In 2020, 4.8 million Americans sustained car accident injuries that required them to seek medical intervention.
Some car accident injuries require years of treatment, which can cost thousands of dollars. To keep yourself safe, you need to know what serious car accident injuries entail. Here are five common car accident injuries.
1. Head Injuries
In general, head injuries can cause swelling, lightheadedness, and confusion. However, you may sustain a few different head injuries after an accident, and each type has its own symptoms.
A contusion occurs when blood capillaries inside a tissue burst. In the brain, a contusion can lead to a blood clot, which can be fatal. You may develop bruising, a headache, and sensitivity to light and sound.
A skull fracture can result in damage to the brain or severe bleeding. A skull fracture can cause severe pain, difficulty moving, and cognition problems. Your brain may be fine, but the pain can disorient you and make it hard to think.
The skull can heal itself, but you may need medication to manage your pain and surgery to fix the damage.
Even if you have a bruise or a cut, you should get yourself checked out. A bruise can signal internal bleeding, while a cut can get infected. A bump to the head can disorient you, so that you may want pain medication and a ride away from the accident.
2. Traumatic Brain Injuries
A traumatic brain injury occurs when an external force injures the brain. A concussion is the most common form of traumatic brain injury, happening when the brain moves in such a manner that cells tear or bend.
You may experience memory loss, difficulty thinking or coordinating your body, and mood changes. Some people develop a ringing in their ears and have difficulty understanding pieces of information.
Some symptoms may not be apparent right away. You may seem fine, only to have difficulties a few days later. Symptoms can last several weeks, even with treatment.
A diffuse axonal injury (DAI) occurs when your head shakes or rotates, causing nerve fibers in the brain to tear. You do not have to hit your head on an object to sustain this injury. The symptoms of a DAI overlap with those of a concussion, and a DAI can cause unconsciousness and fatigue.
3. Spinal Cord Injuries
A spinal cord injury is rarer than a head or brain injury. But it can occur after a rear-end or head-on collision, especially if you strike your neck against an object. The spinal cord may become damaged or severed, affecting your ability to move and breathe.
In an incomplete injury, you have some level of function below the area of damage in your spinal cord. For example, you may be able to move your feet from side to side or feel sensations with your feet. However, you may be unable to walk or apply pressure to your legs.
In a complete injury, you have no level of function below the area of damage. You may become paraplegic or tetraplegic, unable to move any of your limbs. Rare spinal cord injuries include Brown-Séquard syndrome. It occurs when one-half of the spinal cord becomes damaged, causing a loss of sensation on the opposite side of the body.
If you damage the right side of your spinal cord, you may be unable to feel pain or temperatures on the left side of your body. You may also become paralyzed on the right side of your body.
4. Broken Bones
You may break any bone in your body during a car accident. However, a broken bone may not be immediately apparent because of the adrenaline flowing through your body.
You may notice a deformity in the area where the fracture is, and you may even be able to see the bone poking through the skin. You may have bruising or discoloration if the fracture is underneath your skin.
A fracture can cause extreme pain once your adrenaline levels go down. You may be unable to move the injured part of your body without pain or difficulty. A fractured rib can make it hard to breathe.
Broken bones require immediate medical attention, especially open ones. You may need to wear a cast and get surgery to set your bones properly.
5. Internal Bleeding
Internal bleeding can have few or no apparent symptoms. You do not have to strike your body against part of your car to develop internal bleeding.
If you have bleeding in an organ, you may experience severe pain. As time goes on, your breathing rate may increase, and you may become disoriented. Your skin may become cold, and your heart rate may drop because blood is not traveling through your vessels.
Internal bleeding can lead to unconsciousness or death if it is not treated. Blood may travel from the limbs to the affected area, which can cause discoloration and tissue death in the limbs. Some people pass blood in their urine or stool, which may be the first sign of internal bleeding.
You must get treatment as soon as you experience signs of internal bleeding. The longer you wait, the worse the complications can become.
The Most Serious Car Accident Injuries
All serious car accident injuries are medical emergencies. A blow to your head can fracture your skull or damage your nerve and brain cells. An impact to your back during a rear-end collision can cause spinal cord damage.
Broken bones and internal bleeding are hard to notice. You must get a complete medical evaluation after a collision and monitor your symptoms over time. Any injury can lead to an infection or other complications.
You can get treatment with the help of a lawyer. Coast Car Accident Lawyers serves the Huntington Beach area. Contact us today.