Auto Wreck Injuries
The latest statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that more than 2.3 million people were injured in traffic accidents in 2014. And while this number declined rather steadily from the year 2000 through 2009, it has been on the rise again.
Many kinds of injury can happen in a car accident, and often the type of crash determines the type of injury. For instance, head-on crashes can create injuries to many body parts, from the head and neck, to the legs and feet, both of the driver and the front-seat passenger. Side-impact crashes that occur towards the front of a vehicle often affect the upper body of the front-seat passenger, such as the chest and abdomen, and the same goes for side-impact accidents involving the rear of a vehicle and passengers in the back seat. Car manufacturers should consider the type of crash that may happen, and the resulting injuries, when designing the safety features of their cars. In addition, the government performs safety testing using these various types of car crashes to help the public choose cars that are safe and protective.
All of this should add up to safer cars and fewer injuries, but based on the statistics there are still plenty of car accidents and plenty of injured victims. So, what are the most common types of car accident injuries? Here are five injuries that can affect you if you’ve been a car accident.
Head and Neck
The head and neck are vulnerable in a car accident, no matter what the type of crash. These are the least protected parts of the body and often a side-impact or head-on crash forces the head to strike the steering wheel or windows. Obvious injuries include cuts, scrapes and bruises (which can be severe), but not so obvious injuries are more of a concern. Concussions or closed-head injuries are nothing to fool around with. Sometimes the symptoms of head and neck injuries are not obvious at first, this is why it is important to seek medical attention anytime there is a car crash.
Back injuries in a car accident are often the result of twisting or torqueing of the upper body during a crash. In addition, spinal cord injury can occur with severe crashes. Some of the symptoms of a back injury are back pain, numbness in the legs or arms (or hands or feet), muscle weakness or pain that radiates through the legs. These could be indications of herniated discs, compression fractures, or damage to ligaments, tendons and muscles that surround and protect the spinal cord.
Chest injuries often happen to the driver of a vehicle involved in a car accident, because of their position behind the unforgiving steering wheel. If they are forced against this immovable object various injuries can occur such as cuts and contusions, broken ribs, or worse, internal injuries. Broken or cracked ribs can be serious, especially if there are jagged edges that can cause further injury. The common symptom of a cracked or broken rib is pain when inhaling. Other chest injuries can occur from the seatbelt or airbag. Though they are designed to protect passengers, they can also injure due to the strong force of a crash. However, without them it’s likely the injury would be worse.
Soft Tissue Injuries
A soft tissue injury refers to an injury affecting the ligaments, tendons, or muscles. These types of injuries are very common and can occur even in minor crashes. One of the most common is the soft tissue injury known as whiplash. Rear-end car accidents often result in whiplash, and sometimes the symptoms of this whiplash are delayed for days. Whiplash can be misleading, because beyond the symptoms of neck or shoulder pain, whiplash patients can also experience problems with concentration, loss of memory, sleep issues, and fatigue. This is why it’s important to get medical attention after a car accident, as sometimes severely debilitating injuries are not apparent right away.
Nerve injuries are often very painful, serious and tend to linger. There are also various types of nerve injuries depending upon where on your body you were injured.
Arm and Leg Injuries
While the arms and legs of vehicle passengers are well protected by the surrounding metal, serious crashes can, and often do, cause injuries to the extremities. Bruises, cuts, and lacerations are all common injuries. More severe injuries include broken bones and dislocated joints, especially the knees and hips. These types of injuries need immediate medical attention and their effects can last for years, and can greatly affect quality of life.
If you’ve been in a car accident and experienced any of these injuries, the best thing you can do is seek medical help. Even if the injury seems minor, you may be in for long-term issues and protecting yourself and your rights is the most important step you can take.