No one wants to think about being injured in a car accident, but the truth is that car accident injuries are incredibly common. An estimated 77% of all drivers report having been in an accident at some point in their lives. Car insurance estimates show us that a person files a claim from an auto accident every 17.9 years on average, which means that many people will be involved in a car crash 3-4 times over their lives.
Indeed, the NHTSA has found around 2.4 million people are injured in car accidents every year, and automobile accidents are the eighth-leading cause of death globally for those ages 5-29. These injuries can be incredibly expensive, causing medical expenses, car repairs, and lost wages.
These are the most common types of car accident injuries.
The most common injury from a car accident is bruising, which is also known as contusions. When small blood vessels break in the body, the subsequent leak pools beneath the surface of the skin causing discoloration and tenderness. Even a relatively minor accident can leave the body bruised and sore. Luckily, most of these minor injuries will heal on their own, and treatments typically include ice, rest, and over-the-counter pain medications.
Whiplash is probably the injury most associated with car accidents. While the injury can also be sustained while playing sports or during physical abuse, the most common way to get a whiplash injury is by being rear ended in a car accident. The quick back-and-forth motion at the impact of the crash can cause a sprain to the neck. This injury will typically result in soreness, a limited range of motion, dizziness, and headache. Treatment usually includes pain medication and physical therapy exercises. Some people will have long-term impacts from a whiplash injury.
The spine is a delicate and complex system of interactive nerves, bones, and tissues. The trauma of a car accident can cause damage to the spine that might not be readily apparent and only show up several days after the initial impact. The severity of back injuries ranges widely. While some will heal on their own with minimal treatment, other back injuries can cause long-lasting damage and even lifelong issues. These injuries can be quite disruptive causing work loss and impacting day-to-day activities.
When too much force is applied to a bone, it will break. From minor fractures to compound breaks that protrude through the skin, there are a wide range of ways bones can be damaged in a car accident. Broken ribs, wrists, arms, and legs are among the most common car accident injuries. Most bone breaks will require rest and pain medication. More complex breaks could require surgery, loss of mobility/use of limbs, and long recovery times. Many broken bones will require limits to mobility and result in lost wages as well as struggles to do day-to-day tasks around the home.
Some of the most vulnerable parts of the body are the joints, places where an intricate interworking of tissue, bone, ligaments, and muscles come together to provide flexible mobility. Knees, wrists, shoulders, and hips are all vulnerable to car accident injuries, and these can be long-lasting and difficult to treat. In some cases, surgery could be required to repair injuries to joints. In many cases, the injuries will require ongoing physical therapy and result in limited mobility during recovery. This can leave the injured person unable to employ a full range of motion for lifting or walking and result in limits in the workplace and at home.
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that occurs when the head is bumped against a surface or when the body is jolted in such a way to cause the brain to bounce back and forth in the skull. Typically, a concussion is not life-threatening, but it can be a serious injury with long-lasting impacts. Concussions can result in balance problems, headaches, dizziness, memory problems, and disruptions to concentration. A concussion can be severely disruptive to daily life, making it difficult to drive, focus on work, or remember important information. Treatment will typically involve a tiered return to normal activities that starts with nearly complete rest and gradually adds in more activities over time.
Getting Help for Car Accident Injuries
A car accident can be an incredibly disruptive event. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you are likely facing lost wages, medical expenses, and car repair costs. Getting compensation for your damages can involve a complex web of legal actions, and having an experienced car accident lawyer by your side can make the process smoother and easier to implement. A car accident lawyer can make sure that you have all the documentation needed to demonstrate your losses as well as help navigate the interactions with insurance companies and medical providers necessary to receive a fair and meaningful settlement.