Motor vehicle accidents are, unfortunately, all too common on Kansas City roads. These accidents can result in a wide range of injuries depending on the types of vehicles involved, collision speeds, road conditions, and other factors.
It’s important to note that no two accidents are alike. Seemingly minor car crashes like rear-end fender benders can still result in whiplash and other serious injuries. And more serious side-impact collisions may only result in bruises and muscle aches, depending on the circumstances of the accident. Certainly, there are common patterns, but the severity of an injury can be as unpredictable as the accident itself.
That said, however, data from the NHTSA offers some insight into what you can reasonably expect if you’re involved in a motor vehicle accident. For example, severe injuries and fatalities are more common in certain types of vehicles than in others:
Despite many improvements in vehicle safety technology in recent years, there were still 38,824 fatal crashes on US roads in 2020.
Categories of Car Accident Injuries
Generally speaking, car accident injuries can be categorized broadly as Impact Injuries and Penetrating Injuries.
- Impact injuries occur when a passenger strikes any component of the car’s interior, like a window or steering wheel, or is thrown from the vehicle and hits the ground or other objects.
- Penetrating injuries occur when loose objects flying around the vehicle, like broken glass, strike or cut the passenger.
Both types of injuries can be severe, and it’s essential that medical professionals accurately diagnose all injuries so they can be documented for victims who wish to pursue compensation for damages resulting from the crash.
Head Trauma and Back Injuries
Head and back injuries are some of the most serious and common outcomes of car accidents. Among these, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are particularly concerning. TBIs occur when a sudden trauma, such as the impact of a car crash, damages the brain.
Concussions: This type of mild TBI is caused by a blow to the head or a sudden, violent shake. Symptoms can include headaches, confusion, dizziness, and temporary loss of consciousness. Though classified as ‘mild,’ concussions should be taken seriously, as repeated incidents can lead to long-term damage.
Contusions: A contusion is essentially a bruise on the brain caused by an impact to the head. In severe cases, large contusions may need to be removed surgically.
Coup-Contrecoup Injuries: These occur when the force of an impact is so great that it causes the brain to slam into the opposite side of the skull, causing damage at both the site of impact and on the opposite side.
Diffuse Axonal Injuries: These are one of the most devastating types of TBI. They occur when the brain is violently jolted or shaken, causing the brain’s long connecting nerve fibers (axons) to tear. This type of injury can result in permanent brain damage or death.
While head injuries have their own level of severity, back injuries resulting from car accidents should certainly not be overlooked. These can range from minor strains to severe injuries that could potentially have life-long effects.
Herniated Discs: The spine consists of a series of bones (vertebrae) cushioned by small, spongy discs. When a disc becomes damaged, it might rupture or bulge outward, a condition known as a herniated disc. This can put pressure on the spinal nerves, causing pain, numbness, or weakness in one or both legs.
Spinal Cord Injuries: Spinal cord injuries are arguably one of the most severe types of back injuries because they can lead to partial or complete paralysis. The extent of the damage usually depends on the part of the spinal cord that is affected. For instance, an injury in the upper part of the spinal cord could result in tetraplegia (also known as quadriplegia), affecting both the arms and legs.
Spinal Fractures: The impact from a car accident can cause different types of spinal fractures. Compression fractures are one of the most common, which can cause the vertebrae to collapse. More severe fractures could cause bone fragments to damage the spinal cord.
Whiplash: This injury often affects the neck but can also impact the upper back. It happens due to a rapid back-and-forth motion of the neck, similar to the cracking of a whip. This often leads to soft tissue injuries causing pain and discomfort in the neck and upper back area.
Strains and Sprains: Even seemingly minor back injuries, such as strains and sprains, should be treated with care. These injuries occur when the muscles or ligaments in the back are stretched too far or torn. This can result in persistent pain and discomfort, with recovery times varying from a few weeks to several months.
Remember, any head or back injury should be treated as serious, no matter how minor it may initially seem. The importance of seeking immediate medical attention after a car accident cannot be stressed enough. Some injuries, particularly those related to the head and back, can have delayed symptoms that may lead to severe health complications if left untreated.
Neck and Chest Injuries After an Accident
In the wake of a car accident, injuries to the neck and chest are commonplace and can range from mild to severe, affecting various parts of the body.
Whiplash: Whiplash, the most common neck injury in car accidents, is a result of the sudden back-and-forth movement of the neck during a collision. This rapid movement can cause the ligaments in the neck to stretch and tear, leading to pain, stiffness, and often a reduced range of motion. Symptoms of whiplash may not always appear immediately after an accident but can develop over hours or even days.
Neck Fractures: More severe impacts can lead to fractures in the cervical vertebrae (the bones in the neck). These can be incredibly serious, often requiring immediate medical attention, and can sometimes lead to paralysis or other serious complications.
Chest Injuries: Chest injuries are a frequent result of the sudden, forceful impact of a car crash. They can range from bruising or contusions to more severe injuries like broken ribs or sternum.
Internal Injuries: Perhaps the most severe chest injuries involve damage to internal organs. The force of a car accident can cause trauma to the heart, lungs, liver, spleen, or kidneys, which can lead to life-threatening situations. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, difficulty breathing, or internal bleeding.
Seat Belt Injuries: While seat belts are vital for safety, they can sometimes cause injuries in a car crash due to the force exerted on the body. Common seat belt injuries include bruising, soft tissue injuries, or fractures, generally in the shoulder or chest area.
Airbag Injuries: Airbags, while lifesaving, can cause injuries, particularly if they deploy with too much force or if occupants are sitting too close to the steering wheel. These can include burns, bruising, or fractures, often to the upper body and face.
