In over 20 years of experience in personal injury law, we’ve come to realize that no two wrecks are the same. Some people suffer devastating injuries when they’re rear ended at a stop sign. Others walk away from high speed crashes with only a few scratches. The point is – everyone’s wreck and injuries are unique.
Still, there are some injuries that many of our clients suffer. Here are five of the most common car crash injuries.
Cuts, Bruises, and Burns
Whether from broken glass, sharp metal, or hot engine fluids, some of the first injuries that people notice after a wreck are cuts, bruises, and burns.
These injuries can differ dramatically in severity. Some may require minimal wound care for a few days after a crash. In more serious circumstances, patients may need stitches, blood transfusions, or even skin grafts to heal.
It’s no surprise that broken bones or fractures are common in auto wrecks. These injuries often involve pain, swelling, and bruising, and are typically diagnosed using a X-ray.
Sometimes people doubt that they’ve suffered a broken bone if they can still move that part of their body, but fractures don’t always impact mobility.
During a crash, a broken bone can occur anywhere in the body. Fractured clavicles are common because they are less dense than other bones, but stronger bones like your femur or pelvis can still break depending on impact of your crash. Everyone’s wreck and injuries are unique.
Bulging or Herniated Discs
Injuries to the discs in the back and neck are very common because the sudden impact of a crash can create violent and exaggerated movements in the spine. This movement puts intense pressure on the discs.
Bulging discs and herniated discs are not the same. A bulging disc remains intact, but literally bulges outside of the normal shape. Imagine a car tire with low air pressure. There is no leak, but the outer walls of the tire bulge and cause a different shape. With a herniated disc, the inner content of the disc actually breaks through the disc wall. People often describe a herniation as squished jelly donut.
These two injuries can occur anywhere from the cervical spine (neck) to the lumbar spine (lower back). If a bulging or herniated disc puts pressure on any nerves, it can create extreme pain, numbness, or weakness. In some cases, surgery is needed to repair these injuries.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
The CDC describes a traumatic brain injury as “an injury that affects how the brain works.” A TBI can be caused by many different things – a blow to the head, penetration of the skull, or even severe movement of the body.
Traumatic brain injuries are typically classified into one of three categories: mild, moderate, or severe. While severe TBIs can be dangerous, even brain injuries that are classified as mild are serious and can dramatically affect someone’s life.
Depending on the severity of the injury, recovery can range from a few days of rest to extreme rehabilitation or brain surgery depending on the severity of the injury.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder may develop after exposure to a traumatic event. People suffering from PTSD can experience loss of sleep, changes in emotions, persistent memories of the traumatic event, and much more.
While many people associate PTSD with military combat or sexual assault, car wrecks are actually a leading cause of this injury in the US. The mental and emotional recovery following a crash can be just as agonizing as the physical recovery.
While these are some of the more common injuries that we see, we know that everyone’s injuries are unique and affect their lives in different ways. A mild concussion may be far more disruptive to someone’s life than a broken leg or second degree burn. That’s why understanding how an injury has affected someone’s life is so critically important to us.