What Are the Most Common Car Accident Injuries?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 1,430 traffic fatalities in Georgia in 2015. This was a significant increase from 1,164 fatalities the previous year. Most car accidents are preventable and stem from negligence such as driver distraction. Car accidents are a major cause of injuries around the United States, leading to hundreds of thousands of hospital visits every year. While car accident injuries vary case-to- case, there are common injuries physicians see after many vehicle collisions – six of the most common can be found below. If you or somebody you love suffered any of the following injuries after an crash caused by a negligent driver, consider speaking with an experienced Atlanta car accident attorney.
Head and Brain Injuries
In a car accident, the head may come into contact with other objects in or outside of the vehicle. These can include the windows, windshield, steering wheel, dash, or the pavement in a motorcycle crash. Blunt force trauma to the head can result in closed head injuries, which can span from mild concussions to major traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). In these cases, the brain can strike the inside of the skull and cause swelling, bleeding, or damage to the tissues inside the skull. Every brain injury is different. Some TBIs result in temporary confusion and dizziness, while others can lead to permanent brain damage and death.
The gravitational forces in a car accident, such as sudden stops or spinning, can cause the head and neck to move in unnatural ways. This can lead to soft tissue damage, one of the most common types of car accident injuries. Whiplash is a form of soft tissue damage in the neck, where the collision causes the muscles and ligaments to stretch too far. Whiplash and neck strain are minor injuries that can cause weeks or months of pain, while more serious neck injuries such as cervical radiculopathy are nerve disorders that may be permanent.
Back and Spinal Cord Injuries
Some of the most serious injuries that can occur in a car accident are back and spinal cord injuries (SCIs). The impact of a collision can create torque that impacts the driver and passengers, causing back injuries such as fractures, strains, sprains, or disc injuries. The spine can suffer injuries as well, leading to serious symptoms such as chronic pain and paralysis. Accident victims may permanently lose feeling and movement in their limbs/torso starting from the point of injury in the spine.
Blunt force trauma to the chest from the steering wheel or other objects during an accident can break ribs and lead to collapsed lungs. An individual with heart problems can go into traumatic cardiac arrest. Internal bleeding may occur in the chest, as well as damage to internal organs. Less severe chest injuries include bruises and contusions. Even if the chest does not strike the steering wheel, damage can occur from the immense force against the seatbelt.
Arm and Leg Injuries
In a car accident, there is often very little room for the limbs to move to avoid impact or crush injuries. In a side impact, limbs may strike against the door. A front passenger’s knees may hit the dashboard in a rear-end collision. Injuries to the limbs in a car accident can span from cuts and bruises to breaks, severe crush injuries, and even amputations. Arm and leg injuries are more common in motorcycle accidents than those involving only passenger vehicles.
Physical damages aren’t the only type that may occur in a car accident. Crash victims can often suffer psychological injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, or nightmares. This is especially common in highly traumatic accidents involving fatalities or serious burn injuries. Victims may struggle to get into a vehicle again or have lasting emotional distress. It is possible to pursue compensation for psychological and emotional injuries after a car accident, in addition to physical injuries.