Car accidents can cause a range of injuries, but certain types are more commonly associated with these incidents. Understanding the most frequently occurring injuries can help victims and their loved ones better understand the potential impact of a car accident. This article explores the common injuries that occur in car accidents and discusses their effects on victims.
Whiplash: Causes neck pain, stiffness, and headaches.
Whiplash is one of the most common injuries associated with car accidents. It occurs when the head is suddenly jerked forward and then snapped back, causing strain on the neck muscles and ligaments. This can result in symptoms such as neck pain, stiffness, and headaches. Whiplash can range from mild to severe, and the symptoms may not always appear immediately after the accident. It is important for car accident victims to seek medical attention if they experience any neck pain or discomfort, as early treatment can help prevent long-term complications.
Broken Bones: Fractures in the arms, legs, ribs, or pelvis.
Another common injury associated with car accidents is broken bones. The force of impact in a car accident can cause bones to fracture, especially in areas such as the arms, legs, ribs, or pelvis. Fractures can range from minor hairline cracks to more severe breaks that require surgery. The impact of a broken bone can be significant, causing pain, limited mobility, and the need for rehabilitation. It is important for car accident victims with suspected fractures to seek immediate medical attention to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment.
Back Injuries: Herniated discs, spinal cord damage, or sprains.
Back injuries are a common result of car accidents, and they can range from mild to severe. One type of back injury that can occur is a herniated disc, which happens when the soft cushion between the vertebrae in the spine ruptures or bulges. This can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the back, as well as radiating pain down the legs. Another potential back injury is spinal cord damage, which can lead to paralysis or loss of sensation below the site of the injury. Sprains, or stretched or torn ligaments, can also occur in the back and cause pain and limited mobility. It is important for car accident victims to seek medical attention if they experience any back pain or symptoms to prevent further damage and receive appropriate treatment.
Head Injuries: Concussions, traumatic brain injuries, or skull fractures.
Head injuries are another common result of car accidents and can range from mild concussions to more severe traumatic brain injuries or skull fractures. A concussion occurs when the brain is jolted or shaken inside the skull, causing temporary loss of brain function. Symptoms of a concussion can include headache, dizziness, confusion, and memory problems. Traumatic brain injuries, on the other hand, are more severe and can result in long-term or permanent damage to the brain. These injuries can cause cognitive impairments, changes in behavior or personality, and difficulties with motor skills. Skull fractures occur when the bones of the skull are broken, and they can be open or closed. Open fractures involve a break in the skin, while closed fractures do not. Both types of fractures can be serious and may require surgery to repair. It is crucial for car accident victims who experience any head injury symptoms to seek immediate medical attention to prevent further complications.
Internal Injuries: Damage to organs, internal bleeding, or organ rupture.
In addition to external injuries, car accidents can also cause internal injuries that may not be immediately visible. These injuries can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention. Damage to organs, such as the liver, spleen, or kidneys, can occur due to the impact of the accident. Internal bleeding can also result from the force of the collision, causing blood to accumulate in the body cavities. Organ rupture, where an organ tears or bursts, can also occur and may require emergency surgery. It is important for car accident victims to be aware of the signs and symptoms of internal injuries, such as abdominal pain, dizziness, fainting, or difficulty breathing, and seek medical help promptly to prevent further complications.
What injuries are most frequently associated with car accidents
Types of Car Accidents
Car accidents can affect many types of people on the road, but injuries and deaths are more common in certain types of vehicles than others. According to the NHTSA:
- 35% of people killed and injured in vehicles were occupants of passenger cars
- 27% were occupants of light trucks
- 20% were pedestrians, pedal cyclists and other non-occupants
- 14% were motorcyclists
- 4% were occupants of large trucks or buses
Unfortunately, all types of vehicles could become involved in collisions that cause injury–especially if drivers behave negligently.
Categories of Car Accident Injuries
When drivers, passengers and pedestrians are involved in collisions, they could sustain many different kinds of car accident injuries. However, these injuries are broadly organized into two different categories:
- Impact injuries: These occur when a passenger strikes any component of the interior of the car or is thrown from the car and strikes the ground or other objects. For example, if a driver sustains a head injury when his head hits the side window, this would be an example of an impact injury.
- Penetrating injury: These occur when loose objects flying around the vehicle strike the passenger. An example would be a window shattering and cutting a collision victim
Both types of injuries can be severe, and it is important that all injuries are accurately diagnosed by a medical professional so they can be documented for victims who wish to pursue compensation for damages resulting from the crash.
Car Accident Deaths
Tragically, some motor vehicle accidents are fatal. When victims succumb to car accident injuries, surviving loved ones may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim to gain compensation. Typically, those who can sue for wrongful death after car accident injuries prove to be fatal include:
- A surviving spouse
- Surviving parents
- Representatives of the estate of the deceased
The compensation that could be available will include loss of the deceased’s wages, loss of companionship and support, funeral costs, medical expenses and pain and suffering.
Car accidents can result in a wide range of injuries, varying in severity depending on factors such as the speed of the vehicles involved, the point of impact, use of seat belts and safety equipment, and the overall health of the individuals involved. From whiplash injuries to fractures, sprains and more, car accidents can cause significant damage to drivers and passengers. This guide will explain some of the most common car accident injuries and will provide insight into your legal rights if any of these injuries affect you. Some of the most common injuries associated with car accidents include:
- Whiplash: Whiplash is a soft tissue injury to the neck caused by a sudden jerking motion of the head, often seen in rear-end collisions.
- Fractures and Broken Bones: The force of impact can lead to fractures or broken bones in various parts of the body, such as arms, legs, ribs, and pelvis.
