The average number of car accidents in the United States is around six million per year, with around three million of those resulting in injuries for those involved. With these kinds of numbers, it’s possible you may find yourself the victim of a car accident. If you do, you may wonder about your first steps after a collision. The first thing to do is to get medical help. Even if you don’t think you are hurt, some injuries are immediately apparent.
As the circumstances of accidents differ, so does the severity of injuries. Some of the factors include:
- Were there airbags in the vehicle, and were they deployed?
- Were the injured parties wearing seatbelts?
- Was the car hit from the rear, side, or front?
- Was the collision at low or high speed?
- Were the injured parties facing straight ahead or in a different direction?
Most Common Types of Injuries
Most of the injuries suffered during a car accident fall into one of two categories: penetrating injuries and impact injuries. Penetrating injuries are those in which the skin is penetrated, such as cuts from glass or scrapes from loose objects in the vehicle. Impact injuries are those where a person’s body hits a part of the car’s interior.
Within these two categories, there are five major kinds of injuries that result from non-fatal car accidents — with soft tissue injuries being the most common.
- Head InjuriesHead injuries can vary greatly in severity. From a simple bump causing a little soreness to more serious results like a concussion or a traumatic brain injury, head injuries take on many forms. Often the most telling symptom of a head injury is whether the injured party lost consciousness. If they have, this could be the sign of a greater issue than what immediately presents. Some of the symptoms to look out for are memory problems, irritability, changes in mood, headache, nausea, or blurred vision.
When the head has sustained a great deal of injury, the result may be lasting brain damage or a traumatic brain injury. Brain injuries may heal, but sometimes, they can require prolonged treatment that can last the rest of a person’s life.
- Soft TissueSoft tissue injury happens when the body’s tendons, ligaments, or muscles face trauma. The most common and recognizable form of this is whiplash.
Pain in the neck, back, and spine can also be caused during car accidents. The pressure that may be exerted on the spine can be extreme and not immediately clear. Ruptured or herniated discs are injuries that can persist long after bumps and bruises have healed. Sometimes these injuries can become permanent.
Bruising is another common soft tissue injury. Frequently, bruises will present quickly after sustaining injuries during a car accident. Contusions can be a more serious problem as they may result in damage to the brain’s blood vessels.
Because soft tissue damage takes many forms, the severity is quite varied. Soft tissue damage is the most common kind of damage sustained during car accidents.
- Internal InjuriesInternal injuries are rarely immediately evident. Because of the nature of car accidents, your skeletal structure is put under a great deal of strain that it sometimes cannot handle. The result of this can be broken bones from impacts or from an arm or leg being pinned in place by damage done to the car. While broken bones are rarely life-threatening, they can require a long healing period and possibly surgery.
More serious internal injuries may occur in the form of internal bleeding. Because your organs are somewhat fragile parts of the body, they may become damaged during a car accident and bleed. This can be a serious situation, and some of the symptoms to be on the lookout for include dizziness, headache, swelling, seizures, and loss of consciousness.
- Chest InjuriesThe driver of the vehicle is often at a much higher risk of chest injuries as the space between them, and the steering wheel is limited. Seatbelts may also be the cause of injury, although it is still more beneficial to wear them than not. While you may withstand bruises, your seatbelt protects you from more serious injury. Airbags may also cause injuries to the chest when they deploy. Chest injuries necessitate surgery more often than other types.
The results of damage may be simple bruising, more painful broken ribs, or internal damages. Some common symptoms to be on the lookout for are rapid changes in heart rate, shortness of breath, low blood pressure, and coughing up blood.
- Emotional InjuriesWhile people most frequently think of the physical damage that victims may suffer during a collision, emotional damages must also be considered. Often, emotional damages can be the most traumatic and lasting. Long after bruises and broken bones have healed, victims may face anxiety or severe symptoms of PTSD.
Because the extent of emotional damage is difficult to estimate, the severity has a vast range. From an aversion to driving or riding in cars to difficulties sleeping, many different symptoms can arise. Treatment from a therapist or psychologist is the best way to get your life back when facing symptoms of PTSD.
Retain Legal Representation Immediately
The lasting effects and damages from a car accident are impossible to estimate at the time of the incident. New injuries may surface days or weeks after the initial accident and may involve extensive and lengthy medical attention and healing. Because of this, seeking medical attention immediately should be the number one priority of anyone in a car accident.
Once medical attention has been acquired, you should retain a legal representative as soon as possible. The statute of limitations for personal injury in the State of California is only two years. Because California is an at-fault state, determining fault should be done swiftly so you can recover from your losses more quickly.
With over 60 years of combined legal experience, the team at Peach & Weathers are some of the most knowledgeable in personal injury law. Our team has the resources necessary to investigate your accident and declare the other party liable for any damages you’ve sustained during a car accident. Contact us today, and get your life back sooner.