Every car accident involves three separate collisions: the vehicle collision, human collision, and internal collision. These collisions happen when the forward velocity of the vehicle, human, and internal organs ends by colliding with a stationary object, such as components inside the vehicle or the body’s frame. The human and internal collisions are what cause personal injuries in auto accidents. The following are five of the most common car accident injuries for 2018, according to collected crash data.
Soft tissue injuries refer to damage to the body’s connective tissues, including the tendons, muscles, and ligaments. These injuries are common in car accidents because the gravitational forces involved in a motor vehicle collision tend to whip the head, neck, back, and other parts of the body around at high speeds. If the tissues cannot withstand the force of the accident, they will stretch and/or tear.
The most common soft tissue injury in car accidents is whiplash. If someone suffers whiplash, he or she has damaged ligaments in the neck and upper back (cervical spine). Even a low-speed rear-end collision can cause enough force to result in whiplash. This painful neck injury is temporarily disabling, often forcing the victim to take time away from work. Other back soft tissue injuries, such as slipped disks, are equally debilitating.
The driver side airbag and seatbelt can prevent the driver from flying too far forward in an auto accident, but this safety equipment generally won’t prevent the knees from moving forward – often striking the steering column and/or ignition switch. This can cause serious knee injuries, including sprains, strains, ligament tears, ACL tears, meniscus tears, and bone fractures. Knee injuries can be very painful, leading to joint swelling and long recovery times. They may require surgeries for treatment, along with weeks or months of rehabilitation.
Broken bones are also relatively common results of auto accidents. When the body collides with stationary objects inside the vehicle, such as the steering wheel or window, the bones can fracture under the strain of impact. Fractures can take the form of small cracks, simple breaks, or compound fractures that break the skin. Broken bones can force a victim to take time off work and immobilize the affected area for weeks or even months. Serious bone breaks in vulnerable areas such as the skull or spine can impact a victim for life and even be fatal.
If the head strikes anything in an auto accident (a common occurrence), the skull and/or brain could sustain an injury. Skull fractures could cause a penetrating brain injury, where fragments of the skull pierce the brain. Closed head injuries could result in concussions, hematoma, or brain swelling. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are extremely serious and require emergency medical care. TBIs can cause lasting damage to the survivor’s motor function, cognitive skills, and other abilities. Permanent brain injuries from auto accidents will affect a victim for life.
Spinal cord injuries are another extremely serious type of personal injury. If the spinal cord fractures, severs or sustains damage to its nerves, the injury could cause paralysis. A severed spine can result in an incomplete or complete injury, in which the victim loses some or all sensation and movement below the point of injury on the spine. Currently, no cure for spinal cord injuries exists. The crash victim will have to live the rest of his/her life with serious disabilities, such as the inability to walk, move the arms, control bladder/bowel, eat, and even breathe – if the person survives the injury, that is.
No matter what injuries you or a loved one sustained in a car accident, contact an experienced Montana car accident attorney for assistance.