By some estimates, as many as half of the six million automobile accidents which occur in the United States each year result in injuries, more than two million of which are considered permanent. According to the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the associated annual cost in medical treatment and lost work exceeds $30 billion.
Naturally, the best way to reduce crash injuries is to reduce the number of accidents. Programs aimed at prevention include graduated driver licensing and sobriety checkpoints. Of course, there will always be some accidents that are unavoidable. The development of airbag technology and improved rates of seatbelt usage can often prevent or reduce the severity of injuries from a crash.
Despite design improvements, some vehicle accidents still result in serious injuries. Some of the most common ones are described below.
If you or a loved one has suffered one of these injuries or other serious harm from an automobile accident, having an experienced and aggressive car accident lawyer on your side can help you navigate the complex and sometimes bewildering process of obtaining appropriate compensation.
Sudden contact between the head and a hard surface is common in collisions. Even if this does not cause loss of consciousness, traumatic injury can result. What seems to be a relatively mild injury, sometimes referred to generically as a concussion, may in reality be a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical evaluation. More severe trauma can cause temporary or permanent impairment of speech, vision or cognition.
A sudden blow to the head may also result in eye or ear damage, fractures of the facial or jaw bones and broken or lost teeth.
While less visible than others, these injuries can be just as debilitating as any other. Because a collision usually causes sudden stopping or acceleration of the vehicle, the occupants may be thrown forward and then backward quickly, causing injury to the neck or back vertebrae, ligaments or vertebral discs. In extreme cases, temporary or permanent paralysis or even death may result, but even a less severe injury may cause debilitating pain that can last the rest of the victim’s life.
The sudden acceleration or deceleration in a collision violently throws occupants about inside the vehicle. This can fracture rib, pelvic or other bones. The heart, spleen, lungs, kidneys or other vital organs may be slammed against the abdominal wall, resulting in severe internal damage.
Most are the result of the limb violently striking a hard surface in the car. Injuries can be relatively minor, such as sprains or bruises, or potentially life-threatening. Amputations of limbs can also occur in severe crashes.
Numerous studies have shown that even those crash victims fortunate enough to escape with minor physical injuries may still suffer from the symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). These include depression, anxiety, and sleeplessness. If left untreated, PTSD can have a lasting negative impact on the victim’s quality of life.