Car accidents can cause various injuries, ranging from minor to severe. If another driver or entity’s negligence injured you in a car accident, it’s important to seek legal representation from a qualified and experienced car accident lawyer. A car accident lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and pursue compensation for your financial losses, pain, and suffering from the negligent party. They can also help you understand your rights and legal options, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court if necessary.
Common Types of Car Accident Injuries
While no two car accidents are exactly alike, some injuries are more common than others. Here are some of the most common injuries experienced by car accident victims.
Car injuries may cause various head injuries, some of which can be serious and life-threatening.
Common head injuries suffered in car accidents include:
- Concussion. A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that occurs when the brain gets jolted or shaken inside the skull. Car accident victims with concussions may experience headaches, nausea, dizziness, confusion, and memory problems. Medical professionals should monitor a concussed accident victim’s condition to ensure it does not worsen.
- Traumatic brain injury. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a broad category that includes any injury to the brain caused by a violent blow or sudden jolt, often occurring in car accidents. A concussion is a TBI. TBI symptoms may appear immediately or gradually over the hours, days, or weeks after a car accident. Even so-called mild TBIs can leave car accident victims with permanent permanent disabilities, headaches, nausea, dizziness, sensory problems, behavioral problems, seizures, loss of consciousness, loss of coordination, memory problems, and personality changes.
- Facial injury. Car accidents can injure the face in various ways, including burns, lacerations, dental injuries, or fractures. Facial injuries may result in permanent disfigurement or scarring and require multiple surgeries.
- Eye injury. Car accidents can injure the eyes, causing temporary or permanent blindness.
Neck and Back Injuries
Neck and back injuries can occur in a wide variety of different ways, and they’re ubiquitous in car accidents. When people hear about car crashes, they think of whiplash as one of the resulting injuries, but that’s only one type.
Car accident victims can suffer neck and back injuries, including:
- Whiplash. Whiplash occurs when the head is suddenly and violently jerked forward and backward. Car accident victims with whiplash can experience pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion in the neck.
- Herniated disc. An intervertebral disc within the spine becomes herniated when the jelly-like center pushes out through a tear or crack in the outer shell. Herniated discs cause numbness, tingling, weakness, and pain in the back or extremities.
- Fractured vertebrae. The spine consists of bony vertebrae stacked on one another. The vertebrae can fracture due to blunt force trauma, causing severe pain that worsens with movement.
- Spinal cord injury. The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that runs up the center of the spinal column and sends messages back and forth between the brain and the body. A car accident victim who suffers a spinal cord injury could experience a partial or total loss of feeling and movement below the location of the injury.
Chest and Torso Injuries
Chest and torso injuries caused by car accidents vary in severity and type depending on the specific circumstances of the accident.
Some of the most common injuries include:
- Chest contusions. A car accident victim may suffer chest contusions, or bruises, when their chest hits the steering wheel, airbags, dashboard, or seatbelt. Chest contusions can cause pain and swelling that may affect the victim’s respiratory or circulatory systems.
- Broken ribs. Broken ribs are among the most common car accident injuries. Most broken ribs heal on their own but a medical professional should monitor them carefully to ensure that complications, such as internal bleeding or pierced organs, do not arise.
- Internal bleeding or organ damage. Blunt force trauma in car accidents can injure internal organs, damaging them and causing bleeding. Car accident victims with internal bleeding or organ damage may need surgery to address the problem.
- Traumatic cardiac arrest. This is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the heart stops beating. Victims of severe car accidents could experience traumatic cardiac arrest from significant blunt-force trauma to the chest.
- Soft tissue injuries. Soft tissue injuries are extremely common injuries experienced in car accidents. Here are some examples:
- Strains and sprains. Strains and sprains occur when soft tissues get stretched or torn. Strains affect muscles and tendons, which connect bones to muscles. Sprains affect ligaments, which are the tissues that connect bones. Most strains and sprains heal with rest from activity and physical therapy, although some may need more intensive treatments.
- Lacerations. Lacerations, or cuts, often occur in car accidents due to blunt force trauma, broken glass, or flying sharp objects. Minor cuts will heal on their own with proper care, but severe lacerations may require stitches.
- Contusions. Contusions, or bruises, occur when an object strikes the body, damaging blood vessels and causing blood to pool under the skin. Most contusions heal independently, but severe contusions may result in a hematoma. Severe abdominal contusions could result in internal bleeding and require prompt medical care.
Arm and Leg Injuries
A car accident can result in the following arms and leg injuries:
- Broken bones. A broken bone is one of the most common injuries in car accidents. Bones in the arms, wrists, and legs are especially vulnerable to fractures. While most fractures heal with immobilization and time, complete or compound fractures may require surgery.
- Dislocated joints. Dislocations occur when a traumatic action forces the bones at a joint out of their normal position. Elbows, shoulders, and knees are prone to dislocations in car accidents. Dislocated joints require the attention of a medical professional who can reposition and then immobilize the affected joint.
- Amputated limbs. Limbs can get crushed, pinned, or severed in car accidents. These are devastating injuries that require immediate medical attention and long-term rehabilitation. Car accident victims with amputated limbs may need to change occupations and modify their living accommodations.
