Common Injuries from Car Crashes
More than two million Americans are injured or disabled in car crashes each year. Even low-speed collisions can result in permanent and debilitating injuries. Below are some of the more common injuries that people sustain in car crashes.
Broken Bones
During a collision, your arms may be thrown around the interior of your vehicle, striking hard parts and resulting in broken bones. If you are driving during a frontal impact, your arms, wrists, or hands may be forced into the steering wheel or dashboard, which may also result in a break. Legs and knees are commonly forced into the front dashboard, and the pressure may be enough to break bones. These fractures sometimes require surgery and the insertion of hardware in order to heal properly.
Head Injuries

The sudden change in speed that occurs during a car crash can cause your head and neck to move quickly and in unnatural ways. This may result in you hitting your head on the sides of the vehicle, the headrest, the steering wheel, or the dashboard. The sudden change in speed may cause your head to whip back-and-forth or side-to-side. Your brain can bounce against the inside of your skull, resulting in a brain injury.

Some common symptoms of a brain injury include vomiting, loss of consciousness, dizziness, persistent headaches, sleepiness or fatigue, blurred vision, confusion, loss of memory, and difficulty concentrating. A sudden change in personality, such as feeling more irritable, aggressive, impulsive, or anxious, is also a sign of a brain injury.

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Spine Injuries

As with the head, your spine – including your back and neck – can be jerked around violently in a car crash, which can result in a host of injuries. Soft tissue injuries can result from damage that is done to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. This is commonly referred to as “whiplash” and can leave you feeling extremely sore for several days or even weeks.

You may also suffer herniated or bulging discs, which can cause severe pain. You may experience pain, numbness or tingling in various parts of your body – typically in your arms if you experienced a neck injury and down your legs if you experienced a lower back injury. While soft tissue injuries may heal with time and rest, many spine injuries require significant medical attention, including physical therapy, epidural injections, or surgery.

Chest Injuries
Because your chest may get thrown into the steering wheel or dashboard in the event of a crash, chest injuries are fairly common. The blunt force trauma of the impact can result in an array of injuries, from bruises to broken ribs and collapsed lungs. Internal bleeding or damage to other organs may occur. Such injuries require immediate medical attention.
Burns
In particularly severe crashes, the vehicles may catch on fire, which can result in the occupants sustaining burn injuries. However, burns can occur in less serious collisions as well. Some people receive burns on their face, neck, chest, arms or hands when their airbags deploy. Airbag burns are usually second-degree in nature and require medical attention. Because burns carry such a high risk of infection, it is always a good idea to seek medical attention to ensure proper healing.
Emotional Injuries

A car crash can be very emotionally traumatic. Dealing with the physical injuries that you and your loved ones sustained can be mentally draining and can result in anxiety, depression, and extreme fatigue. You may have to take time off of work to heal or relearn how to do certain tasks if you are left with permanent injuries.

Additionally, you may find that you have symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”). PTSD symptoms can include nightmares, flashbacks of the crash, avoidance of situations that remind you of the crash, heightened reactions, fear, anxiety, depression, agitation, irritability, hostility, and emotional detachment. Many people have found therapy to be a useful means of coping with the emotional toll of a car crash. Doctors may also prescribe medication to ease anxiety or depression.

Not all injuries are apparent immediately following a collision. Some people do not report any pain until several days later. Others report feeling only minor pain or discomfort even though they sustained significant injuries. The safest decision is always to seek medical treatment for your injuries by going to the emergency room, urgent care, or your family physician. This will allow medical professionals to provide treatment as necessary and to ensure that you did not sustain any serious, hidden injuries.

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