It seems like it only takes a second to look down at your phone and read a short text message. But in that second (or seconds), your eyes are off the road and your life is endangered. Distracted driving is a contributing factor in many of the auto accidents in North Carolina and throughout the United States. And a couple of seconds spent looking at your phone, turning to talk to a passenger, or reaching over to play with your child can result in a lifetime of pain and suffering.
One thing is certain: A car accident can have a profound and often devastating effect on the body and the psyche. The following outlines how the car accident affects the body and some of the most common car accident injuries, as well as some of the most long-lasting.
The Most Common Car Accident Injuries
The type of injury that a person will suffer in a car accident depends on a handful of factors, ranging from the angle at which the car is hit, the speed at which the vehicle is traveling, the location of each person within the car, the use of a seatbelt, the deployment of airbags, and more. That being said, some of the most common car accident injuries include:
- Head injuries: One of the first things to be impacted in a car crash is the head. A head injury, or traumatic brain injury (TBI), can occur in a few different ways. First, the head may make direct contact with another object, such as slamming up against the side of the window. Second, the head may be shaken violently, causing the brain to slam against the wall of the skull. (This may happen when the car stops abruptly, forcing the head forward and then backward.) Third, the skull can be punctured by an object, such as a piece of metal or glass. In severe cases, the skull may be partially crushed.
- Broken bone injuries: Another common type of injury in a car accident is bone fracture, or full-on bone break (where the bone breaks into two separate pieces). Like a head injury, this occurs when the bone is directly impacted by another object, or when a part of the body is thrust with force into an awkward position, causing the body to fracture. Common bones in the body that may be impacted include those in the legs, arms, and the ribs.
- Soft tissue injuries: Soft tissues refer to muscles, ligaments, and tendons, and an injury to the soft tissue(s) is very common in a car accident. One of the most common soft tissue injuries is whiplash, which occurs when the neck is thrust forward and then backward, usually as the result of a head-on or rear-end collision. Sprains and strains of other parts of the body, such as the back, are also very common in a car accident.
- Lacerations and bruises: While many people think that lacerations and bruises are the least severe types of injuries — and the least permanent — they can be some of the most painful. In some cases, they can even be disfiguring. Lacerations and bruises might occur when any part of the body is directly impacted. Exploding airbags have been known to cause serious facial bruising.
- Spinal column and spinal cord injuries: The spinal cord, which is responsible for sending messages from the brain to the rest of the body, allowing for physical movement, is protected by the spinal column, which is composed of individual vertebrae. An injury to the spinal column can be painful and costly to correct, but it can also be extremely dangerous. If an injury to the spinal column disturbs the spinal cord, permanent partial or temporary paralysis from the injury site down may occur.
Late-Appearing Car Accident Injuries
Some car accident injuries are very obvious. A person who suffers a broken bone, for example, will be in such severe amounts of pain that it will be obvious that something is wrong. But sometimes, car accidents affect the body in ways that are not so obvious, and pain after a car accident may not be so severe.
For example, a concussion is one injury from a car accident that can be extremely hard to identify, and many people will leave the scene of a car accident not knowing that they have a concussion at all. The Mayo Clinic reports that the symptoms of a minor concussion may be as mild as a headache, ringing in the ears, and fatigue — all things that a person who was in a crash might expect. However, failure to diagnose and treat a concussion can be dangerous, and a person who has been in a car accident and has any concussion symptoms should always get checked out.
Other types of injuries from a car accident that may be late appearing are soft tissue injuries, touched on briefly above. When you are in an accident, your body is under stress. Believe it or not, stress-induced analgesia, or pain suppression, may occur. (Read a study on stress-induced analgesia at PubMed.gov.) This means that you may not feel the pain of certain injuries, like a back sprain or strain, until later. In some cases, it may even take a couple of days for pain to set in.
Another type of late-appearing car accident injury is a psychological injury. The effects of car accidents can take a serious mental toll on an individual, resulting in post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety. These injuries are rarely obvious at the moment the crash occurs; people are usually just in shock.
A Shelby Car Injury Lawyer Can Help You
The effects of car accidents on the body and the mind can be serious and permanent. When you have been in a crash, you deserve compensation for everything that you have suffered. The North Carolina car injury lawyers of Teddy, Meekins & Talbert, P.L.L.C., will advocate for you during the recovery process. Our experienced team has been representing car accident victims in the North Carolina area for many years, and we are prepared to aggressively fight for the support and money our clients deserve. Schedule a free case consultation by contacting us online today.
Additional Motor Vehicle Accident Information
A native North Carolinian and a fourth-generation lawyer, Ralph W. Meekins literally had the desire to help those who are not able to help themselves as well as to be a practical life adviser to people in his blood.