The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported in its Overview of Motor Crashes in 2019, that an estimated 2.74 million people suffered injuries in vehicle accidents. This was an increase from prior years. The types of injuries reported varied depending on the specific type of accident, type of vehicle involved in the crash, and the circumstances surrounding the crash. Some injuries resulting from car accidents are more common than others, and some injuries can even be fatal.
Common Injuries From a Car Accident
Victims of car accidents can suffer many types of serious injuries. These injuries can vary in severity, and not every injury will present immediately. Some injuries may not be visible at all. Even if your car accident injuries seem minor, it’s important that you seek medical attention right away. Some injuries can require on-going medical care and may negatively impact the victim’s quality of life.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
The leading cause of a TBI is a car accident. This type of injury occurs when there is a direct blow to the head or an injury that pierces the skull. A TBI can be life-altering and affect a person’s physical and mental functions. The long-term effects of a TBI may require that the victim receive ongoing medical care for a lifetime.
A concussion can happen if there is direct impact to the head during a crash. Concussions can lead to memory problems, headaches, and changes in vision.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries occur from the force of the collision on the body. These injuries can cause full or partial paralysis and long-term disability.
Back injuries are common in car accidents and can cause severe pain and permanent disability. Disks in the back can be herniated and cause problems such as a loss of sensation, muscle weakness, or pain that radiates to the arms and legs. Some back injuries require surgery and ongoing physical therapy to recover.
In a car accident, bones such as the ribs, legs, arms, ankles, and wrists can be broken and, depending on the severity and type of break, may require surgery to repair.
Car accident victims can suffer facial injuries if there is broken glass or the person hits the dashboard, steering wheel, windows, or other hard surfaces inside the car. A broken nose injury can occur from the force of impact with a deployed airbag. Facial injuries can cause permanent disfigurement and scarring and may require on-going surgeries.
Whiplash can occur when there is sudden back-and-forth movement of the neck and head. Drivers involved in a rear-end collision often suffer this type of injury, with or without a seatbelt. Whiplash can result in damage to the ligaments and muscles in the neck and require physical therapy and medical care.
Knee injuries can occur if the victim’s knee is smashed into the dashboard or other part of the vehicle. Injuries such as fractures, bruises, sprains, and torn cartilage can occur and may require surgery and ongoing medical treatment to fully recover.
Foot and Ankle Injuries
Injuries to the foot or ankle are common in car accidents. Victims can suffer a fracture or sprain, and feet and ankles can also be severed if they become trapped in a part of the car.
Shoulders can become dislocated if the victim’s hands are on the steering wheel and brace for the force of impact. This can cause the shoulder to lock and dislocate. Some shoulder injuries require surgery, immobilization using a splint or sling, and rehabilitation to recover function.
If two objects are pushed together and a part of the body is in between, that body part can be crushed under the pressure. Crushing injuries can cause bruising, lacerations, broken bones, and severe damage to internal organs, muscles, and tissue.
Burns can happen if the vehicle catches fire or the occupant comes into contact with chemicals or a deployed airbag. Depending on the severity, burns may need surgery or a skin graft and can be painful and disfiguring.
The force of impact in a car accident can cause internal bleeding and organ damage. Internal bleeding is not always obvious and can be fatal if not caught immediately.
Loss of Limb
During a car crash, a limb can be crushed or severed beyond repair and require amputation. This result can be disabling and affect a person’s long-term ability to work.
Mental or Emotional Injuries
A car accident can cause extreme mental or emotional stress that can lead to conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, or depression. It can cause a person to fear driving, interfere with sleeping, or make it difficult to work. Mental or emotional injuries may require medication and therapy before the victim can return to work or normal life activities.
How a Rhode Island Car Accident Attorney Can Help
Speaking to a car accident attorney can help you understand your legal rights and whether you can pursue a personal injury claim for your injuries. An attorney will gather the evidence needed to prove your car accident case and determine who can be held liable for your injuries and loss. Liable parties in a car accident case may include:
- Insurance company
- Negligent third party
- Employer of the driver who was at fault
- Defective parts manufacturer
Once liability is determined, you may be entitled to receive compensation, including:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Permanent impairment
Have You Been Injured in a Car Accident?
If you've been hurt in a car accident, you need to speak to an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Warwick office directly at 401.946.3200 to schedule your free consultation. We help accident victims in Providence, Warwick, and all areas of Rhode Island.