Almost any type of injury can happen in a car accident, and these injuries can range from minor to catastrophic or even fatal. In general, they can be classified as either impact injuries or penetrating injuries. Impact injuries result from the victim’s body striking part of the car, while penetrating injuries result from an object entering the victim’s body. Some injuries may resolve naturally or after a moderate course of treatment, but others may require costly medical procedures or persist for the rest of a victim’s life. This can dramatically affect the amount of compensation that a victim needs.
The type of accident and its mechanics may affect the victim’s injuries. For example, the speed at which the crash occurred, the direction in which the victim was facing, and the direction of the impact can make a major difference. Certain other factors can help mitigate injuries, such as the use of a seatbelt and the presence of functioning airbags. A victim’s failure to use appropriate safety precautions in a vehicle may result in a reduced damages award under the principle of comparative negligence.
A high-speed collision can cause a victim’s head to strike the steering wheel, the windshield, or a side window. They may suffer from not only cuts and bruises to the face but also internal damage to the brain. A sudden jolt to the head can result in a closed head injury like a concussion, as well as more lasting forms of brain damage.
Car accidents can cause damage to the internal organs of a driver or front-seat passenger if their chest strikes the steering wheel, the dashboard, or another internal area of the vehicle. Broken ribs may result from this impact as well. Also, drivers or passengers may be forced abruptly against their seatbelt or shoulder harness, which can cause severe contusions.
Injuries to Limbs
Drivers and passengers have only a limited amount of leg room in a car, so a sudden impact can throw a leg against the dashboard, the front seats, or a door. In serious accidents, this can result in broken legs and shattered joints. A victim’s arm and shoulder also may be thrown against a door, with similar results. Extreme and fortunately rare cases can lead to the amputation of a limb.
Whiplash and Other Soft Tissue Injuries
Whiplash is one of the most common injuries in car accidents, and it has become so frequently cited in claims that many insurers view it suspiciously. This involves the forceful stretching of the muscles and ligaments in a victim’s neck and upper back. Whiplash is just one example of soft tissue injuries, which affect muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Other soft tissue injuries in car accidents can involve the muscles of the middle and lower back.
Many cuts suffered in a car accident resolve smoothly without significant medical treatment. They can occur when objects inside the car are jolted by the force of the impact and strike the victim, or they may happen when an airbag deploys. Some more serious cases require stitches, which may involve greater pain and suffering and more substantial medical bills.