Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries
According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), over 2.7 million Americans were injured in traffic accidents in 2019. The BTS only counted injuries that required treatment in an emergency room or doctor’s office. This means that the statistics do not include vehicle occupants with minor injuries, like cuts, scrapes, and bruises.
Injuries that are serious enough for medical treatment can still range widely in severity. The 2.7 million accident victims range from people who needed stitches to people who will never walk again.
Here is a comprehensive guide to motor vehicle accident injuries and the compensation you can seek for them.
The Mechanics of a Traffic Accident
Physicists call an auto accident an inelastic collision. This means that the cars collide and stick together, rather than rebounding. As a result, the energy of the cars generated before the collision goes into smashing the cars and the occupants, rather than simply bouncing off each other.
As the cars collide, the occupants continue moving in the original direction of their cars. In a vehicle struck from the front, the seat belts lock and the airbags deploy. These restraints stop the occupants’ forward momentum and push them back into their seats.
In a vehicle struck from behind, the occupants first push back into their seats, then swing forward. Rear-end collisions often do not trigger the airbags. As a result, the occupants have nothing to stop them from hitting the dashboard and steering wheel, except their seat belts.
Without deployed airbags to catch them, the occupants may strike their heads and faces as they whip forward.
Some of the most dangerous collisions happen from the side. A side-impact collision hits a relatively weak part of the vehicle near the occupants. As a result, the crash victims stand a much higher chance of being crushed.
Most vehicles do not include side airbags. Your head could hit the side window, door, or doorpost of the car. Particles of glass can also shower you as the side window shatters.
Common Auto Injuries
A car accident can produce a minor traffic injury or a life-threatening injury. The extent of the injury will usually depend on the speeds involved and the weight difference between the vehicles.
A low-speed collision will usually produce less severe injuries than a high-speed collision. A collision between small vehicles often produces less severe injuries than a collision between a semi-truck and a small vehicle.
The nature and extent of the injuries will also depend on the way the vehicles collide. A rear-end or front-end collision will result in different injuries than a side collision or rollover accident.
Some characteristic injuries in car accidents include:
Seat belt injuries commonly occur in front- and rear-end collisions. As your body flies forward, the seat belt stops its motion. This may save your life, but it may also result in bruises, fractured or dislocated ribs, or a fractured sternum.
As the ribs flex and break, they can cause internal injuries. Internal bleeding, respiratory problems, and heart problems can result from a chest injury.
Neck and Back Injuries
A collision from the front or rear causes the neck and back to hyperextend, then compress. A side collision causes twisting and bending. These violent actions can result in:
- Strained neck and back muscles
- Fractured vertebrae
- Ruptured or compressed discs
These injuries can have serious consequences, including spinal cord injury or even paralysis.
Airbags will save your life. But they can also cause severe damage to the bones and soft tissue of your face. Fractured bones and teeth can leave you disfigured. Lacerations can leave you scarred.
When a vehicle hits your door, the door can collapse. Your legs can get crushed or trapped. You could suffer fractured bones, damaged knees, and dislocated hips.
Head and Brain Injuries
Flying glass and bending metal can hit or penetrate your skull. The skull could be fractured.
The violent motion of a car crash can cause the brain to slosh inside the skull. You could suffer a concussion or a brain contusion from this sloshing.
Recovering Compensation for Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries
If your accident resulted from the negligence of another driver, you can seek auto accident compensation for the damages you suffered. Your damages can include your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.
You will usually begin with the insurer for the at-fault driver. You and your accident attorney will file a claim with the insurer, along with copies of your medical records, medical bills, and wage statements to prove your damages.
A claims adjuster will review your claim. If the adjuster rejects your claim, you may need to file a lawsuit to recover compensation. If the adjuster accepts your claim, you will probably need to negotiate to get a fair settlement to compensate you for your injuries.
To discuss your motor vehicle accident injuries and the compensation you might seek, fill out our online consultation form or reach out by phone. We’ll help to pair you up with a skilled local injury lawyer to help you determine your next legal steps.