Vehicle accidents can be traumatic, life-altering events and lead to a wide range of injuries and emotional challenges to overcome. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the total number of traffic crashes in Florida in 2022 was 381,156. That’s over a thousand vehicle accidents every day! Florida also ranked fifth in the United States for traffic fatalities in 2022.
Vehicle Accident Injuries
In this article, we examine the types of injuries resulting from a vehicle accident, how those injuries can affect the body, and the importance of seeking immediate medical attention following an accident. Although not a comprehensive list, here are the most common types of injuries following an accident.
Whiplash, one of the most common injuries following a car accident, occurs when a person’s head is suddenly jerked about violently, causing strain on the neck muscles, ligaments, and surrounding tissues.
Whiplash victims often experience neck pain, stiffness, headaches, and dizziness. In severe cases, it can lead to long-term discomfort and restricted mobility. It is essential to seek medical evaluation as early intervention can prevent long-term complications.
2. Fractures and Broken Bones
Vehicle accidents can exert tremendous force on the human body, leading to bone fractures and breaks. The most commonly affected areas include the arms, legs, ribs, and pelvis. The severity of these injuries depends on the impact and the body’s position during the accident.
Fractures and broken bones may require surgeries, casts, or braces to facilitate healing. Physical therapy and rehabilitation are often necessary to regain full functionality. Prompt medical attention is vital to assess the extent of the injury and ensure proper treatment.
3. Head Injuries
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) occur when the head sustains a forceful blow or sudden movement, leading to brain damage. Head injuries range from mild concussions to severe traumatic brain injuries.
TBIs can result in a broad spectrum of symptoms, from mild cognitive impairment to severe disability. Recovery from a traumatic brain injury can be long and arduous, often requiring extensive medical intervention and support.
Even seemingly minor head injuries should not be underestimated, as they can have long-lasting effects on cognitive function and overall well-being. Always consult a medical professional if you experience any head trauma.
4. Spinal Cord Injuries
In vehicle accidents, the spinal cord can be susceptible to injury, which can have devastating consequences. Damage to the spinal cord can lead to paralysis or loss of sensation.
Spinal cord injuries require immediate medical attention and long-term rehabilitation to maximize recovery potential. Victims often face significant physical and emotional challenges adapting to new circumstances.
5. Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries, such as bruises, strains, and sprains, may not be immediately visible but can cause prolonged pain and discomfort.
Recovery from soft tissue injuries usually involves rest, physical therapy, and pain management. While these injuries may not be as severe as fractures or TBIs, they still warrant medical attention.
6. Internal Injuries
Internal injuries, such as organ damage or internal bleeding, are not always immediately apparent following an accident. However, they can be life-threatening if left untreated. It’s crucial to be evaluated by a medical professional following a vehicle accident to rule out any internal injuries.
What Causes Vehicle Accident Injuries?
Several factors contribute to the type and severity of injuries resulting from a vehicle accident. Besides the type of vehicle, here are some factors contributing to injuries.
1. Speed and Impact
The severity of injuries in vehicle accidents is often directly proportional to the speed and impact force involved. High-speed collisions often lead to more extensive and life-threatening injuries. Personal injury lawyers report the main factor for the severity of injuries in car accidents is the change in a vehicle’s speed. If the car suddenly stops when moving 10 MPH or less, there is a 1% risk of serious injury. However, if the vehicle travels at 50 MPH and suddenly stops, the risk of serious injury is 52%.
2. Seatbelts and Airbags
While seatbelts and airbags are designed to protect passengers, they can also cause injuries in certain situations. Seatbelts help keep you from being ejected from a vehicle in a crash, which is almost always deadly, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Vehicle occupants not wearing a seat belt could be thrown into a rapidly opening frontal air bag in a crash. The force could cause severe injury or even death. NHTSA reminds us that airbags are designed to work with seat belts, not replace them.
Abrasions, contusions, and chest injuries can occur due to the deployment of airbags and the force exerted by seatbelts during a collision. However, the benefits of wearing seatbelts far outweigh the potential risks.
3. Vehicle Type and Safety Features
The type of vehicle involved can influence the nature of injuries. Smaller, compact cars may offer less protection than larger vehicles or SUVs. Modern safety features, such as crumple zones and electronic stability control, can significantly reduce the risk and severity of injuries. Kelly Blue Book reports that advanced car safety features may reduce the risk of injury by as much as 53%.
Seek Medical Attention
Vehicle accidents can result in a wide array of injuries that can be physically and emotionally taxing. After an accident, seek immediate medical attention, even if the injuries seem minor initially. Some injuries may not manifest symptoms right away. Seeking immediate medical attention is crucial for the well-being of anyone involved in a vehicle accident.