What Are Some Serious Injuries That Can Occur from a Car Accident?

Car accident
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Traffic accidents can change our lives tragically. Despite vehicle safety systems, which have improved considerably over the years, we can suffer serious injuries that impact us for the rest of our lives. No matter how good someone drives no one is completely exempt of one due to other reckless drivers.

Car accidents are the leading cause of injury in many countries. Just in the United States about +2 million people are injured every year according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

While crash injuries vary depending on the situation and the people involved, some common injuries include traumatic brain injuries, back strains and sprains, whiplashes, fractures and emotional suffering. Below is an overview of injuries frequently documented in an automobile accident.

Head injuries

Head injuries are common and some of the most serious injuries in road traffic crashes. It is a very sensitive part of our body and a very important one. During collisions, it is common that the driver or passengers hit the dashboard, windows or steering wheel. When this happens at relatively slow speeds it can leave bruises, lacerations or simply some scratches. But at high speed, the impact can cause hearing problems, vision loss and skull fractures. In the worst types of car crashes, people can suffer closed head injuries that damage fluids and skull tissue. The severity of such traumatic brain injuries can range from simply some mild bruising, which is the most common, to severe brain damage, coma, and even death.

Neck and chest injuries

Some other common injuries in these areas besides pain and swelling, of course, are temporary paralysis of the vocal cords due to the impact and aggressive movements our head makes during a collision, as well as whiplashes. This last one is also consequence of a sudden movement, that forces the ligaments and muscles of the neck the back to stretch really fast damaging the tissue. The type of accidents that cause this in a majority of cases are rear collisions. An accident like this forces the passengers’ bodies forward while the head remains fixed in the same spot it originally was.

Chest injuries after a shock are usually bruises and contusions. However, the most serious chest injuries are broken ribs, collapsed lungs, internal bleeding, and organ damage. Traumatic cardiac arrest is also a risk for people with heart conditions. All occupants of the vehicle can experience these injuries because the force the collision exerts on the bodies crushes them against the seat belts. Drivers can also experience these injuries if they collide with the steering wheel.

Back injuries

Fractures in the vertebrae, herniated discs, sprains, sprains, and spinal cord damage are some of the common low back injuries. A herniated disc can cause many problems, including tingling or numbness, pain in the legs and arms, and muscle weakness. Spinal cord damage is more severe and can seriously affect nerves, reduce control and tenderness in arms, feet, hands, legs, and other parts of the body. Sometimes, damage to the spinal cord can lead to paralysis.

Other common injuries

You may have bruises, cuts, and scrapes on your arms, hands, feet, and legs when you collide with other objects inside the vehicle. These injuries can be mild to severe, cause blood loss and require stitches. The extremities of occupants may also strike the door next to them or the dashboard or seat in front of them, which can result in bruising, fractures, cuts from broken windows, or sprains.

Emotional distress and psychological traumas

Injuries suffered by people after car accidents are not always visible. People who suffer emotional distress usually experience anxiety and stress in certain situations, especially after getting in a car relatively soon after being in an accident. While these reactions go away over time in most people, they sometimes do not in those who develop post-traumatic stress disorder, a psychiatric condition that causes people to relive their traumas in retrospect and in nightmares. Some of the symptoms for this disorder are:  

• Flashbacks of the traumatic event in questions, nightmares or instantaneous and involuntary memories at any time of the day.

• Hallucinations with the idea of repeating the traumatic event.

• Extreme anxiety when coming into contact with people, places or any circumstance that reminds you of the event.

• The person usually avoids conversations, places, people and, in general, anything that could be related to the trauma.

• Palpitations, shortness of breath, and increased sweating each time the triggering event is remembered.
Like we mentioned, it doesn’t matter if an injury is visible or not, if you are ever in a car accident go to the doctor just to double-check everything is ok. It’s important to mention that only because you don’t feel any pain right away it means you don’t have an injury. Some injuries are reflected by pain days after the accident has occurred.

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