Common Car Accident Injuries – Auto Injury Guide for Pursuing a Lawsuit


Common Car Accident Injuries - Wilshire Law Firm

Car Accident Injury Guide

Car accident injuries are often catastrophic and financially draining. Wilshire Law Firm has compiled a list of the most common traumas suffered in car crashes, along with pertinent information on each. By understanding how they impact your life, you can pursue the justice and compensation you deserve with the help of our experienced car accident lawyers.

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If you need immediate help after a car accident, call Wilshire Law Firm 24/7 at (800) 522-7274 to begin a free review of your important case.

Injuries from Car Accidents in Los Angeles & California

You’ve been in a car accident and are upset and possibly hurt, wondering what to do. If you live in California, you join one of the roughly 200,000 people who have car accidents yearly.

While some car accident injuries are minor and heal on their own, others can be more serious, requiring ongoing medical treatment and even surgery. If you’ve been involved in an auto accident, it’s essential to be aware of the different types of car accident injuries that can occur, as well as their symptoms.

Injuries from car accidents can change your life forever. We’ll look at these injuries and the devastating physical, emotional and financial consequences they can cause. We’ll also examine how an experienced car accident injury lawyer can help you recover the monetary loss you or your loved ones have suffered from a car crash.

Car Accident Statistics

Nationwide, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that there were 5,215,071 police-reported car accident collisions in 2020 [1]. Of these, 2,282,015 individuals suffered injuries and 38,824 people died. Overall, 43 percent of car crashes lead to injuries [2]

Factors That Affect Car Accident Injuries

The types of injuries from a car accident vary widely and range from minor to catastrophic. Some of the factors that influence the risk of injury may include: 

  • Type and size of the vehicle
  • Seating position of the injured party in the vehicle 
  • Not using a seat restraint 
  • Airbags that do not deploy or are defective airbags 
  • The speed of the vehicle upon impact
  • Weather conditions
  • Lack of road maintenance
  • The presence of mechanical defects

Types of Car Accident Injuries

There are many types of car accident injuries, some of which are more severe than others. The most common type of injury is a concussion, which is caused when the head hits something hard. Other common injuries include whiplash, broken bones, and cuts and bruises. In the most severe cases, an accident can even lead to death. Below are the most common that may lead to a car accident injury claim.

Car Accident Face Injuries, Trauma and Scars

Facial trauma is a prevalent car accident injury. In one study done over 15 months, 50 percent of those in a car accident suffered a facial injury [3]. The different types of facial injury were:

  • Soft tissue damage (most common)
  • Fracture of facial bones 
  • Facial scarring 
  • Dental injury 

What Causes Facial Injury in a Car Accident?

All types of car crashes can result in facial injuries. Additionally, the following causative factors are frequently seen:

  • Glass that shatters within the car’s interior
  • Debris in the car’s interior that is airborne
  • Hitting the dash or steering wheel
  • Airbag deployment
  • Hitting the windshield
  • Ejection from the vehicle

Consequences of Facial Injuries

Car accident face injuries can affect more than a person’s appearance. Disfigurement can alter the individual’s face and lead to severe emotional trauma and physical complications. 

Dental trauma can have a significant impact on a person’s appearance, self-esteem and ability to eat. Unfortunately, insurance may not cover treatment for dental trauma, citing cosmetic applications. This can be a difficult situation for those affected by dental trauma.

Scarring can be similar because the cosmetic surgery needed to remove them is usually not covered by insurance. This may make it difficult for individuals to engage in social activities or find employment.

In many cases, the individual must pay for treatment out-of-pocket. If the injured person is not responsible for the crash, it is unfair for them to bear the financial cost of something they did not do. That is where a car accident injury lawyer can help by filing a claim against the insurer or the at-fault party.

Bruising and Lacerations in Vehicular Collisions

While generally minor, these injuries can be problematic in some instances. A bruise on the head could signal a traumatic brain injury. Lacerations can be deep and bleed profusely in addition to leading to infection. It is advisable to see a medical practitioner as soon as possible in both scenarios. 

Bruises and lacerations can emanate from flying debris within the passenger area of the vehicle, a shattered windshield or collision with internal objects such as the dash or steering wheel. Seatbelts can also cause bruises and damage underlying structures such as the ribs or abdominal organs at high speeds.

Trauma to the head and the brain can cause significant damage. While it is common for a severe blow to the head to result in a traumatic brain injury, even a lesser impact can result in a TBI. This is particularly true with older individuals whose veins are fragile, and even mild trauma can initiate a subdural hematoma. Usually, a severe TBI requires surgical intervention. 

Head trauma can result from any type of car accident, but one of the most frequent occurrences is when a frontal collision occurs. Common symptoms of a TBI are headache, especially one that worsens, nausea and vomiting, memory loss and erratic behavior. Coma is frequently seen with a severe head injury. Seeing a doctor or presenting at the emergency room is advisable. 

