The aftermath of a car accident can be a very frightening and confusing time for anyone. If you’ve suffered any type of injury, then it could be even more difficult for you. Those who have been in an accident should always seek medical care, even if they do not feel as though there is anything wrong with them at the time. Injuries may not actually present themselves for hours, days, or even longer after the accident. Getting medical help and evidence, as early as possible, is a good idea.
Because car accidents can vary so much, it means that the type and the severity of the injuries will vary as well. Let’s examine some of the most common injury types and see how they could happen and how they may affect the injured party.
Neck and Back Injuries
An injury to the neck can be extremely severe. The most common type of neck injury is whiplash, which causes the head to move forward or side to side in a violent manner after a crash. This can cause sprains or strains to the neck that make it very difficult to move. As painful as it might be, it’s a relatively mild form of neck injury. In more severe cases, there could be ruptured disks, or even a broken neck or a broken back. This could lead to a lot of time away from work and a long recovery. In some cases, people do not recover and may become paralyzed.
Injuries to the head can occur in a car accident when the crash causes someone’s skull to hit part of the vehicle, another person, or an object inside of the vehicle. They can also occur in the event a person is thrown from the vehicle. These can be minor or severe. A concussion happens when the brain is shaken inside of the skull, which is typical in an accident. A mild concussion typically requires only rest to heal. However, they could require hospitalization. Individuals suffering from headaches, nausea, vomiting, and disorientation after an accident should be checked for a concussion.
Severe brain trauma could actually require surgery to repair the damage. If any blow to the head – from an accident or any other incident – causes you to black out for a period of time, even if it is just a few seconds, is an indicator to speak with a doctor.
The Shoulder and Rotator Cuff
Shoulder and rotator cuff injuries are common in auto accidents, but the type of injury can vary. It could be a tear or a shoulder separation. These tend to happen when someone sees the accident coming and tries to “ready” themselves for the impact. They often end up doing more damage to themselves than good. The damage could include tears to the shoulder joint or the rotator cuff, making it difficult or even impossible to move the arm. The pain can be excruciating, and many find that it gets worse in the evening. This type of damage sometimes requires surgery to repair properly.
Leg and Knee
The knees and the legs are in a precarious position when you are seated in a vehicle. Major accidents often involve damage to these areas of the body. The impact of another vehicle during a crash can cause your legs to become trapped. A direct hit to the front of the vehicle, or the side of the vehicle could cause a range of injuries from contusions to fractures. The joints – knees, ankles, and even the joints of the toes – are particularly prone to injury.
Broken bones are a serious threat in a car accident. As strong and resilient as the human body might be, the forces at work during an accident can wreak havoc on the body and splinter the bones. Broken arms, legs, and ribs are relatively common in serious accidents. They can be painful and some may need to have surgery to repair properly. Others will need to be set and may require a cast. These injuries can keep you out of work and in pain for quite some time depending on their severity. A broken bone, or a potentially broken bone, should always be treated as if it were an emergency. This is especially the case with a compound fracture, in which the bone protrudes through the skin.
During an accident, twisted metal and broken shards of glass can often cause cuts or lacerations all across the body. The hands, arms and face are prone to laceration, but they can occur on any part of the body. In some cases, they can be very serious, and it’s essential to stop the flow of blood. Other times, they look worse than they are and may not be the most pressing injury to deal with at the time. Some cuts on the head, for example, might bleed profusely but pose little danger to the injured party. They may have internal bleeding; that’s far more serious.
What Should You Do?
If you’ve been in an accident, the first thing you need to do is to try to assess the various injuries. Are people in pain and in danger? They need to get help right away. Contact the police and fire department and wait for them to arrive. Once the injuries are attended to, you can start to worry about how you will handle the rest of the accident.
One of the first things that you need to do is get in touch with an attorney. Your attorney will be able to help you gather evidence for your case to make it stronger and show proof that the other party was negligent. Keep in mind that you need to make sure you are keeping track of your medical documentation regarding your injuries. They will prove important. In those cases where the other driver was negligent, you may be able to receive damages that will help to cover your injuries, lost wages, and more. Do not delay when it comes to getting legal help for your case.