Brain and Head Injuries
One of the most common and debilitating injuries suffered by drivers and passengers is an acquired brain injury caused by the head being hit or hitting an object violently (called a traumatic brain injury) . Symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe, depending on the extent of damage to the brain and the area effected. Even when there is no visible sign of trauma (i.e. cuts or bruises), the brain may have been jostled inside the skull due to the force of impact causing bruising, bleeding and swelling of the brain. These injuries are often accompanied by headaches.
Most headaches after a car accident are caused by tight muscles in the neck which are compressing the nerves. These headaches resolve as the neck injury resolves. More serious headaches due to a traumatic brain injury (see above) should be treated by a neurologist.
Another common form of injury from a car accident is neck injuries, which can occur in more mild forms such as whiplash and neck strain, to more serious injuries like cervical dislocation and disc injury.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The damage to the spinal cord is caused when displaced bone fragments, disc material, or ligaments bruise or tear into the spinal cord tissue, destroying axons, the part of our nerve cells that carry signals up and down the spinal cord between the brain and the rest of the body. Damage to the spinal cord often results in a loss of function or feeling.
The lower back is the most common site of back injuries, including sprains and strains, herniated discs and fractured vertebrae. These injuries can cause pain and limit your mobility Sometimes the symptoms of even the most serious back injuries can take some time to show up after an accident. Unfortunately, a back injury can cause long lasting pain and discomfort.
In a car accident, injuries to the face are common and can be caused by the steering wheel, dashboard, airbag, windshield, side window, car seats or shattered glass. These injuries range in severity from scrapes and bruises, to laceration and fractures, even serious disorders affecting the jaw and serious dental injuries.
The impact of a motor vehicle accident can cause internal injuries including, injuries to bowels, kidneys, the spleen, liver, lungs, heart or aorta. Fractured ribs are also quite common, causing puncture lungs and other internal organs. Internal injuries are life threatening and should be treated by a medical professional immediately.
Motor vehicle accidents involving severe injuries and even loss of life, can result in drivers and passengers suffering short or long-term psychological injuries such as emotional distress, posttraumatic stress disorder, persistent anxiety and depression. These psychological injuries can affect every facet of a person’s life and have long-lasting effects.