Common Car Accident Injuries
Car crash injuries can turn your life upside-down in an instant. Even a relatively mild auto accident can result in injuries such as lacerations and whiplash. A more serious accident may result in broken bones, organ damage, or catastrophic brain or spinal cord injuries.
Due to the traumatic and sudden nature of crashes, many people who experience car accident injuries don’t realize how severely they’ve been injured at first. Injured victims may have insurance adjusters or others pressuring them to “shake it off,” keep working, or otherwise ignore or diminish the injuries — all of which can have a profoundly negative impact on the victim’s ability to collect full and fair compensation.
For over two decades, Scott Zlotolow and his team of New York personal injury attorneys have fought for the rights of clients injured in auto accidents. We know that even a “minor” car accident injury can leave you struggling to pay the bills, deal with car repairs, and take care of the dozens of other tasks your everyday life demands. That’s why we fight for the maximum compensation your case is worth.
Schedule a free consultation with our team today.
Head and Neck Injuries
Perhaps one of the most well-known car accident injuries is “whiplash,” a soft-tissue injury to the neck that occurs when the head moves forward and backward quickly due to sudden force, such as the force of being hit by another vehicle. Many rear-end car accident injuries include whiplash, as well as head injuries or facial injuries.
In a 2009 study published in the journal International Emergency Nursing, researchers examined the case histories of 6,709 patients who were admitted to various hospitals with head and neck injuries after a car accident. The researchers found that 87.2 percent of the patients had “mild” injuries, and that young adults ages 20-44 were most likely to suffer these types of injuries. However, the researchers found that no age group is immune to head and neck injuries.
Broken bones in the head and neck, muscle damage, and ruptured blood vessels or other structures in the head and neck may also occur during a motor vehicle accident, especially if a blow to the head or neck occurs. In some cases, injury to the brain or spinal cord may also occur.
Traumatic Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and spinal cord injuries (SCIs) are among the most complex car accident injuries. They can also be the most difficult to treat.
Perhaps the most well-known type of traumatic brain injury is the concussion. Concussions are most often caused by a blow to the head. This may happen when the head hits an object like the dashboard or steering wheel, or when the head is hit by another object, such as flying debris. While severe concussions can cause permanent disability or death, even a mild concussion can cause lingering problems with mood, memory, attention, and thinking-related tasks you once found simple, like mental math or spelling basic words.
Spinal cord injuries occur when the nerve fibers inside the bones of the spine are damaged. A “complete” spinal cord injury, in which the spinal cord is severed, results in paralysis below the site of the injury. An “incomplete” injury can result in loss of mobility or feeling in the area below the injury site. Both types of spinal cord injury can result in a lifelong need for medical care and support.
Broken Bones, Amputations, and Crush Injuries
The body of an adult human contains 206 bones, 640 muscles, miles of blood vessels, and plenty of soft tissue including fat and skin tissue. The role of the body’s major organs is to keep all of these items working at their best, so that we can perform the thousands of actions that make up an ordinary day.
During a motor vehicle accident, tremendous force may be applied to your body. Broken bones, “crush” injuries that damage soft tissue, and even the amputation or loss of one or more body parts may occur during the accident. Amputation may also be required after an accident in order to prevent a crush injury from destroying the rest of your body.
All of these injuries impair your mobility as they heal, and they typically require ongoing care, including follow-up doctor’s appointments and physical therapy, in order to maximize healing. Some may even prevent you from working or engaging in other activities you once enjoyed.
The body has 12 organ “systems” that work together to take care of every function needed for life. These include the digestive system, the immune system, and the cardiovascular system. While the brain, heart, liver, lungs, and kidneys are generally considered the five “vital” organs, dozens of other bodily organs, from the pituitary gland (located in the brain) to the pancreas (located in the abdomen) also play vital roles in our health – and may be injured by the extreme forces involved in a car crash.
Organ damage can have a devastating impact on your life and future health. If damage to a vital organ is severe, doctors may recommend an organ transplant. For vital organs, interventions to help the body function may be intensive and will certainly be life-altering. Treatment for damage to non-vital organs can be expensive and time-consuming as well.
Tracking Your Injuries After a Car Accident
One of the best things you can do after an accident is to keep a journal documenting your car crash injuries. Why?
- Your journal helps you remember which symptoms caught your attention at what time.
- Your journal creates a timeline of your injuries after the accident.
- Your journal helps you keep track of doctor’s appointments, medications, and other important tasks related to maximizing your healing process.
While your lawyer can give you additional tips for starting your journal, the sooner you begin making notes, the easier it will be to use your journal to improve your health and fight for the compensation you deserve. Here are some important sections to include:
- Notes about the crash. Write down everything you remember about the crash. Include who was involved, when and where it happened, and anything else you remember. Draw a diagram of the crash scene and include photographs, if possible, to show where the vehicles were, how they moved, and what happened to them during the crash itself.
- Descriptions of each of your injuries. Take photographs of your injuries. For each injury, write down how you felt right after the crash. Make a list of symptoms related to that injury as they appear. You can add to these lists if you develop new symptoms, or as your symptoms improve or worsen in response to treatment. These notes can help your doctors figure out the best course of treatment for you.
- Notes from each medical appointment. Before you leave each medical appointment, take a moment to make some notes in your journal: the date and time, the name of the person you saw, what you told them, and what they said or recommended to you. You can also use this space as a “to-do” list. For instance, if your doctor prescribed a new medication, you can use the journal entry to remind yourself to stop at the pharmacy and pick up the medication.
- A list of medication you were prescribed. Write down the effects, including side effects, of each medication. This list can help you and your doctor find the best medications for your needs.
- How you feel between doctor’s appointments. This section should cover two topics: the symptoms you experience between appointments, and your emotional responses to your injury and the ways it is affecting your life. Not only do these notes help establish how well treatment is working, they can also be therapeutic — and they can help you show how you need additional care, if you find that you are feeling “stuck.”
Share this journal with your doctor and with your New York City car accident lawyer. Your doctor may be able to provide more effective treatment with the help of the information in the journal. Your lawyer will use your journal to help establish the many ways in which your injury affects your life, which helps your legal team build a case for the full amount of compensation you deserve.
Many people think of a car accident injury as a “one and done” event. Insurance companies may argue in favor of paying only the bills related to the moment of impact and your initial injuries. These perspectives are limited. They fail to take into account the ways in which a car accident injury is an ongoing life experience — one that may affect nearly everything you do.
Your journal provides this long-term perspective. It helps your lawyer argue for the compensation you will need in the future, not just right now. And it helps you see that, over time, things do change: Your injuries heal, your feelings come and go, and you have influence over your future path.
Talk to Our New York City Car Accident Attorneys Now
“Do I need a personal injury lawyer after a car accident?” We hear this question often — and we’re always prepared to discuss your options for seeking the compensation you deserve. Contact our experienced New York car accident lawyers today to schedule a free consultation and learn how Zlotolow & Associates can make a difference in your case.