Mental and Emotional Injuries
Car accidents can also cause mental and emotional injuries. While these might not be visible, they are nonetheless serious and need proper treatment.
Car accident victims with mental and emotional injuries should see a professional specializing in treating such conditions as:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Car accident victims can experience significant trauma, from which they can develop PTSD. Symptoms of PTSD include distressing and recurring memories, flashbacks, nightmares, and severe emotional or physical reactions to specific triggers.
- Anxiety. Car accidents are stressful incidents that may leave victims with debilitating anxiety that affects their daily lives.
- Depression. Car accident victims who suffer serious injuries, experience significant financial loss, or lose the ability to enjoy the things they love could develop depression. Depression is more than just feeling sad. It is a mood disorder that presents as persistent sadness, hopelessness, or pessimism that can affect a victim’s relationship with their family, ability to work, and physical health.
When Should You See a Doctor for a Car Accident Injury?
No matter the injury, every car accident victim should seek medical attention as soon as possible after the collision. Only a medical professional can properly evaluate, diagnose, and treat car accident injuries.
Furthermore, the longer a victim waits to see a doctor, the more danger they may be in. Not only could their injuries severely worsen, but they may also jeopardize their right to compensation. Insurance companies look for any excuse to deny a claim. Hence, a car accident victim who waits a few days to see a doctor provides a convenient, albeit false, narrative to the insurer that their injury was not actually related to the accident.
How Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help After Someone Suffers a Car Accident Injury
Suffering a car accident injury can be a daunting and overwhelming experience. Besides dealing with pain and medical treatment, you may also face financial concerns such as medical bills, lost earnings, and car repairs. A personal injury lawyer can help you through this difficult time.
Here are the benefits of hiring a personal injury lawyer after a car accident:
- Legal knowledge and experience. Personal injury lawyers have extensive knowledge and experience dealing with cases related to car accidents. They can provide guidance and advice on navigating the legal system effectively.
- Gathering evidence. Car accident cases hinge on the strength of the evidence. How can you gather evidence when you’re suffering from injuries? Skilled personal injury attorneys know how and where to seek essential evidence.
- Maximizing compensation. A personal injury lawyer can assess the value of your compension claim and seek the appropriate compensation for your injuries.
- Negotiation skills. Insurance companies are for-profit entities, so they often take advantage of car accident victims’ vulnerable states to offer a low settlement amount. A skilled personal injury lawyer can take over all communications with the insurance company and refuse to accept an inadequate settlement offer.
- Representing you in court. Most people try to avoid court, but sometimes you must fight for your rights at trial. Personal injury attorneys often represent car accident victims in civil court.
How Often Do Car Accident Injuries Occur?
According to the National Safety Council, 4.8 million injuries resulting in medical consultations occurred nationwide in one recent year. The costs associated with these injuries totaled an estimated $473.2 billion, including lost income and productivity, medical expenses, and vehicle damage.
In Indiana, 38,913 people suffered injuries in car accidents in one recent year, according to the Indiana University Public Policy Institute. That’s approximately 107 accidents every day and four every hour.
Here are additional facts about car accidents in Indiana:
- About 547 per every 100,000 people in Indiana suffered a car accident injury in the span of a year.
- Marion County saw the most collisions and the highest number of individuals involved in an accident.
- October, November, and February are the most dangerous months for car accidents.
- More accidents occur on Fridays and Wednesdays between the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Who Can You Hold Liable for Your Car Accident Injuries?
When a person or entity’s negligence causes a car accident that results in injuries, the victims can hold that entity accountable, or liable, for compensation to cover their accident-related losses.
Depending on the specific circumstances of the car accident, a victim could hold the following entities liable:
- Another driver. In most cases, another driver’s negligence causes an auto accident and makes them liable. Examples of negligence include speeding, running a red light, driving while texting, drunk driving, failing to yield the right-of-way, and failing to signal a lane change.
- Multiple drivers. In some cases, multiple drivers may share liability. For example, one driver may run a red light while a second driver is texting, causing a collision that injures a third driver. In that case, the third driver could hold each of the first two drivers partially liable for their injuries.
- A car manufacturer. If a vehicle defect, such as faulty brakes or a defective steering wheel, causes an accident, the victim could seek compensation from the car manufacturer.
- A company. If an employee causes an accident while performing their job duties, a victim could hold their employer liable. That’s because employers are responsible for their employees’ actions while on the job, including their negligent conduct.
- A government agency. If a hazardous road condition like a pothole or inoperable traffic light caused an accident, an injured victim could pursue compensation from the government agency responsible for maintaining the road for damages.
Compensation Available for Car Accident Injuries
Personal injury lawyers help car accident victims seek compensation from the at-fault entity for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost earnings and benefits
- Diminished future earning capacity
- Car repairs or replacement
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
- Diminished quality of life
Personal Injury Attorneys Help Car Accident Victims Seek Compensation for Injuries
If you suffered any injury in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, it’s important to seek legal representation from a qualified and experienced personal injury lawyer. A personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and pursue compensation for your accident-related losses from the responsible entity. Whether you were injured in a car accident, a slip and fall accident, or any other accident caused by someone else’s negligence, a lawyer can help you fight for the compensation you deserve. You should not have to pay for someone else’s negligent behavior, and a personal injury lawyer can help you hold the responsible party accountable.