What Are Common Injuries Resulting From Motor Vehicle Accidents?
The whole world knows that Americans love their automobiles. In fact, in 2016, there were more than 268 million motor vehicles registered in the United States. Needless to say, with so many cars, pickups, motorcycles, semi-trucks, and other vehicles on the road, accidents are going to happen. When they do, the hope is that everyone is safe – but unfortunately, that sometimes isn’t the case.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2012, more than 2.5 million people in the United States went to the emergency room as a result of injuries received in motor vehicle crashes. The CDC further concludes that, each year, Americans are hospitalized for more than one million days as the result of injuries from motor vehicle accidents – and that for every person killed in a crash, 99 received emergency room treatment and 8 were hospitalized. The CDC also reports that crash injuries resulted in $18 billion in lifetime medical costs in 2012, more than 75 percent of which occurred during the first 18 months following the crash. Victims lost $33 billion worth of lifetime work.
It’s clear that the injuries resulting from motor vehicle accidents, and the consequences from those injuries, can be severe. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most common of those injuries.
Some of the most common, and familiar, injuries associated with car accidents are fractures. Motor vehicle crashes can throw a passenger violently inside or outside the car, or result in a crush injury, all of which can cause broken bones (fractures), such as the following:
- Displaced fracture – The bone breaks completely and one or more pieces move so that the bone is not lined up correctly.
- Non-displaced fracture – The bone, even though cracked or broken, is still lined up correctly.
- Open fracture – A broken bone comes through the skin.
- Closed fracture – Although the bone is broken, it does not cause a wound to the skin.
Some fractures can be treated with a cast. Others are much more complicated to treat and might require surgery, the use of plates and screws, or hospitalization. Severe fractures can leave a patient with permanent physical limitations.
Head Injuries and Concussions
While seatbelts can do a lot to minimize injury, the head and brain are vulnerable parts of the body that come into immediate danger during a crash.
First of all, a person’s head can strike a window, steering wheel, or other hard surface. The severity of such a concussion can vary, but even a minor concussion should be treated with care. In addition to the contact-related injury, the brain can be jarred violently by sudden movement without striking anything at all, sometimes resulting in a concussion.
Such impact to the brain and head can cause further injury, including broken facial bones and traumatic brain injuries.
Neck injuries are very common in motor vehicle accidents. When a car crashes, it often causes the head to snap suddenly to the front or side. Sometimes called “whiplash,” these sudden movements can injure neck ligaments, resulting in strains or sprains. Minor neck injuries often resolve over time with limited or no treatment; however, serious whiplash injuries can be much more difficult to resolve.
One severe result of whiplash is disc herniation. Conservative treatment can be attempted, which may include physical therapy. However, the patient will often continue to have physical limitations and pain. Sometimes, surgery is necessary to repair the damage.
Sometimes, the thrashing around of the body in a car accident causes injuries to the back, such as sprains and strains, that will hopefully heal completely. But the spine is delicate and vulnerable to more serious injuries, such as broken vertebrae, herniated discs, and even paralysis. Surgeries and hospitalization may be required.
Call with Questions
When careless drivers cause automobile accidents, the injuries suffered by their victims can be devastating. Even after medical treatment, some people have permanent disabilities. To protect all of society, these wrongdoers should be held accountable for their actions.
If you have questions about a motor vehicle collision, or any of the many types of injuries that can occur, our attorneys will be happy to answer them. We have experience with both the law and the medicine involved in these cases. Please call us.