Car accidents can be traumatic experiences, even more so if you suffered major injuries. They can be long-lasting or permanent. Common car accident injuries include whiplash, broken bones, and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Knowing how to identify them and their symptoms is crucial for getting proper treatment.
It’s also important to understand the potential long-term impacts of car accident injuries in order to take preventive measures. In this article, we will discuss common types of car accident injuries, their diagnosis and treatment as well as ways to prevent future injury from car accidents.
Note: This article is meant for information purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice. If you or someone you know was seriously injured in an accident, you should seek medical treatment right away and call car accident lawyers at The Dominguez Firm at (800) 818-1818 for a free consultation.
Overview of Common Types of Car Accident Injuries
Whiplash is one of the most common types of car accident injuries and is caused by a rapid back-and-forth motion of the head and neck. It can cause pain, stiffness, tenderness, and difficulty moving your head or neck. Whiplash is often a result of rear-end collisions when one vehicle slams into another from behind.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries are caused by damage to muscles, ligaments, tendons, or nerves as a result of an accident. While these injuries may not be visible on an X-ray, they can still cause significant pain and discomfort. Soft tissue injuries range from strains to more serious tears that require surgery to repair.
Fractures are broken bones caused by direct impact during an auto collision or indirect forces such as twisting or bending. Fractures may require casting or even surgery depending on their severity. Commonly fractured bones in car accidents include ribs, arms and legs, shoulder blades, wrists and ankles, hips and pelvis, collarbone and shoulder blade area (clavicle), and skull fractures (rare).
Head injuries can range from mild concussions to TBIs which can be life-altering if not treated properly. They are often caused by blunt force trauma when the head hits something such as a steering wheel or window during an accident. Symptoms include headache/migraines; dizziness; loss of balance; ringing in ears; confusion/disorientation; nausea/vomiting; blurred vision; insomnia/ sleeping problems; difficulty concentrating; irritability/mood swings; memory loss/forgetfulness; slurred speech/difficulty talking; sensitivity to light & noise; fatigue/exhaustion.
Symptoms and Diagnosis of Whiplash
If you experience any of the following symptoms after being involved in a vehicle collision, you may be suffering from whiplash:
- Neck pain or stiffness
- Decreased range of head motion
- Headaches (usually starting at the base of the skull)
- Shoulder pain
- Upper back pain
- Blurry vision
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Difficulty concentrating; irritability
If you experience any of these symptoms after an auto accident, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible to receive a proper diagnosis. Your doctor will likely begin by taking your medical history, including questions about when the incident occurred and what type of impact was experienced. The doctor may also ask about any previous injuries or illnesses that could be related to your current condition.
Next, the doctor will conduct a physical examination that may include testing for range-of-motion in your neck, feeling for tender spots on your neck muscles, examining your spine for signs of misalignment or nerve irritation, and checking for other signs such as swelling or discoloration. In some cases, imaging tests such as an x-ray or an MRI may be conducted to get a better view of potential damage within the soft tissues.
Once whiplash has been properly diagnosed, treatment can begin right away depending on the severity of the injury. Treatment options vary depending on each case but may include physical therapy, medications (i.e., muscle relaxants), cervical collars/braces to immobilize the neck while healing takes place, massage therapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture and other non-invasive techniques designed to reduce pain and increase mobility over time. Depending on how severe your case is, surgery may even be an option for more serious cases where paralysis or other long-term damage is present due to trauma from the accident itself.
Treatment Options for Broken Bones
The most important step in treating any broken bone is seeking medical attention as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of the fracture, there are several treatment options available, including:
- Casting: This is one of the most common treatments for fractures because it immobilizes the affected area and helps promote healing. The cast will stay on until your doctor determines that the bone has healed enough and is ready to bear weight.
- External Fixation: If your fracture is more severe, then your doctor may opt to use external fixation to stabilize it. This involves using pins or rods outside the skin to hold the bones together while they heal. This method also allows you to remain active during recovery since it does not require full immobilization as casting does.
- Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair more complicated fractures such as those involving multiple bones or joints. During surgery, metal plates, screws, and wires may be used to hold the fractured bones together until they have healed sufficiently.
It is crucial to remember that each case of broken bones due to car accident injuries is unique and requires individualized care from experienced medical professionals. Your doctor will be able to determine which treatment option best suits you based on your medical history and personal preferences when recovering from a fracture due to a car accident injury.
Managing Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Symptoms
Symptoms of traumatic brain injury vary from person to person and can include difficulty with concentration and memory, confusion, impaired judgment, fatigue, headaches, sleep disturbances, changes in mood or behavior, dizziness or loss of balance, problems with vision, hearing, or speech; sensitivity to light and sound, nausea and vomiting. If you have been in a car accident and experienced any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor immediately for an evaluation.
Managing TBI Symptoms
Once your doctor has evaluated your symptoms and identified that you have suffered a traumatic brain injury, there are steps you can take to help manage your symptoms. Some common treatments include rest, avoiding activities that could worsen your symptoms (such as driving), physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, medications such as antidepressants or anti-seizure drugs, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), massage therapy, acupuncture, and yoga.
While it’s important to follow your doctor’s advice on what type of treatment is best for you, there are some things you can do on your own as well. For instance, getting plenty of sleep each night helps reduce fatigue during the day. Eating healthy foods helps keep your energy levels up throughout the day so that you’re able to stay active. Finally, staying socially connected helps fight loneliness and depression associated with TBIs.
Long-Term Impacts of Car Accident Injuries
The immediate impact of a car accident is physical trauma and pain. Depending on how severe the crash was, victims may experience anything from whiplash or sprains to broken bones or internal injuries. It’s important to get proper medical attention right away to ensure that you receive the necessary treatment to heal quickly and properly. Additionally, lingering physical pain after the initial treatment period can be a sign of more serious underlying problems that require further medical attention and care.
Mental Health Impacts
Car accidents don’t just affect your physical well-being. They can also have a long-term impact on your mental health. These can include anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sleep disturbances, and other psychological issues related to traumatic experiences. It’s important to recognize these symptoms early, so you can get appropriate help for them as soon as possible. If left untreated, mental health issues could lead to substance abuse or suicidal thoughts down the line.
In addition to physical and emotional repercussions, car accidents usually have financial implications as well. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may incur significant medical bills due to hospital visits and ongoing treatments, not to mention lost wages if you are unable to work while recovering from those injuries. If the injuries were serious, you’ll need to hire a personal injury attorney in order to go after those responsible. Your attorney can help you seek compensation for the financial and emotional cost of your car accident injuries.
Getting Help After an Accident
No one should have to suffer the consequences of a car accident alone. If you or someone close to you has been injured in an auto collision, you must seek out help for your physical and emotional well-being as soon as possible.
If your medical bills are piling up and you’re unable to work due to your injuries, contact The Dominguez Firm at (800) 818-1818 for a free legal case consultation right away. Let our experienced car accident lawyers handle the insurance companies so you can concentrate on getting better.