Car accidents are frightening for everyone involved. Unfortunately, most result in injuries ranging from bumps and bruises to permanent disability. There are between 20 and 50 million people injured in roadway accidents every year.
Injuries may be immediately apparent, or they may show up after a few days. It’s important to seek medical attention immediately following an accident and monitor how you feel for the next few days.
If an injury shows up later, seek treatment and ensure it’s not something more serious. A delayed injury can be just as damaging as one that occurs right away. Know the common types of injuries that occur in car accidents, so you can avoid them in the future.
1. Back Injury
Back and spinal cord injuries can be severe, impacting your everyday movement and/or your quality of life. Treating back pain is a $100 billion per year industry, and the treatments are often not what the patient really needs.
According to Kooi Law, a personal injury firm in Indiana and Illinois, back pain does not always show up right away. It can appear days after the accident, and it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as you notice it.
A concussion is one of the most common head injuries, and it’s more serious than many people realize. A concussion occurs when the brain rocks back and forth in the skull, causing soft tissue damage.
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that, if not treated, can be fatal in severe cases. It’s vital that you seek medical help immediately with any head injuries.
3. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
TBI can be far worse than a concussion. It can cause severe and permanent damage to the skull or brain. Oftentimes, it can result in lifelong mental or physical disability. TBI is extremely serious and early medical intervention is key in treatment.
Whiplash is a soft tissue injury that occurs when the head is thrown violently back and forth, resulting in a neck sprain or strain. It can be extremely painful and cause injury to the spinal cord, joints, nerve roots, or ligaments in the neck region.
Whiplash is often associated with a concussion or TBI, since the rocking back and forth cause both types of injuries. If you experience whiplash, consider being screened for TBI as well.
5. Soft Tissue Injury
Soft tissue injuries refer to muscle strains and sprains often received during a car accident. As your body is thrown in odd directions and objects fly around the vehicle, your joints may turn at odd angles, causing a sprain.
Depending on the severity, these soft tissue injuries can be extremely painful and can take longer to heal than a broken bone. Oftentimes, they can be treated at home with rest, ice, compression, and elevation, but it’s always wise to get an X-ray to make sure no bones are broken.
6. Broken Bones
Broken bones are another common injury from the violent movement and flying objects in a vehicle. Arms, legs, and ribs are particularly prone to breakage with the impact of a crash.
This injury is painful, but simple breaks heal quickly and easily with rest and treatment. More complex breaks may require surgery and physical therapy to heal.
7. Internal Bleeding
Internal bleeding is one of the most dangerous injuries in a car accident, primarily because it’s not always immediately apparent. Internal bleeding can be life-threatening, even though you may not be able to see the blood.
Therefore, it’s important to always receive a medical exam on the scene of a car accident. An EMT may be able to spot the signs of internal bleeding and rush you to the hospital before it’s too late.
8. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is common among those who experience car accidents, making it difficult for them to drive or even ride in a car in the future. They may also experience extreme depression, severe anxiety, insomnia or other sleep trouble.
Never underestimate the damage that can be caused by an emotional injury. Although pain isn’t physically present, the emotional stress of PTSD can make it difficult for you to enjoy activities you once loved. Seek help immediately if you believe you may have PTSD, as early intervention is key in returning to normalcy.