Neck and chest injuries, given their proximity to vital organs and structures, can be serious and even life-threatening. As such, anyone involved in a car accident should seek immediate medical attention, even if symptoms are not immediately evident. Delayed treatment of such injuries can lead to severe health complications down the line.
Soft Tissue Injuries Caused by a Car Accident
Soft tissue injuries are damage inflicted on the body’s connective tissue, including muscles, ligaments, and tendons. These injuries are widespread in car accidents due to the body’s abrupt motion and forceful impact.
Sprains: A sprain is an injury that occurs when a ligament is stretched beyond its usual limits or torn. These injuries are common in car accidents, particularly in the wrist, ankle, or knee. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and difficulty moving the affected joint.
Strains: Strains are similar to sprains but involve injuries to muscles or tendons rather than ligaments. Like sprains, strains often occur in the extremities, resulting in pain, swelling, and reduced mobility.
Contusions (Bruises): These occur when small blood vessels under the skin are damaged, typically due to blunt force trauma. Contusions can cause skin discoloration, swelling, and tenderness.
Whiplash: While commonly associated with neck injuries, whiplash is technically a type of soft tissue injury. It occurs when the soft tissues in the neck are stretched and strained due to rapid, forceful movement.
Tendonitis: Although not directly caused by the impact of a car accident, tendonitis (inflammation of a tendon) can develop following a strain or overuse during the recovery process.
Bursitis: Similar to tendonitis, bursitis (inflammation of the bursae, the small sacs of fluid that cushion the joints) can develop after an accident due to injury or overuse during rehabilitation.
It’s important to note that while soft tissue injuries may seem less serious than fractures or head injuries, they can still lead to significant pain, discomfort, and disability. Furthermore, these injuries often aren’t immediately apparent after an accident and can take hours, days, or even weeks to become symptomatic. Thus, seeking a thorough medical evaluation following any car accident is crucial to identify and adequately treat any potential injuries.
Arm and Leg Injuries from a Car Crash
Car crashes can cause many injuries to the extremities due to their exposed and often vulnerable positioning. From minor to severe, these injuries can significantly impact a person’s daily life and activities.
Fractures: The force exerted during a car accident can easily result in broken bones in the arms and legs. These fractures can range from simple breaks, which require a cast and healing time, to complex fractures that may need surgery and can result in long-term complications.
Dislocations: Dislocations occur when the bones in a joint are forced out of their normal positions, often due to a sudden impact. Commonly dislocated joints in car accidents include the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles.
Sprains and Strains: As with soft tissue injuries, a car crash’s sudden movement and impact can cause sprains (injuries to ligaments) and strains (injuries to muscles or tendons) in the arms and legs.
Cuts and Lacerations: Broken glass, metal fragments, and other debris can cause cuts and lacerations during a car crash. While some are minor and only require basic first aid, others can be deep and require stitches or surgery.
Crush Injuries: An arm or leg may be crushed between objects in severe accidents. These injuries can be extremely serious, leading to significant damage to the skin, muscle, bone, and other tissues, and may, in some cases, necessitate amputation.
Soft Tissue Injuries: The muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the arms and legs can be stretched or torn in a car crash, leading to pain, swelling, and a loss of function.
It’s essential to seek immediate medical attention after a car crash, even if you think your injuries are minor. Some arm and leg injuries may not cause pain or other symptoms immediately but can become serious if left untreated. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial to recovery and can provide necessary documentation should you seek compensation for your injuries.
How Much Are Car Accident Injuries Worth?
The value of a car accident injury claim depends on several factors, including the severity of the injury, the cost of medical treatment, lost wages, and the impact on the victim’s life. A responsible attorney, like Donovan with Plaza Injury Law, would never try to guess the value of a claim in the initial consultation. It is important to have an opportunity to review the medical records and bills as well as other factors that could have an impact on value such as lost wages and even the conduct of the tortfeasor at the time of injury. In general, more severe injuries result in higher compensation. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average bodily injury claim following a car accident resulted in $22,734 in compensation in 2021. A reader survey from Martindale-Nolo also revealed that car accident victims received $23,900 on average for car accident claims settled between 2015 and 2020.
The value of a car accident injury claim can vary significantly depending on the nature and severity of the injuries sustained. If you’ve been injured in a car crash, you should be compensated for:
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
- Property Damage
- Punitive Damages
Given the wide range of factors that can influence the value of a car accident injury claim, it can be highly beneficial to have experienced legal representation to ensure you receive the total compensation you are entitled to. Donovan Dodrill has extensive experience handling car accident claims and is dedicated to achieving the best possible outcome for his clients. Contact him today to schedule a confidential and free consultation.
Seek Professional Help After a Car Crash Injury: Contact Plaza Injury Law
After a car accident, it’s crucial to seek both medical and legal assistance. Donovan Dodrill of Plaza Injury Law is a dedicated personal injury attorney with a proven track record. With his comprehensive understanding of the law, empathy for his clients, and tenacious approach, he ensures you get the justice you deserve.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What is the most common injury from a car crash?
A: While car crashes can result in various injuries, whiplash is one of the most common due to the sudden jolting typical in these accidents.
Q: What are common injuries from being hit by a car?
A: Pedestrians hit by cars can suffer from various injuries, including fractures, internal injuries, head and spinal injuries, and soft tissue injuries.
Q: What is typical pain after a car accident?
A: Pain after a car accident can range from mild discomfort to severe pain, depending on the injuries sustained. It is common to experience neck pain (whiplash), back pain, headaches, or limb pain.
Q: How much are car accident injuries worth?
A: The worth of a car accident injury varies widely based on factors like injury severity, medical costs, lost earnings, and the impact on quality of life.
Understanding car accident injuries, their potential impact and the processes involved in seeking compensation can be complex. Donovan Dodrill of Plaza Injury Law can provide the professional assistance and guidance you need to navigate these challenges effectively.