Injuries from getting hit by a car or being involved in a car accident are common, and severe physical injuries and emotional trauma not only leave scars that may last forever, they can leave victims with medical expenses and uncompensated loss. Turning to a car accident injury lawyer in Houston will steer you in the right direction for legal advice and support.
In the United States, over 37,000 people are killed in road crashes annually, and more than 2.35 million are injured or disabled, according to car accident injury statistics.1
Some of the most common fatal injuries in car accidents involve motorcycles. Without the protective shell of a vehicle with seat belts and air bags, a motorcyclist is 37 times more likely to be fatally injured than a driver or passenger in a car.1
Vehicle injuries fall into a wide spectrum of severity, but even seemingly minor injuries can have a significant impact on immediate finances and future quality of life. Let’s find out what types of injuries are most likely to occur in an auto accident.
Most Common Car Accident Injuries
Some of the least severe and most common injuries from car accidents may have minor symptoms, especially at first, but can result in symptoms that linger for some time disrupting your quality of life. If you experience these types of seemingly minor injuries, you may still need advice from an attorney to make sure you are protected from future expenses before you accept a settlement offer from an insurance company.
- Soft tissue injuries. These are sprains, muscle strains, and bruising. These injuries cause significant pain after a car accident and it takes time to fully recover from them.
- Burns, lacerations, and “road rash.” Glass, metal, or contact with the road surface itself can cause direct injury, which may cause lasting scars.
- Whiplash. This well-known injury is caused by the sudden movement of the head and neck forward and back—when a vehicle is rear-ended, for example. This causes pain, swelling, and even vocal cord paralysis.
- Emotional trauma or PTSD. Some injuries are emotional in nature. Experiencing a car accident where serious injuries or even death occurs to another passenger can have damaging psychological effects, including post-traumatic stress disorder. Long-term counseling and therapy may be needed to fully recover.
Serious Car Accident Injuries with Longer-Term Impacts
While all car accident injuries can be serious, these types of impact-related injuries can have long-term disabling effects, cause loss of wages, or force a career change for accident victims. If you have these types of injuries, you should consider consulting with a car accident injury lawyer:
- Crush injuries. When a part of the body is caught between two objects, the tissues are crushed. Damage to internal organs, muscles, and bones is extensive and may cause “crush syndrome.” Immediate medical attention is needed to assess and repair the damage.
- Blunt force trauma. Different from crushing, blunt force occurs when a moving object strikes the body, or the body strikes an immovable object. Being thrown from a vehicle causes this type of injury. Internal bleeding, collapsed lungs, broken ribs, and cardiac arrest may result.
- Joint injuries. Knee injuries are common when an impact causes them to strike the dashboard or if the knee is twisted or turned in the accident. Wrist, hand, foot, and ankle joints are easily damaged under the forces involved. Shoulder and neck injury from a car accident are also likely. Joints are complex and heal slowly, often requiring braces or surgery to repair.
- Broken bones. It is common to sustain a broken sternum from a car accident, but almost any bone in the body can be broken by a high-speed crash. The strong bones of the pelvis and leg are sometimes fractured, requiring a very long recovery time.
- Internal bleeding. While most car accident injuries have symptoms that are easy to spot, internal bleeding can be extremely dangerous if it is not treated quickly. When an accident is serious, victims should be examined by a medical professional even if there are no injuries visible on the surface.
The Most Severe Car Accident Injuries
Some types of injury have immediate and devastating effects on the lives of the victim and their families. These types of injuries cause death, disfigurement, and disability; restrict or prevent employment, and reduce or constrain the future quality of a person’s life.
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
Some of the worst car accident injury stories involve victims hitting their heads on the windshield, dashboard, or steering wheel. Any trauma to the brain can have lasting and dangerous effects.
Types of traumatic car accident head injuries include:
- Open or closed skull fracture and associated damage to brain tissue.
- Concussions, signified by confusion, dizziness, nausea, and loss of consciousness.
- Penetration injuries, when an object pierces the skull and directly damages or removes brain tissue.
- Coup-contrecoup contusion, where the brain is shaken with such force it is bruised against the skull on both sides.
- Diffuse axonal injuries caused by rotational force, which damages the brain structures by violently jarring and tearing sensitive connective tissues.
Long-term effects of traumatic brain injury include motor function problems, memory issues, sensory malfunctions, and more. Effects of contusions and brain swelling can include death, coma, and cognitive impairment. Skull fractures can cause hearing loss, vision problems, and blood clots.
Spinal Cord, Back Injuries, and Paralysis
Back injury from a car accident is also very common. Depending on the severity, spinal cord and nerve damage may result, causing numbness, pain, and loss of mobility.
Back injuries range from:
- Herniated disc. This occurs when a vertebra of the spine shifts out of place, or the disc that supports it ruptures, causing pain, tingling, and muscle weakness.
- Spinal cord injury. When the spine is shifted more violently, the spinal cord it protects can be bruised, damaged, or constricted. Numbness, nerve pain, and weakness in one or more limbs may result.
- Paralysis. If the spinal cord is severed or torn in the crash, partial or total paralysis may result. Car accident injuries and compensation claims related to paralysis have a life-changing impact, so victims and their families should seek legal advice immediately.
Disfiguring or Amputating Injuries
Some of the most tragic car accident injuries that require surgery are disfiguring or result in the loss of a limb. These traumatic events entail high medical costs, prosthetic limbs, and physical therapy. Going beyond the loss of income, these injuries make life-enhancing activities more difficult or physically impossible.
- Loss of an eye or blindness. Losing an eye or the ability to see may necessitate a lifetime of supportive care. Advice from a car accident injury lawyer will help the victim fight to obtain adequate compensation to cover those costs.
- Facial disfigurement. Burns or injuries may cause such extensive scarring that facial reconstructive surgery may be necessary to restore appearance.
- Loss of a limb. A traumatic amputation can happen during an accident, or a surgical amputation may be necessary due to severe injuries. Prosthetics and physical therapy will help victims achieve independence, but these expenses and the trauma involved should be compensated.
Loss of Fertility, Companionship, or Consortium
When the ability to raise a family, participate as a parent, or have a fulfilling physical relationship with a spouse or partner is lost, the future of the victim is irrevocably changed. The cost of such an injury cannot easily be put into numbers, but victims deserve financial compensation for:
- Loss of fertility. The inability to have children may not be immediately apparent and might arise as a long-term result of injuries.
- Loss of a pregnancy. Losing a child as a result of the accident carries with it all of the grief of tragically losing any loved one.
- Loss of consortium (companionship). The ability to engage in a fulfilling physical and emotional relationship with a partner or spouse is a valuable part of a healthy life. A limited or lost ability to communicate, interact, or bond with loved ones has a profound effect not only on the victim but on their entire families.
Finding the Right Legal Help Is No Accident
If a car accident in Houston or the surrounding area has changed the course of your future, taking a step to protect you and your family from unnecessary stress and financial struggle may be the most important move you can make. You and your loved ones deserve the support a comprehensive settlement can provide.
With Johnson Garcia LLP at your family’s side, you can avoid dealing with opposing insurance companies and guessing about the long-term impact of your injuries. As soon as you have received the emergency medical care you need for your injuries, reach out to us. Having a strong ally right from the start will help you begin to recover your life right away.