Auto accidents are a leading cause of injuries each year. The Association for Safe International Road Travel estimates that, in a typical year, about 2.35 million people suffer injuries or disabilities as a result of car accidents.
Types of Physical Injuries in an Auto Accident:
1. Herniated Discs
As you know, neck and back strains are some of the most common types of injuries in a car accident, commonly known as "whiplash. However, these injuries can turn out to be more serious than just a mild strain. In some cases, the force of the collision can cause the tissue between the vertebrae of the spine to slip from its normal position or rupture. This is what is referred to as a "herniated disc." A herniated or slipped disc can compress or inflame one or multiple nerves coming from the spine. This often leads to extreme pain, numbness, and even loss of muscle control, normally in the limbs.
You can experience these symptoms immediately, or they can come about weeks or months after the car accident. Surgery may be required sometimes, and these injuries can also cause permanent disability.
2. Traumatic Brain Injuries
In an auto collision, your head may be whipped back and forth and even hit something within the car. When this happens, your brain can be impacted. The impact to the brain is known as traumatic brain injury (TBI), and it can lead to long-term brain function damage. The symptoms of these injuries are usually subtle at first and may not be easily noticeable. However, a few months after the accident, the injured person or their family may start to realize that he or she is becoming more forgetful, or is exhibiting changes in personality, for example, becoming easily and extremely irritated or angry, a character trait that they previously didn't have.
If you have suffered a concussion, been knocked unconscious, or have been experiencing headaches following a car accident or any head and brain injuries at work, you need to carefully look out for signs of TBI and schedule a neurological consultation immediately if you suspect TBI.
3. Knee Injuries
In an auto collision, the driver or a passenger can be thrust forward and strike their knee on the dashboard. This often leads to trauma to the knee, which can cause various kinds of injuries, for example, a shattered patella (knee cap.)
The knee cartilage can also be impacted, leading to a torn meniscus or patellar chondromalacia. This can also happen when a driver hits so hard on the brakes to prevent a collision that their knee is compressed forcefully. These types of injuries are usually very painful, and they often require surgical treatment. And remember, the severity of your injuries may not be apparent immediately since it may take some time for insidious injuries to produce enough inflammatory reactions that they manifest their symptoms.
4. Shoulder Injuries
Considering that shoulder seat belts only go over one shoulder, most of the force resulting from a car collision can become concentrated on this one shoulder when your body is thrust forward by the impact of the collision. This can also cause your body to move in a twisting motion. These different forces can lead to various kinds of injuries to the shoulder, from shoulder strains to deep bruising and even tears of the shoulder ligaments that require surgical procedures to repair.
Shoulder injuries tend to get worse with time and can become permanent. Thus, you shouldn't ignore any symptoms of a shoulder injury following a car crash. You need to have them examined by a physician.
When someone goes through a traumatic event, it isn't just the body that is usually affected. Your emotional and psychological state can also be severely affected. Individuals who've been involved in serious car accidents can develop a phobia, meaning that they can develop an irrational fear of driving and even simply being in a car.
The phobias can become so adverse that the said person becomes completely housebound, unable to use a car for whatever purpose. If an affected person starts to develop phobias, it is essential that psychological care is provided right away.
Your psychologist has excellent techniques to enable patients to get over these phobias. However, if phobias aren't treated, they can become long-term and untreatable. If someone close to you has developed a fear of driving or being in a car, ensure that they receive psychological attention right away.
As you can see, while most of these injuries are extremely severe, they don't always manifest themselves immediately after an auto accident. Thus, it is important to watch for any symptoms carefully. Most of these injuries tend to get worse if not treated or addressed early enough. Ensure that any and all symptoms are carefully examined by a physician.