Car accidents cause damage. The most obvious and visible damage is the destruction that your vehicle can suffer in the collision. But car accidents also cause damage to your body that may not be immediately visible.
New Jersey Department of Transportation reported that 278,413 car crashes occurred on public roads in New Jersey in 2018. Of those crashes, a total of 61,043 resulted in injury to one or more of those involved in the crash. Considering that there is a one in five chance that a car accident will to hurt yourself, it is important to know what types of injuries can occur if you are involved in a collision.
Auto collisions involve a large force applied very quickly as two vehicles collide. The direction and amount of force can damage your body by twisting and bending it in a way that it isn’t supposed to bend.
Soft tissue injuries
1 | Bruises / Contusions
Even the most minor of car accidents can cause bruising. A crash can put you in your seat belt, which while doing its job to protect you from serious injury, can leave you with a bruise for a few days afterward. Bruises are rarely serious injuries requiring medical attention and usually heal within a week or two.
2 | Whiplash
The forces at work in a car crash can cause your body to move in ways it shouldn’t, at speeds at which it shouldn’t. If you experience pain or discomfort in your neck and back after a crash, it’s likely you’ve suffered a whiplash – strain on your muscles and ligaments. These tensions can be painful and take several weeks to recover, but whiplash alone rarely results in a permanent injury.
3 | Neck / back injuries
As with whiplash, the intense and rapid force your body experiences in a crash can cause serious damage to your body that may not be immediately noticeable. This can cause hernias or ruptures of the discs in your spine; serious injuries that are very painful and limit your mobility. If the pain persists after several days, or if you have a history of injuries or problems with your neck or back, see an orthopedist to see if you have had a herniated disc. These injuries, while not always permanent, certainly take time to heal. Physical therapy is a very important step in regaining your health, and surgery is not uncommon when you have suffered a serious neck or back injury.
4 | Concussions
In a crash, you can easily bang your head against parts of your car, causing a concussion. You may experience memory problems, such as not remembering what you were doing before the crash, or feeling like your brain is just not working as quickly as it usually does. Prompt treatment for any type of head injury is crucial. Not only will the treatment help relieve the headaches you are likely to suffer from, but it will also help restore your brain to a healthy state.
5 | Traumatic brain injury
These injuries can have potentially life-altering effects. A traumatic brain injury can change the way your brain works, handles information, and processes emotions. While you can recover from a brain injury to some extent, depending on the type and severity of the damage, treatment can be a lifelong process.
Mental and emotional injuries
6 | Post-traumatic stress disorder
Anytime our bodies go through an extremely stressful situation – like a car accident – there is the potential to develop emotional and mental conditions such as PTSD. Symptoms can include fear of driving after an accident, aversion to certain sounds or images associated with the collision, or even problems sleeping due to anxiety or nightmares. Treatment is your best option because psychologists and therapists can help you fight PTSD and get back to your normal life.
7 | Broken bones
The impact of a collision can cause your body to collide with other parts of the vehicle, putting your skeleton under stress that it cannot resist. This can happen in several ways. Your arm can get caught between your body and the door and fracture. Or the speed at which your seat belt stops can fracture some of your ribs. Bone fractures are very common injuries and are rarely permanent or life threatening, although some fractures may require surgery to secure the bone and place equipment to help your bones heal. Depending on the type of break, you might need a month or two of rest and recovery, but you’ll likely get back to normal pretty quickly if your treatment goes well.
8 | Internal bleeding
Your organs are delicate. The forces of a car accident can damage them and cause them to bleed. These serious injuries are very common in high speed collisions. It is important that they are treated quickly to prevent them from threatening your life.
Tips on car accidents to remember:
Wear a seat belt: Although they will not prevent injury, wearing your seat belt does seatbelt protects your body from even worse damage.
Call an ambulance and go to the hospital: Timely treatment of your injuries is the best way to ensure that you recover as quickly and fully as possible.
© 2021 by Console and associates. All rights reserved.Revue nationale de droit, volume X, number 268