Even a relatively minor car accident is a frightening experience that can leave you stunned in disbelief. Your body is probably working in overdrive to work out whether this is a situation of fight or flight.
Many don’t even realize they’ve suffered an injury until hours after an accident due to shock or adrenaline. Some injuries may not be apparent until the next day.
That is why it’s always important to get checked out after a car accident regardless of whether or not you believe you’ve suffered an injury. It’s also helpful to know what injuries to be on the lookout for in the days or weeks afterward.
So today, we’ve put together an initial reference guide covering common car accident injuries, and the symptoms to watch for following a car accident.
Head and Brain Injuries
Head and brain injuries are common in car crashes — and you don’t need to hit your head to sustain one. The impact of a collision can cause your brain to move within your skull, causing a concussion, which is a bruising of the brain tissue.
Symptoms of a concussion include headache, vision problems, loss of focus or concentration, irritability, loss of balance, and confusion.
You can also sustain a head injury when objects strike your head. If you’re hit in the head or have symptoms of a concussion, you should seek emergency medical attention by calling an ambulance to the scene of the crash.
Neck and Back Injuries
The most common injury in car crashes is whiplash, which occurs due to sudden movement of the head and neck on impact. This movement causes damage to the ligaments and muscles of the neck, causing pain and stiffness that may not be felt for several hours (or more) after the crash.
Other back injuries such as strained muscles or a herniated disc are common in car accidents, too. This presents as low back pain, numbness, tingling sensations, and muscle weakness. Back pain may not present until several hours to days after the crash, either.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord damage can occur in serious car accidents, which can result in temporary or permanent loss of sensation and motor function. Spinal cord damage presents as loss of sensation or inability to move your limbs and is typically apparent immediately following impact.
If you experience this after a crash, don’t attempt to move by yourself. Any wrong move could cause further damage. Have someone call for emergency medical help and stay put until professionals arrive.
Chest injuries often cause trauma internally, which can’t always immediately be detected upon examination at the scene.
Blunt force trauma in a car accident can cause severe chest injuries, however, like a collapsed lung or broken rib. Internal bleeding in the chest and damage to the internal organs can occur in a car accident, as well.
If you sustain blunt force trauma to your chest or torso, get emergency medical attention to rule out serious internal injuries.
Arm and Leg Injuries
Arm and leg injuries can occur when arms and legs are jerked around on impact, or due to blunt force trauma. If you’re hit from the side, your arms and legs may be thrown against the door, causing cuts, scrapes, strains and even bone fractures.
Car crashes are a leading cause of injury in the US, so it’s important to know what to watch for and how to protect yourself following a crash. Even if you don’t feel immediate pain, it’s always best to seek medical attention and get checked out.
This examination will also be valuable evidence should you ever need to pursue a claim. Your exam results may require necessary further treatment, and you may need to file a claim ultimately. If so, you should consult with a Florida personal injury attorney for guidance on how to do so correctly.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2017 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – and was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite” and as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015, 2016, and 2017.