Injured in a Car Accident?

Common Automobile Accident Injuries

Injuries from Car Accidents can Range from Minor to Severe

The injuries sustained in an automobile accident depend on several factors- not limited to the direction of travel, speed of travel, and collisions. Typically, if a vehicle is hit from behind the chances of severe damage or injury is less likely, however, a client of mine was recently hit so hard from behind her car was written off as a total loss, she suffered a closed head injury from her head hitting the steering wheel (while restrained), and cervical and thoracic strain from the impact. Car accidents involving a head-on collision at a high speed are often fatal. Car accidents involving side impact often result in moderate impact and destruction of the vehicle. The severity of the injuries depends on use of seat belts and injuries to vital organs. Potential injuries that may be life-threatening include trauma to what first-responders refer to as the “kill-zone,” of the head, neck, chest, and abdomen.

Injuries can range from mild to severe. Below is a description of common automobile accident injuries.

car accident injuries

Subcutaneous Hematoma

A hematoma is a collection of blood within the subcutaneous tissue. This may occur from a tear of blood vessels in the skin, subcutaneous tissue or muscle. Further investigation is necessary to rule-out internal tissue damage like a fracture, dislocation or a visceral tear (internal organ), which often depends on the area of the body and the size of the hematoma. If the hematoma is over 2-4 inches in diameter, further investigation in an emergency room should be done.

whiplash injuries

Whiplash Injury

The neck is the most vulnerable anatomical part of the body, and whiplash can occur with head-on, side or rear impact collisions causing hyperflexion of the neck.  Whiplash can also be used to describe lower body injuries depending on the impact and the position of the body at the time of the accident as well as the site of the injury.  Whiplash injury can cause joint injury, muscle tears, ligament injury, joint dislocation, and tears to viscera (internal organs) and/or blood vessels.

Traumatic Brain Injury/Concussion

Impact of the head or neck can cause can cause mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) also referred to as a concussion. This can lead to headaches, dizziness, confusion, and vertigo (a sensation of spinning). Further investigation with a CT scan of the head is recommended to rule out further damage. A severe blow to the head can cause bleeding in the brain, which can be life threatening.

Traumatic brain injury can affect drivers, passengers, and pedestrians, but more specifically, vehicle accidents account for 50 percent of all brain injuries making it the number one cause of traumatic brain injuries. Traumatic brain injury severity is commonly categorized into one of three different classifications. These are severe, moderate, or mild. The severity of the injury is typically based on how long a loss of consciousness took place, and/or coma rating scale or score, (PTA) and the results of brain imagining

tbi scan
bone and joint injury

Bone/Joint Injury

Blunt injury at the time of impact may cause bone or joint fracture or dislocation, which can also lead to tears in the ligaments or joint capsule (sprain) or tear of the muscles or tendons (strain) leading to further investigation such as x-rays or MRI. Bone and joint injuries can including skeletal injuries of the spine leading to pain in the neck, back, extremities ranging from mild to severe and possibly even cause disc bulge or herniated disc. Skeletal injury of the chest wall may result in multiple rib fractures, which could lead to a pneumothorax (collapsed lung).

Spinal Cord Injury

A spinal cord injury (SCI) is damage to the spinal cord that causes changes in its function, either temporary or permanent. These changes translate into loss of muscle function, sensation, or autonomic function in parts of the body served by the spinal cord below the level of the lesion. Injuries can occur at any level of the spinal cord and can be classified as complete injury, a total loss of sensation and muscle function, or incomplete, meaning some nervous signals are able to travel past the injured area of the cord. Depending on the location and severity of damage along the spinal cord, the symptoms can vary widely, from pain or numbness to paralysis to incontinence.

spinal injury
seat belt injury

Seat Belt Injury

While seat belts can prevent injury, they can also cause injury. This is surprisingly one of the most common automobile accident injuries. Mild injuries would include bruising or abrasion either across the chest or across the abdomen whereas moderate and severe injuries could include fractured ribs and resulting lung injury from the shoulder strap and injury to internal organs from the lap belt.

Air Bag Injury

While airbags can prevent injury, they can also cause injury.  This is surprisingly one of the most common automobile accident injuries.  Mild injuries would include bruising or abrasions to the hands, arms, chest and face. Air bags can also cause fractures or the nose, facial bones and hands or wrists too. Occasionally, individuals wearing glasses can be sustain injuries to the eyes as well.

airbag abrasions

Contact a Sacramento Car Accident Attorney

If you were a passenger in someone else’s car and were injured in a car accident, contact The Law Offices of Zappettini and Bradley by phone at 916-457-5022, or fill out our online contact form. We understand that monetary compensation can never return a person’s health or erase the lasting effects of a personal injury. However, it can alleviate many of the day-to-day problems confronted by the victim and their family.

What to do if you were involved in an accident

Because a car crash is completely unanticipated, its impact often takes us by surprise. In an instant, your life can be turned upside down and this could take a huge toll emotionally, physically, and financially. During the aftermath of an auto accident, there are specific actions that you can take that will help protect your legal rights while simultaneously positioning you to recover. The following tips will help you on the track to a quick recovery.

You should always check the physical states of everyone who was involved in the accident and call 911 if necessary. Make sure you tell emergency responders detailed information about the crash as well as any symptoms you are having. You should know that sometimes people underestimate how severe their injury is because of the adrenaline rush brought on by accident. Always request a complete examination and follow all of the doctor’s orders for treatment. This helps you heal faster and prevents another party from making the claim that you are partially to blame for your ailment since you didn’t listen to your doctor’s advice.

Call the police immediately and ask them to write up a report that details the car accident. Ask the officer for a copy of his report and keep this write-up for your own records. Your auto accident attorney will use this report to prepare your claim.

Figuring out how an accident happened is best done right after it happened. Make sure and write down the contact information ( including the name, address, driver’s license number, and insurance information ) for everyone involved. Also, make sure and get pictures of the scene of the accident. You can take pictures of the parts of the crash scene that you think contributed to the wreck and the parts of your car that are damaged. Make sure you get close-up shots that show detailed information as well as wide shots of the entire scene. Also, it is a good idea to keep parts of the vehicle that broke off in the accident. Your car accident lawyer will examine those parts and could learn crucial information on how the crash happened.

You should watch what you say to other parties involved in the accident, to bystanders, and to insurance agents. Any admission you made can limit your ability in bringing forth a claim later. Instead, let your lawyer handle these kinds of communications.

If anyone was injured in the accident, it’s best to consult an experienced attorney. An attorney can help you maximize your recovery if you’re injured or better defend yourself if you’re at fault. Many accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. That means that your lawyer only receives a fee if you’re awarded damages or receive a settlement.