Did you know that more than three million people will be injured in car accidents this year? That is a rather daunting statistic, but one that should be taken to heart. Though it is not always possible to prevent accidents, there is much that can be done to help ensure the safety of yourself and those riding with you.
Recognizing the types of injuries that can occur as the result of a collision is important. It is also essential to understand that the symptoms of these potential serious injuries are not always immediately evident.
Injuries suffered will generally depend on the direction and severity of the impact. Those most directly impacted by the force will typically see more injuries than those on the opposite end of the car. Furthermore, those failing to wear a seat belt or those not protected by air bags can be harmed more greatly. All of these factors can lead to one of the following common and serious injuries.
Whiplash is a type of injury commonly suffered when the head is jarred in some direction due to an unexpected impact. The unanticipated and quick movement can damage muscles, nerves, and other soft tissue. In minor cases, the discomfort will disappear after a few days, but when permanent injury is done to the discs, ligaments, muscles, or nerves, symptoms can last much longer or may never fully go away. Symptoms can include pain, headaches, dizziness, and tingling in the arms or hands. Generally symptoms arise within 24 hours of an accident, but may not be present immediately after the collision. Saint Petersburg medical professionals will generally recommend a series of x-rays and scans to ensure permanent damage has not been done. Pain relievers are often prescribed and the injury may call for long term physical therapy or chiropractic care.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
The most common accident injuries tend to be less severe that TBI – including lacerations and bruising – but, unfortunately, this form of brain injury occurs far too frequently for comfort. To make matters worse, TBI accounts for many deaths each year and there can be upward of three million reported cases annually. The cause, not surprisingly, is a significant bump to the head, like what one might see in a St. Petersburg accident. Many things can happen to the head and brain, which might fall under the designation of TBI, including blood clots, lacerations, penetrating injury, nerve damage, skull fracture, and more. Ultimately, brain injury can result in temporary or lasting brain damage. Symptoms are numerous and will depend on the part of the brain impacted. Those symptoms may not be present right away. For this reason, it is essential that anyone who suffered a blow to the head in an accident seek immediate medical care afterward.
Spinal Cord Trauma
It is easy to understand how a sudden and harsh force could be damaging to the spinal cord. The symptoms vary depending on the area of the spinal cord impacted, but may include numbness, tingling in the limbs, breathing difficulties, abnormal sweating, weakness or paralysis, pain, or loss of bowel and bladder control.
The lasting pain and discomfort that many people report in their backs after a car accident can be a result of whiplash, which (despite widespread misconception) does not affect the neck alone. More severe pain, however, is an even greater problem. If the seat belt fails, the accident traps the victim, or that person must be hauled out in a hurry, serious back injuries can result. Discs can slip, herniate, or bulge causing lasting pain. There are can be fractures or breaks sustained.
Unfortunately, temporary or permanent facial disfiguration is not uncommon after car accidents. Broken glass can become imbedded in the delicate tissue, large scrapes, bleeding, swelling, broken bones, and much more can occur when a face comes into sudden and harsh contact with dashboards, steering wheels, seat backs, or even airbags.
Some injuries are immediately evident after a car accident. Others won’t be noted for several minutes, hours, or even days afterward. Among the most dangerous of those often invisible injuries occur internally. When damage is done to the internal organs, ribs, or vessels, and the problem is not caught quickly, there can be lasting damage sustained, or worse. These injuries are life threatening and should be treated immediately.
It is easy to see why the after effects of car accidents can quickly escalate. Be sure that you are acting responsibly and in your best interest. Seek medical care after an accident, speak to a personal injury attorney, and carefully monitor your symptoms in the hours and days that follow.