Cars are safer today than they’ve ever been. Technological advances continue to push the car industry forward in every way, including safety technology. However, even with all these advances, driving is an inherently dangerous activity. Your soft body is surrounded by hard steel and plastic, and you’re trusting other drivers to make good choices. For those who do find themselves in car accidents, here are 6 common injuries they might sustain.
Whiplash gets its name from the movement your head and neck make during the injury. When you come to a sudden stop, inertia can send your head forward. Your head and neck then resemble a whip with a ball bearing on the end. When you crack the whip, the ball wants to keep going. Once the whip has run out of slack, the ball pulls it, causing the whip to stretch, tighten, and strain. This is exactly what happens to your head and neck in a whiplash injury. Your cranium is rather heavy. As the force pulls your head forward, it is stopped by your neck, causing your spine and neck muscles to stretch beyond their limits.
Whiplash is often undetectable from the outside, but if you’ve suffered the injury, you know it’s there. With such a strain on your neck, you will experience pain. Clearly, this pain will be located within the neck, but it can also extend up as a headache. If the pain is severe, it can change how you move, as you’ll be adopting certain body positions to avoid discomfort.
Permanent damage can happen in a severe whiplash. Range of motion can be limited, and it may be difficult to hold your head up at all.
Your head can make solid, hard contact with the dashboard or steering wheel in a car wreck, causing head injuries. Airbags are helpful in keeping people alive, but they don’t always protect you from injuries. Contact with the bag itself can cause damage to the face or head.
Head injuries are serious and cannot be ignored. Your skull could be cracked or fractured. You may be suffering from a concussion, where the brain slams up against the walls of the skull. Concussions tend to affect the outer layer of cells in the brain, which can eventually heal on their own. They can sometimes, however, cause permanent brain damage and loss of cognitive function.
If a blow to the head is significant enough, it could lead to a traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injuries involve serious damage to the brain. The brain can bruise or tear, leading to brain bleeding. This kind of brain damage can affect someone for life. Senses can become deadened or crossed. Some may lose their ability to taste, smell, see, hear, or feel. People can sense things that aren’t there, like having a permanent taste in their mouth or a ringing in their ears. Traumatic brain injuries can be fatal.
Serious brain damage changes one’s cognitive function. You can frequently lose consciousness or develop a permanent sense of dazed confusion. Sleeping can be affected, either by sleeping too often or too little. You can develop emotional issues such as depression, anxiety, or violent mood swings. Learning, memory, and concentration can be impaired as well.
Depending on the impact your body made with the car, you can easily break a bone in a car accident. Your knees could hit the bottom of the cab, breaking or shattering. Broken knees can lead to lifelong mobility problems and must be treated with surgery, often by implanting joints. To do that, the surgeon usually needs to cut into the bone, removing parts and connecting the device to healthy bone. From there, you will require therapy to learn how to operate your new knees and walk properly. This, of course, is just one example. Any part of your body could be slammed into any part of the car, breaking a bone. You could even break your clavicle bone on a seatbelt.
Within the spine, there are little plate-shaped pieces called “discs.” In a car injury, one of these discs can protrude, or become herniated, and begin poking against the nerves that run along the spine. This causes a great deal of pain to the injured person, affecting their movement and their ability to walk. They could become bedridden from the pain. Herniated discs sometimes sort themselves out, but they often require surgery for the injured party to properly function.
The sudden impact of a car wreck can affect your insides in several ways. You could be shaken and twisted around in the impact, damaging your organs. Vital organs are encased within bone, but when that bone breaks, it can puncture these organs, causing internal bleeding.
POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER
Your body isn’t the only area affected by a car accident. There can be emotional damage as well. When we are traumatized by an event, it can affect our daily lives. Post-traumatic stress disorder affects the ability to handle stressful situations. Loud noises can be too much to bear. People with PTSD often have mood swings. They suffer from depression and anxiety. The trauma causes some to develop a phobia of driving or of cars in general.
TALK TO A LAWYER
Insurance benefits are helpful when you’ve been injured in an accident. They can help cover a portion of your medical bills, but that coverage is limited. If you’ve been severely injured, you may need more compensation for your pain and suffering and loss of income. This is why you should speak to a lawyer. They can review your case and help you determine if you should pursue a personal injury lawsuit.
In a personal injury lawsuit, you can ask to be compensated for your treatment, be it physical or psychological. You may require ongoing therapies and the use of medicines for the foreseeable future. Damages recovered in a lawsuit can help pay for this care.
Richardson Richardson Boudreaux, PLLC has years of experience representing car accident victims. For a free consultation, call us today at 918-492-7674, or contact us online.