Five Common Injuries that Occur in Auto Accidents

injured man in hospital hallway

Over 4 million people were injured on American roadways in 2015, and many of the accidents involved similar types of injuries. Five common injuries that occur in car accidents include damage to the brain, the spinal cord, the lower limbs, internal organs, and psychological harm.

Fatalities and Injuries Are Increasing Once Again

The first six months of 2015 saw a 14% increase in motor-vehicle deaths. The estimated costs associated with these accidents in this same period was $152 billion. Costs include medical expenses, property damage, and lost wages. Nevada saw a 17% increase in motor-vehicle deaths from 2013-2015.

Of the 4.4 million people injured in 2015, around 2.3 million of those were seriously injured. According to the CDC, Americans spend more than 1 million days in the hospital each year due to car accident injuries.

Injuries To The Brain

Brain injuries can occur during a car accident when the head strikes another object, such as the windshield or steering wheel. The forces involved in an accident can also cause the brain to collide internally with the skull, resulting in traumatic brain injury. Contusions, or bruising of the brain, and bleeding may also occur after an auto accident.

Brain injuries are unfortunately very common in car accidents. These injuries may not be immediately visible when the injury occurred. Symptoms of traumatic brain injuries include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Headache or vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Changes in mood

Even low-speed accidents can result in brain injuries. Symptoms may be easy to overlook during the chaos following a car crash. It is important to seek proper medical attention any time there is a reason to suspect a brain injury, even if symptoms appear mild. Insurance companies may be reluctant to pay for medical bills without a proper diagnosis. A Las Vegas personal injury attorney can answer questions regarding insurance disputes after car accidents.

Injuries To The Spinal Cord

Spinal cord injuries include damage to the vertebrae, ligaments, disks, or the actual spinal cord itself. The spinal cord carries messages from the brain to the rest of the body, and a disruption of this network can impair muscles and nerves below the site of injury. Car accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries.

Traumatic spinal cord injury may result from a blow that compresses, fractures, or crushes parts of the spine. Similar to brain injuries, spinal cord injuries may not be immediately apparent. Inflammation and bleeding can occur days or even weeks after an injury.

Injuries To The Lower Limbs

Due to improvements in automobile safety, more occupants are surviving high-energy crashes. However, injuries to the lower extremity have increased. Lower extremity injuries (LEIs) are often overlooked compared with more dramatic brain or spinal injuries.

LEIs account for 32% of all injuries according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These types of injuries may not be life-threatening, but they can cause severe disability, affecting victims physically and mentally.

LEIs include damage to the thighs, knees, ankles, and feet. Knee joints and ankles are complex, and healing can be very slow. Damage to these lower bones and joints can have an adverse impact on the quality of life. Rehabilitation and physical therapy can be painful, time-consuming, and expensive. If an insurance company is unwilling to cover these costs, a Las Vegas personal injury attorney can offer assistance.

Damage To Internal Organs

The damage to internal organs can be difficult to determine without a comprehensive exam. Injuries to the bowels, kidneys, spleen, lungs, liver, or heart can cause death if not properly treated. Fractured ribs can puncture delicate internal organs.

Blood loss from ruptured organs can be life-threatening. Victims can go into shock as a result of significant blood loss as the body begins to shut down. Immediate medical attention can increase the likelihood of survival.

Psychological Damage

Many car accident victims may suffer from psychological harm, even after the physical wounds have healed. Victims may suffer from:

  • PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder)
  • Persistent or severe anxiety
  • Depression
  • Hopelessness

Car accident victims may feel emotional distress, especially if the crash dramatically altered their lives. Victims may lose the function of various parts of their body, such as paralysis after a spinal cord injury. Severe ankle or knee injuries may make it impossible to pursue their hobbies or their career.

Psychological damage may be long-term. Even minor accidents can result in persistent phobias and anxieties. Psychological injuries are often overlooked, or even minimized when compared to serious physical injuries.

Millions of drivers and passengers are injured in car accidents each year. Many of these injuries may not manifest immediately after the crash. An experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorney can ensure that medical claims are handled with due diligence.