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January 21, 2015

Common Injuries Associated with Car Accidents

Common Car Crash InjuriesAccording to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration[1] (NHTSA), over 2.5 million people were injured in motor vehicle accidents during 2012. Due to the tremendous forces that are often involved in motor vehicle accidents, the injuries that both drivers and passengers sustain can be extremely severe. In some cases, these injuries may result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses and the need for ongoing medical care. In addition, victims may be unable to return to work for an extended period of time, potentially resulting in significant lost income. 

Fortunately for people who are injured in car accidents, state law allows people who are injured by the negligence of other to recover financial compensation for their losses.  In many cases, losses such as medical expenses, property damage, lost income, and physical and emotional pain and suffering can be recovered. 

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injuries[2], or TBIs, occur when a bump, blow, or jolt to the head results in a disruption in normal brain function. In addition, an object that penetrates the skull can also result in a traumatic brain injury. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates[3] that approximately 1.7 million people sustain a TBI each year in the United States. While minor traumatic brain injuries are self-resolving and require little medical intervention, they still have the potential to leave victims with significant complications that may keep them from working or affect their quality of life. In addition, when TBIs are more severe, they can result in serious medical issues that can include the following:

• Problems with speech

• Cognitive problems

• Memory issues

• Difficulty with motor control

• Inability to engage in daily tasks without assistance

TBIs are serious injuries, and anyone that has hit his or her head in a car accident or experienced headaches afterwards should seek medical attention immediately.

Spinal Cord Injuries


The CDC reports[4] that there are approximately 12,000 to 20,000 new cases of spinal cord injuries (SCIs) each year. In addition, a spinal cord injury can cost between $500,000 and $3 million for medical expenses over a person’s lifetime, depending on its severity. These injuries are classified into two main categories:

Incomplete spinal cord injuries – A spinal cord injury is characterized as incomplete when the victim has some feeling or mobility below the site of the injury.

Complete spinal cord injuries – A spinal cord injury is characterized as complete when the victims has no feeling or mobility below the site of the injury.

The spinal cord is the bundle of nerves that allows the brain to communicate with the rest of the body. As a result, any injury to the spinal cord or damage to the vertebrae that protect the spinal cord can result in serious complications. These may include complete or partial paralysis, loss of feeling, muscle weakness, and loss of full range of motion. In addition, people who sustain spinal cord injuries may also suffer from additional complications, include:

  • Bladder control problems
  • Bowel control problems
  • Pressure sores
  • Problems with circulation
  • Issues with respiration
  • Muscle tone problems
  • An overall decline in fitness and wellnes
  • Issues with sexual health
  • Pain
  • Depression

These and other issues that may occur after a spinal cord injury can substantially affect a person’s quality of life and may keep them from working for a significant period of time. As a result, individuals who suspect that they have sustained a spinal cord injury should seek emergency medical treatment as soon as possible. In many cases, early intervention can significantly improve the ultimate outcome of a spinal cord injury.

Whiplash Injuries

“Whiplash” is not actually a single injury, but is instead the colloquial term of a range of injuries resulting from a sudden jerking or other distortion of the neck, often resembling the cracking of a whip. This sudden motion often causes significant strain on the nerves, muscles, and vertebrae in the neck region and can result in long-lasting damage. Though whiplash injuries are often considered to relatively minor, such injuries may still have a substantial effect on a victim’s life. Some of the main signs and symptoms of whiplash include the following:

  • Neck pain
  • Neck stiffness
  • Unexplained headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness in your arms or hands
  • Fatigue or insomnia
  • Feeling of “pins and needles”
  • Pain in or around the shoulder blades
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in your ears
  • Cognitive difficulties, such as struggling to remember things or concentrate

While some signs and symptoms of whiplash may be almost immediately apparent, others may not manifest for several days. You should always visit a doctor as soon as you experience any type of whiplash symptoms in the days following an accident. Treatment for whiplash commonly involves pain management, including visits to pain specialists, injections, and muscle relaxants, as well as physical therapy techniques such as ultrasounds, myofascial release,[5] strengthening, and more. Depending on the severity of the injury, treatment may last for a prolonged period of time.

Though whiplash is most often associated with rear-end accidents,[6] this type of injury can occur in any type of collision. Whiplash can significantly affect your life and may even keep you from working, so this type of injury should never be ignored following a car accident.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissue injuries[7] include any damage to the body’s muscles, ligaments, tendons, skin, or other soft tissue. They can easily occur in a car accident and have the potential to cause significant pain and other complications. In particularly serious cases, a soft tissue injury could result in long-term problems including the loss of use of a part of the body or the development of chronic pain. Some of the more common kinds of soft tissue injuries that often occur in car accidents include:

Because of the potentially serious complications that can result after a soft injury, victims should be certain to seek medical attention immediately after a car accident. 

[1] http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812006.pdf|
[2] http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/traumatic-brain-injury/basics/definition/con-20029302
[3] http://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/pdf/BlueBook_factsheet-a.pdf
[4] http://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/scifacts.html
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myofascial_release
[6] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rear-end_collision
[7] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soft_tissue_injury

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