No one sets out to drive somewhere and thinks they’ll be injured in a car accident. But more than 7,500 people are injured in car accidents every day in the U.S. Some injuries are minor and barely need medical attention. But others can be more severe, even life-altering or life-threatening. Here’s what you need to know about injuries caused by car accidents.
Common Types of Injuries Caused by Car Accidents
Car accidents can lead to everything from a minor bruise to death, and they can cause injuries to every part of the body, from head to toe. Many variables affect this, including the size and number of vehicles involved, the vehicles’ speed, and the proximity to each other when the accident occurred. Regardless of how minor the accident seemed at first, know that even a minor accident can lead to injury, so you should visit a doctor as soon as possible after the accident.
- Spinal cord and back injuries. Back and spinal cord injuries can take the form of fractured or dislocated vertebrae and bruising or tearing of spinal cord tissue. There is an extensive range of symptoms, some of which may be permanent. Someone could lose the sensation of heat, cold, and touch; they could lose control of their bladder and/or bowel; they may have chronic pain; they could have involuntary spasms or tics; and they could have loss of motion varying from range to full paraplegia or quadriplegia,
- Broken bones. There are more than 200 bones in the adult human body, from the toes to the top of the head. Any of these bones can be injured or broken in a car accident. Some of these fractures will heal quickly, but more severe fractures may take time, require additional medical treatment or therapy, or result in permanent physical limitations. In the most severe cases, limbs could end up amputated.
- Soft tissue damage. It’s easy to dismiss this category as “just” bruises, strains, or sprains. However, soft tissue damage also includes more severe damage to muscles, ligaments, and tendons. These injuries can be debilitating and cause ongoing pain and limited mobility.
- Brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are frequently the result of car accidents. (Note: a concussion is a type of TBI.) These can cause permanent brain damage or even be fatal, depending on the severity of the accident and the blow to the skull.
- Burns. When a vehicle fire is involved, or someone is subject to hot liquids, surfaces, chemicals, or rising steam, they can become severely burned. That could lead to surgery and skin grafting.
- Internal injuries. This category, which includes internal bleeding, is one of the most likely not to present symptoms immediately. Because it’s also one of the most dangerous, someone in a car accident must seek medical attention immediately, even if they feel fine.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). One injury that’s not physical is PTSD. Someone’s mental health can be adversely affected by the trauma of the accident.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents?
There are many causes of car accidents, and many of them, although not all, are preventable. That’s why it’s essential to keep your focus on not only your driving but the others driving around you while out on the road.
This is not an all-inclusive list, but it covers the most common factors contributing to vehicle accidents.
- Distracted drivers. There are many distractions for drivers today. In fact, distracted driving is the leading cause of fatal car accidents in the U.S., which is even worse when you consider that these types of accidents are nearly always preventable. Top among the distractions, despite many states having hands-free laws (including Washington state), are cell phones. But eating while in the car, adjusting dials or touchscreens, or rummaging through bags in the passenger seat all count as distracted driving.
- Speeders. There’s a direct relationship between people driving over the speed limit and the potential for a car accident.
- Ignoring traffic laws and signage. Running stop signs and stop lights, refusing to yield when required, not signaling when turning or changing lanes, or driving the wrong way down the road are all examples of things that lead to accidents.
- Driving while under the influence. Whether under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it doesn’t take much of either to impair judgment and reflexes, which leads to accidents.
- Unsafe vehicle design or manufacturing. Not as common, although not nonexistent, is the fault resting with the vehicle’s designer or manufacturer for improper design or parts.
What Should I Do if I’ve Been Injured in a Car Accident?
First, you should consider seeking medical care, even if you feel fine.. There are many injuries and accident-related conditions that don’t present symptoms right away. Delaying medical care could also cause the other driver’s attorney to claim that any injuries that arise occurred after the accident, not because of it.
Then call us at 509-638-1414 to request a free consultation. Our experienced, knowledgeable personal injury attorneys understand the law in Washington state and will work to get the best possible outcomes for you.
However, be careful about communicating with the other driver’s attorney or insurance representative. They’re working for the other driver’s best interests, not yours, and will try to either get you to say something that indicates you accept fault for the accident or they’ll try to get you to accept a settlement much lower than you may be eligible for. If you hire Church & Page to help you, say nothing, sign nothing, and refer them to your attorney.