Types of Car Accident Injuries
Car crashes injure thousands of people on North Carolina roads each year. When you’re hurt in a crash, you may have dozens of questions crowding your mind. What happened? Who was responsible? Could something have been done to prevent the accident? How long will it be before I’m back on my feet? Who will take care of my family and pay the bills while I’m recovering? What will medical care cost?
If any of these questions sound familiar, you’re not alone. Many car accident survivors have the same concerns – regardless of the type of injuries they have suffered. At Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., we help our clients answer these questions, protect their legal rights, and secure the compensation they deserve.
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Common Injuries in Car Accidents
About 1.6 million car accidents in the U.S. leave one or more people injured every year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). While car accident injuries can be as varied as the collisions that produce them, here are some of the more common types of injuries suffered in auto accidents:
Head and Back Injuries
Injuries to the head, neck, and spine are among the most serious and most difficult to treat – and they are also among the most common types of serious car accident injuries. If the head strikes an object, like the steering wheel or a window, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can result. Even a mild TBI can cause lingering problems with pain, dizziness, attention, mood, and memory. Severe TBIs can cause permanent disability, coma, or death.
Any damage to the spinal cord can cause loss of sensation or motor control in any part of the body. If the spinal cord is severed, the area below the injury site typically becomes paralyzed. Even if the spinal cord itself is not damaged, injuries to the bones or cartilage of the spine can cause significant problems, like muscle weakness, arm or leg pain, and reduced mobility.
The most well-known car accident injury is a soft tissue injury to the neck known as “whiplash.” It is caused by sudden movement of the head and neck, as often happens when a car is struck by another car/truck or runs into a stationary object. Neck pain, swelling, and instability are common. Some patients temporarily lose the ability to speak after suffering whiplash. And because the symptoms of whiplash take a few days to become apparent, some people accidentally make the injury worse, simply because they don’t realize it’s there.
Broken Bones, Amputations, and Crush Injuries
The adult human body contains 206 bones. Children’s bodies contain significantly more, depending on their age. In a car accident, nearly any bone in the body may be broken by the forces of the crash. Similarly, if any part of the body becomes trapped or pinned during the accident, a crush injury damaging both bones and soft tissue, or an amputation, may occur. All of these injuries can cause severe pain and loss of mobility, and they may require one or more surgeries to correct.
Trauma and Emotional Distress
The trauma of a car accident can cause severe physical, mental, and emotional symptoms. For instance, people with pre-existing heart conditions have been known to suffer heart attacks from the stress of the crash. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other trauma-related conditions are also common after a crash, especially if someone you care about was severely injured or killed. Psychological symptoms are symptoms of a real medical condition. They can be just as disabling as any physical injuries, and they must be treated just as seriously by qualified medical professionals.
What to Do If You’re Injured in a Car Accident
If you are in a car accident in which you or someone else is injured, keep these steps in mind:
- Check first before you move anyone.
If a person is unconscious, cannot feel or move any part of their body, or is complaining of head, neck, or back pain, do not move them or perform first aid after the accident. Instead, use vehicle warning lights, flashlights, flares, or brightly-colored objects to help warn oncoming traffic about the accident.
- Call 911 immediately.
Call, or have someone else call, 911 immediately. Even if nobody appears injured at first, it is important to have them examined by medical personnel, as the initial shock of a crash can temporarily mask the symptoms of a more serious injury.
- Don’t diagnose yourself.
Even if you feel okay or you don’t think you were injured, seek a thorough medical examination as soon as you can. Many car accident injuries, like whiplash, traumatic stress reactions, or hairline fractures, may not be obvious immediately after the crash. It is important to have a qualified physician examine you to help you determine exactly what happened to your body and to help you avoid making any injuries worse after the crash.
- Keep all your medical appointments.
By keeping all your doctor’s appointments and following your doctor’s instructions, you maximize your chances of healing as fully as possible. You also help build a record that accurately describes the extent of your injuries and the accommodations and medical care you are likely to need in the future. Were you unable to complete one or more of these steps during a car accident? Speak to a Raleigh car crash attorney as soon as you can. Your lawyer can help you gather any missing information and take other steps to protect your legal rights.
The Team at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., Can Help
At Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., our Raleigh-based personal injury lawyers have helped car accident victims throughout the state of North Carolina. No matter what type of injury you’ve suffered or how badly you’ve been hurt, we’re prepared to devote our resources, knowledge, and experience to pursue the compensation you deserve.
An auto accident changes your life, especially when you must struggle to recover from serious injuries. We recognize how tough the weeks and months following a crash can be. That’s why we’re committed not only to providing outstanding service, but also to giving your case the thoughtful, compassionate, and focused attention it deserves. To talk to one of our lawyers today, call our Raleigh office or fill out our online contact form – whichever is more convenient for you.