Getting into a car accident isn’t something any of us expect to happen, whether we’re headed into work, taking to kids to school, on a family road trip or simply running daily errands. Yet every day, thousands of car wrecks occur on U.S. roadways — some minor, some resulting in injuries and, sadly, about 100 resulting in the death of at least one person.
According to road crash statistics, about 2.3 million Americans are injured or permanently disabled in car accidents each year. Injuries can occur due to impact or from broken glass and sharp parts of the car that come in contact with the body. The most common car accident injuries include head injuries, neck and back injuries, pelvic or abdominal injuries, leg, knee and foot injuries and broken bones.
Head injuries can occur as a result of a blow to the head or a piercing injury. Some head injuries result in brain damage, or traumatic brain injury (TBI). Mild concussions are common and typically heal on their own, but other head and brain injuries can impair functions such as speech, vision, memory and cognitive skills.
Neck and back injuries
The most common injury to the neck or back in a car accident is whiplash. It is caused by the abrupt jerking motion of the head backwards and forwards or side to side and occurs as a result of sudden braking or acceleration during impact.
Whiplash can cause damage to the vertebrae, ligaments, discs and/or spinal column. In serious cases, injury to the back or neck may result in paralysis or partial loss of function on one or both sides of the body. Neck and back injuries can also cause chronic pain that affects daily life and reduces quality of life for the victim. In many cases, a car accident victim who suffers a back or neck injury may require physical therapy and sometimes even surgery.
Pelvic and abdominal injuries
The abdominal organs and pelvic structure are also prone to injury in car accidents. The pelvis can become compressed or fractured and abdominal organs such as the spleen, kidneys and liver may experience bruising or bleeding after a car accident.
Leg, knee and foot injuries
If the vehicle is smashed or the driver or passengers become entangled in the wrecked car, it can lead to injuries to the lower extremities. From minor cuts and bruises to torn ligaments, sprains, strains and dislocations, the legs, knees and/or feet are not immune to injury in many car accidents.
Broken bones are common in automotive accidents, whether due to the impact of the collision or from being crushed in the wreckage. Depending on the severity of the broken bone, the injury may require only casting, while others may necessitate surgery and hospitalization. Bones that are broken into multiple pieces may require plates or screws to piece them back together.
If you are involved in a car accident, receiving immediate medical attention is essential to quickly evaluating and treating any injuries you may have suffered during the wreck. Even if you don’t feel instant pain, it is wise to receive a medical evaluation after the wreck. If you are injured, receiving immediate medical attention can help if you choose to seek a personal injury claim for your injuries resulting from the accident. Waiting days or weeks to get checked out makes it more difficult to win a personal injury lawsuit.
If you’ve been in a car accident and suffered a back or neck injury, contact Houston’s trusted spine surgeon, Dr. Vivek Kushwaha, today.