Every year, millions of car accidents happen in the United States. While many accidents are relatively minor and result in few injuries, many are severe as well. The faster the vehicles are traveling, the more likely a serious injury will occur and require medical treatment. Fortunately, advancements in safety systems are making car accidents more avoidable and survivable.
Active safety systems, such as lane-keeping assistance, blind-spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control, can help prevent accidents from occurring. When accidents are inevitable, passive safety systems, such as seat belts, airbags, and crumple zones, help reduce the potential for injuries.
While there are many safety features in vehicles, serious injuries can still happen. Listed below are the most common car accident injuries.
Cuts and Bruises
The impact of a car accident could cause trauma to many parts of your body. That trauma often includes cuts and bruises that occur when the blow from another vehicle sends the energy into the passenger cabin.
If you are wearing a seat belt, the belt could leave bruise marks while restraining you. If you are not wearing a seat belt, you could suffer more extensive bruising when your body slams into the steering wheel, dashboard, or another part of the car’s interior.
The sudden deployment of an airbag might cause minor bruising when it hits your body. If there are no airbags deployed, your body could suffer even more bruising.
Broken glass could also cause cuts, and so could an impact on harder parts of the interior, such as a support pillar that keeps the roof in place.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Current safety features do much to protect you against brain injuries. Unless you wear a helmet while driving, it would be difficult to be more protected against head injuries.
A seat belt helps to keep you restrained within your seat so that you do not violently fly forward and strike your head against the roof or windshield. Airbags cushion hard blows to the head, and crumple zones help to absorb some of the violent energy created when two vehicles collide.
Despite all of this protection, you still could suffer a concussion or traumatic brain injury. A brain injury might require immediate medical care and hospitalization. You also might need extensive physical therapy. In a severe situation, you could require multiple surgeries and spend extended time in the hospital.
Whiplash is a common car accident injury that usually occurs when you are struck from behind or the side. You might not see the blow coming and do not tense up prior to the collision.
When struck violently from the side or the rear, your head will bob violently, which sends a lot of energy to your neck. The neck undergoes stresses that are similar to the cracking of a whip, as the energy travels through it due to your head bobbing violently from the blow.
Whiplash causes soft tissue damage that generally heals on its own and often within about a week. While healing, your neck will feel very stiff and painful to move. You might hear cracking or popping noises while you turn your head.
More serious cases of whiplash often require a lot of physical therapy to help the natural healing process. Fortunately, whiplash usually does not require surgery or hospitalization, but it can cause extreme pain.
Neck and Spinal Cord Injuries
Whenever you suffer a serious injury to your neck or spine, the cost to treat it is often very high. You also might suffer a temporary disability that requires lengthy physical therapy, or a permanent one that requires a lifetime of treatment.
Your injury might be a herniated disc or a spinal fracture that is permanently disabling. Neck and spinal cord injuries can be very catastrophic.
Whenever you suffer a severe injury, you likely will be unable to work for an extended period or possibly ever again. You might have to undergo vocational rehabilitation to help you earn a living following a catastrophic neck or spinal injury.
Depending on the severity of the accident, you could suffer significant damage to your bones. Broken legs, arms, and collarbones are vulnerable in car accidents, even in collisions that happen at slow speeds.
The higher the speed, the more energy goes into the accident, which could cause even more extensive injuries, including broken bones. You might suffer multiple fractures of an arm, leg, or another body part.
The seat belt might cause you to suffer a shoulder injury. If you do not wear your seat belt, your chest might impact the steering wheel or dash and break one or more of your ribs.
There are many ways in which a car accident might cause broken bones. Fortunately, there are many ways to treat them, including surgery, but the medical cost can be high.
Although it is not a physical injury, the violent impact of a car accident causes many accident survivors to experience posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The condition mostly is associated with people who have experienced violent situations. It also affects people who have survived car accidents.
PTSD can be very debilitating for many people. People with PTSD might be irritable, withdrawn, or less likely to engage in social activities. PTSD could lessen the person’s appetite and lead to poor health when combined with a lack of sleep.
If you suffer from PTSD caused by a car accident, you might experience heightened anxiety while driving in situations or conditions that are similar to those when the accident occurred. You might undergo therapy and possibly even be prescribed medication to help treat the effects of PTSD.
What Should You Do if You Have Been Injured in an Accident?
Obtaining medical care as quickly as possible always is the top priority following a car collision that injures you. There is a good chance that would include an ambulance ride to the nearest emergency room and possibly an extended stay in the hospital.
As soon as you can, you will need to file an insurance claim and initiate the claims process. If you have personal injury protection (PIP), that should pay for any medical costs that your health insurance might not cover.
Pennsylvania law requires PIP coverage on auto insurance policies. If your vehicle is registered in the state, you should have PIP coverage that will pay for your medical costs regardless of who might have caused the accident.
You also should retain an experienced lawyer to help uphold your rights and hold any accountable parties liable for causing the accident. Your lawyer also can help you to file the strongest claim that includes pain and suffering and other damages that you might not have considered prior.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Advocate for Clients Suffering With Car Accident Injuries
If you have a car accident injury that was caused by a negligent driver, one of our experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC can help. Contact us online or call us at 215-569-8488 to schedule a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Abington, Media, Pennsylvania, and Wilmington, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas.