When you’re involved in a motor vehicle wreck, the sudden and violent forces inherent in the crash scenario can cause a range of serious injuries. Some of these might not be immediately apparent. This can be due to adrenaline or because a condition has yet to escalate.
Understanding some of the more common injuries that may result from a car crash may help you to recognize what’s going on in the days and weeks after you experience a wreck. This knowledge can inspire you to get proper care, if and when doing so becomes necessary.
Spinal cord injuries
One of the most catastrophic potential outcomes of a car crash is a spinal cord injury. The impact can fracture or dislocate vertebrae, which may result in damage to the spinal cord itself. You may have severe back pain or paralysis if you have a spinal cord injury. It’s best to avoid moving if such pain or decreased ability to move occurs. Once that’s done, seeking emergency medical care is necessary.
Traumatic brain injuries usually occur when the head is hit with force or when an object penetrates the skull. Even the violent force of the head jerking forward and backward or side to side can damage the brain. While this kind of injury may be apparent at the scene, it’s common for symptoms to manifest in the weeks following a wreck. Watch for severe headaches that don’t diminish, vision changes, an inability to concentrate and/or altered sleep habits.
The impact of a collision can lead to fractures. The most common bones broken in car accidents include ribs, arms, legs and hips. Symptoms of a fracture include intense pain, swelling and an inability to move the affected limb. Some fractures can be more serious, leading to complications like damage to surrounding tissues or organs.
Internal bleeding is a less visible but potentially life-threatening injury that occurs usually due to blunt trauma or penetrating injuries during a car crash. It may involve blood vessels within organs like the liver, spleen or kidneys. It might also occur within the chest or abdominal cavities. Signs of internal bleeding include abdominal pain, deep purple skin in the affected area, dizziness and fainting.
Getting medical care should be a priority if you’re involved in a crash. Some injuries that appear minor at first are serious. You can help tie the collision to the injuries by getting medical care immediately. This is particularly helpful if you’re going to seek compensation. Remember, you only have a short time after a crash to seek compensation before the time limit set by state law expires.