae in your spine. These discs exist to cushion your spinal bones from impact and damage.
However, your body is not designed to sustain the impact of another vehicle hitting your car. A car accident can cause your spinal discs to herniate, or slip out of place.
Sometimes, this causes no symptoms. Other times, the herniated disc can press on the spinal nerves, producing severe pain.
A certified medical professional can diagnose and treat a herniated disc through physical therapy, medication, or (in severe cases) surgery. You can learn more about the condition and treatment options online at certified medical sites, such as MayoClinic. As always, we suggest speaking with your doctor to obtain an official diagnosis and get the correct treatment.
4. Dislocated Joints
In more severe accidents, the impact and damage from another car crashing into yours can cause your joints to dislocate. Most common in shoulders and hips, dislocation occurs when the bones in your joint are forced from their regular positions, rendering them immovable.
These injuries are extremely painful and require immediate medical attention. Unfortunately, dislocated joints can also lead to health complications for years to come.
5. Broken Bones
The force of a terrible car accident is often enough to break bones. Wrists, arms, feet, and legs (your extremities) sustain trauma in accidents as you brace to protect yourself, causing them to fracture.
Like dislocations, broken bones are extremely painful and will require immediate medical treatment. Your recovery period after your injury will vary depending on the affected bone and the severity of the break.
6. Road Rash
Road rash happens when your skin rubs against pavement. This type of injury usually only happens when a victim is thrown from their vehicle, which often happens in motorcycle accidents.
Mild road rash may only cause scrapes, bruises, and cuts, and is usually treatable at home. Severe road rash, however, can cause deep wounds that result in intense pain and permanent scars.
According to Statista, 189,500 car fires were reported in the U.S. in 2019. The impact of a car accident can cause faulty fuel lines, electrical systems, or engines to explode, resulting in flames surrounding the passenger cabin.
Burn injuries due to a car accident are severe and life-changing. Severe third- and fourth-degree burns may require medication, skin grafts, or even amputation to treat.
8. Crush Injuries
Victims suffer crush injuries when extreme force is applied to a body part, usually when it is trapped between two heavy objects. Complications include muscle, nerve, and tissue damage, broken or shattered bones, and crush syndrome—the body’s physiological response to these injuries.
9. Limb Loss/Amputation
Crashes can also be severe enough to sever limbs or damage them beyond repair, leading to amputation.
10. Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are potentially life-threatening injuries that often incur due to a hit or blow to the head, though even without a hit the crash forces alone can cause the brain to rattle in the skull and damage the brain cells. Motor vehicle accidents are a common cause of these injuries.
According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, symptoms of a TBI include:
- Decreased attention or concentration
- Memory loss
- Changes in your ability to complete tasks, such as loss of motor control, speech changes, or vision loss
- Disorientation, slow thinking, and “brain fog”
Victims of TBIs can suffer from permanent disability or death following their accident.
11. Spinal Cord Injuries
Your backbone exists to protect your spinal cord. The brain communicates with the rest of the body through the nerves in the spinal cord. An injury to your spinal cord severs that connection, and victims of spinal cord injuries are often paralyzed below the site of their injury.
According to Science Daily, 46% of all spinal cord injuries are caused by motor vehicle accidents. Paralyzed patients often face additional medical problems, such as blood clots in paralyzed limbs, in addition to a reduced life expectancy.
12. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) occurs in patients that witness or suffer a traumatic event, such as a car accident. Sufferers experience disturbing thoughts and flashbacks to the traumatic event, accompanied by extreme sadness, fear, or anger. Seemingly innocuous events, such as loud noises, may trigger an extreme reaction in a PTSD patient.
For some, PTSD disappears over time. For others, PTSD is a lifelong condition that requires psychiatric treatment, including psychotherapy and medication. A mental health professional can work with you to determine which treatment option will best help you recover.
For more information about diagnosing and treating PTSD, visit psychiatry.org.
13. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Unfortunately, many of these injuries lead to various forms of long-term pain. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), formerly known as Reflexive Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), is a type of severe, chronic pain that can develop after an injury. The pain typically first appears in an arm or leg and can spread throughout the body. Symptoms can also include:
- Sensitivity to touch or cold
- Temperature changes
- Skin color changes
- Loss of mobility in the affected area
CRPS sufferers can face opposition from doctors and insurance companies about their condition. When you suffer CRPS after a car accident, it is crucial to obtain legal representation so you’re able to access the care you need.
You can find resources related to CRPS at the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association’s website.
Getting Help After Your Accident
Many of these common injuries from car accidents aren’t just painful—they’re extremely expensive to treat. Even when a car accident wasn’t your fault, you may find yourself saddled with medical bills that threaten years of debt.
When you hire PARRIS car accident lawyers to represent you, we help you get the medical care you need from specialists we would use ourselves. We fight relentlessly on your behalf to make sure your expenses are covered, that you obtain full compensation for your pain and suffering and that your life is restored.
Our firm is here to ensure you make a full recovery. Contact PARRIS today to schedule your free consultation with our legal team.