Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of minor, major and even life threatening injuries in the US. Depending on the circumstances of the mishap, the people involved in the crash may escape with a few minor bruises and scrapes or suffer from both psychological and physical injuries, including post traumatic stress disorder, spinal and brain damage, whiplash, fractured bones, nerve damage, significant scarring and more.
Some individuals involved in vehicle accidents suffer from life threatening injuries and although the number of car accident fatalities has steadily declined, in 2013, almost 32,700 people lost their lives in automobile crashes.
The severity of the crash and the magnitude of the injuries are directly proportional!
Of course, there are the lucky few who walk away unscathed from a totaled car, but such cases are few and far between. Typically, the speed of the vehicle, the weather and road conditions, the size and the payload of the vehicle, the deployment and use of safety features such as seat belts and air bags and whether the driver of the vehicle was drunk or sober will all have an impact on just how serious the crash and the resulting injuries are.
Of the nearly 37,000 people who are killed in car accidents, more than half the fatalities occur because the occupants of the vehicle are not restrained at the time of the crash while 25% are caused because the passenger/driver is ejected out of the vehicle, which again points to a lack of restraint.
Drivers who are operating vehicles under the influence of alcohol are responsible for over 40% of all automobile crashes and speeding is to be blamed for 31% of the deaths, which is understandable since higher acceleration would lead to greater force of impact.
The type of serious injuries sustained in car accidents!
Head and brain injuries: These are common and can range from a closed injury which does not result in visible wounds of blood loss such as concussions or even a traumatic brain injury that can cause paralysis, loss of memory, loss of physical and mental dexterity and even coma.
Neck injuries: Whiplash is another frequently occurring injury linked with car accidents as the neck gets strained with the impact of high speed and heavy vehicle crashes. Injuries to the neck and damage to the cervical spine can also take on more serious forms like disc hernia or cervical radiculopathy. Neck swelling is also common as is the temporary paralysis of the vocal cord.
Back and chest injuries: Like the neck, the back of the passengers and the driver also gets subjected to torque which can result in sprains, fractures and strain in the thoracic and lumbar regions. Depending on the nature of the injury, the pain associated with it can be short lived or can cause years of debilitating discomfort.
Chest injuries: If the impact was significant and if the airbags do not deploy, chest injuries can also occur and can be serious or even fatal. Chest trauma can lead to rib fractures, lung punctures and even sudden cardiac death.
Internal organ damage: If the front of the vehicle suffers serious damage, there is a high likelihood of internal organ damage in the pelvis and abdomen. Such injuries can again lead to lifelong disability or may even prove fatal.
Limb injuries: Bone injuries and ligament damage also a common occurrence. In more severe cases, one or more limbs may get severed or the occupants may suffer from complex fractures of major skeletal structures such as the pelvic or the shoulder bone.
Face injuries and disfigurement: The face often gets injured in vehicle accidents as it gets exposed to shattered glass, impact from the airbag, steering wheel, dashboard and the side windows. The injuries may be limited to tiny bruises and scrapes or cause disfiguring lacerations and even serious dental issues.
Psychological issues: Post traumatic stress disorders, anxiety, depression, fear and phobia are also common place as an aftermath of the physical and mental stress that people go through. In fact, these psychological problems often outlast physical injuries.
The trauma of being in a vehicle accident inevitably leads to the production of endorphin’s in the body that dull the pain. Unfortunately, this leads many people to underestimate the gravity of their injuries and the impact on their lives. So, it is imperative to seek medical attention promptly and go for a complete checkup if you have been in a car accident.