- Head Injuries: Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can occur when the head strikes a hard surface, even if there is no visible external injury. Concussions and more severe brain injuries can result.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: Car accidents can cause damage to the spinal cord, leading to varying degrees of paralysis and loss of function.
- Cuts and Lacerations: Broken glass, flying debris, or impact with objects inside the vehicle can cause cuts and lacerations.
- Internal Injuries: The force of impact can lead to internal injuries to organs such as the liver, spleen, and kidneys.
- Soft Tissue Injuries: These include injuries to muscles, tendons, and ligaments, often resulting in sprains, strains, or bruises.
- Chest Injuries: Impact with the steering wheel, dashboard, or airbags can cause chest injuries, including broken ribs and contusions.
- Psychological Trauma: Car accidents can cause emotional distress, anxiety, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for those involved.
- Burns: Car accidents can lead to fires or contact with hot surfaces, causing burns.
- Seat Belt and Airbag Injuries: While seat belts and airbags are designed to save lives, they can also cause injuries like bruises, abrasions, and even fractures due to the force of deployment.
- Knee and Leg Injuries: Impact with the dashboard or other parts of the car can result in knee and leg injuries.
- Organ damage:
Organ damage can occur due to a puncture wound or blunt force trauma. Organs that are frequently affected are the spleen, liver and small intestine, although any organ can be susceptible to damage. Organ damage can cause internal bleeding, which can lead to blood clots days or weeks after the accident.
Not all damage is physical. Sometimes accidents can leave emotional scars, instead. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a very real risk after any traumatizing event, including a car accident. PTSD can affect anyone at any time; it’s not a sign of weakness or inability to cope. Instead, it’s a health issue that may require medical care.
It’s important to note that some injuries might not be immediately apparent and could develop over time. After a car accident, seeking prompt medical attention is crucial, even if you believe your injuries are minor. Additionally, the legal and insurance aspects of car accidents can be complex, so consulting with legal and medical professionals is advisable to ensure you receive appropriate care and understand your rights and options.
How Much Are Car Accident Injuries Worth?
Compensation for car accident injuries varies depending on the types of damage your body sustained.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average bodily injury claim following a car accident resulted in $20,235 in compensation. A reader survey from Martindale-Nolo also revealed that car accident victims received $23,900 on average for car accident claims settled between 2015 and 2022.
Damages and Expenses You May Have
As mentioned above, your specific injuries determine the amount of car accident compensation you should be entitled to. When someone else causes a crash and you experience car accident injuries as a result, you should be compensated for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
If you sustain lifelong injuries, it is important to estimate future costs to ensure you receive payment for both the damages you have already sustained as well as for losses you will incur in the future.
How Compensation Is Determined for Car Accident Injuries
The extent of your losses is the crucial factor used to determine compensation for car accident injuries. As already mentioned, you will be compensated for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and property damage. But there are certain other issues that can affect the amount you receive including:
- Whether you share any of the blame for your injuries. If you do, under the comparative negligence rules applicable in most states, your compensation will be reduced based on the percentage of fault attributed to you. For example, if you sustained $100,000 in damages and were 10% to blame for the accident, you would be entitled to $90,000 from the driver who caused the accident.
- How solid your case is. The more extensive evidence you have, the more likely it is that the insurer for the at-fault driver will make a fair settlement offer or that you will be awarded generous compensation in court.
- Whether you sue or settle. You will have to decide if you want to accept a settlement offer made by the other driver’s insurer or if you would prefer to go to court and take a chance on being awarded a larger amount of compensation.
You should consider speaking with an experienced auto accident attorney about what your case is likely to be worth and what factors will affect the amount of money you receive.
How to Get Compensation for Your Car Accident Injury
If you wish to pursue a claim for compensation for your car accident injuries, you will need to either negotiate a settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurance or will need to pursue a case in court. There are a few key things to be aware of with either approach.
Statute of Limitations
There is a limit on how long you have to file a lawsuit. This limit is called the statute of limitations and it varies by state. In general, it is between two and four years. You should not wait too long to make your claim for car accident compensation or you will be unable to recover the funds you deserve.
Process for Filing Claims and Lawsuits
You should notify your insurance company immediately after a car accident. Your insurer can help you to pursue a third-party claim against the insurance company that represents the at-fault driver. If your injuries are serious or you sustained lots of damage, you should consider hiring an attorney to help with your case as well. Your attorney can assist in negotiating a settlement.
If you are not able to come to an agreement with the other insurer, you can file a civil lawsuit. You must act within the statute of limitations and pursue your claim in a court that has jurisdiction over the case. An attorney can assist with filing court paperwork. You have the burden of proving both that the other driver was at fault and the extent of your car accident injuries. An auto accident lawyer can help.
Settlements vs. Verdicts
Car accident claims are resolved in one of two ways:
- A settlement agreement: This occurs if the other driver’s insurer accepts responsibility and you negotiate a fair amount of compensation. You will agree to accept a set amount of money in exchange for releasing all future claims arising from the accident.
- A verdict: If you cannot reach a settlement, the case will go to court and your compensation will be decided by the judge or jury. The court will first decide if the defendant should be held liable and will then award an appropriate amount of funds.
Seek Professional Help After a Car Crash Injury
There’s a lot that can go wrong during a car crash. Prompt medical treatment is vital, and it’s always better to err on the side of caution. If you’ve been injured during a car accident, you may need help receiving compensation for your injuries. If this is the case, contact a lawyer who specializes in car accidents or personal injury. Most will evaluate your case for you at no cost, and they can help you get back on the road to recovery.