Spinal Cord Injuries: Paralysis Is a Common Symptom

Injury to the spinal cord can have devastating consequences such as paralysis. The spinal cord travels through the vertebral canal, which provides protection. The spinal cord is vulnerable when this protection is lost, as happens when a vertebra sustains trauma such as a herniated or fractured disk.

A spinal cord injury (SCI) typically results in a loss of function and sensation below the level of the damage. This means that an SCI to the neck can affect a person’s ability to breathe unaided, as well as the movement and function of the upper and lower limbs.

Many people with spinal cord injuries lose their ability to work and need extensive care for the rest of their lifetime. This is a significant financial blow to the injured person and their family. If you have been in an accident and have suffered a spinal cord injury, you need to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

Back Injury Car Accidents: Definition and Consequences

From whiplash to vertebral fractures and herniated discs, back injuries from a car accident can be painful and debilitating. They are most common in rear-end collisions and T-bone accidents. Some back injuries can heal with rest and analgesics, but others require surgery to provide relief. Rehabilitation is a significant component of back injury treatment.

Back injuries can cause chronic pain that prevents people from working and affects their quality of life. This can lead to a decrease in household income and ongoing medical costs. A car accident injury attorney can help get compensation for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.

Abdominal and Chest Internal Injuries Can Go Unnoticed in the Beginning

Internal injuries are not always immediately apparent. They often result from blunt-force trauma in a car accident. Internal injuries that involve the abdomen and chest area are frequently life-threatening.

For instance, an abdominal injury may exhibit a surface bruise but little else at first. Within 6 hours or less, other symptoms may be noticeable. The individual may develop low blood pressure, a high and thready pulse and fainting. This constellation of symptoms can be due to bleeding within the abdominal cavity and is especially dangerous if the person is sent home from the emergency room. Blood in the stool is another sign that abdominal injury occurred.

Abdominal injuries can also cause a tear in the intestine, leading to toxemia. Doctors rely on antibiotic therapy, surgical repair, and cleansing of the area to save a person’s life. If left untreated, death can occur.

Causes of internal injuries include striking the steering wheel and other objects within the vehicle. Seat restraints can cause internal injuries such as broken ribs or a cardiac contusion. 

Fractures Caused by a Car Crash

Broken bones frequently occur in car accidents and range from simple to complex. Some fractures heal with the use of a cast over an average of six to eight weeks. There is a significant healing-time deviation depending on the location of the break. For instance, wrist fractures can take four to six weeks to heal, and a break in the tibia may take 20 weeks before healing occurs, depending on the intensity [4]

Complex fractures are another story. They usually require surgical intervention to affect healing. There are three basic types:

  • External fixation: Repair using this method stabilizes an open fracture. A frame is attached externally for better control. 
  • Open reduction fixation: This operative procedure helps to heal by exposing the bone and using screws and plates. This method is fairly standard with arm, lower leg and ankle fractures.
  • Rodding: In long-bone fractures, a nail is situated in the marrow of the bone and stabilized with screws. It splints the bone to promote healing.

Soft Tissue Injury Car Accidents Include Whiplash

Soft tissue injuries are caused by excess tension placed on the ligaments and tendons. A classic example is whiplash. This injury is caused by the rapid acceleration and deceleration of the neck and upper body, particularly in a rear-end collision. 

This type of injury usually responds to rest and the use of analgesics. Healing occurs within six to eight months or sooner. Some individuals have a longer healing time, and symptoms can persist for up to 24 months or longer.

Shoulder Injury from Car Accident

The shoulder can suffer trauma during a car accident as the driver or passenger seeks to brace themselves. When this happens, the shoulder absorbs the force of impact. This type of injury prevents the injured party from performing functions needed in daily life and at work. Shoulder dislocation occurs in some cases. It involves the separation of ligaments from the shoulder blade to the collarbone.

Shoulder injuries may cause the person to be permanently or temporarily disabled. Surgical repair is often necessary.

Hip, Femur and Leg Injuries from Car Accidents

A broken pelvis or femur is painful and requires extensive treatment. A side impact usually causes these fractures. T-bone accidents are dangerous since the vehicle’s door has few safety devices. Today, some cars do have the capacity to deploy side airbags, but this is absent from many older vehicles.

Both pelvic and femur (large bone in the thigh) fractures frequently require surgical intervention and lengthy rehabilitation. Depending on the severity of the injury, this can result in permanent or temporary disability.

Post-Injury Emotional and Psychological Problems Associated with a Car Accident

Car accident injuries are not limited to physical pain after the crash. Emotional and psychological pain is a significant component of the trauma an accident victim suffers. For instance, after a traumatic crash, some people are afraid to drive for fear it will happen again. 

Others are depressed and humiliated because of their injuries and unable to pursue enjoyable activities they did before the incident. The trauma may also lead to post-traumatic stress disorder, where the individual could relive the collision and have nightmares, flashbacks and anxiety. PTSD usually requires professional help, which can be costly. An accident settlement can cover this expense.

Car Accident While Pregnant

When a pregnant woman is in a car accident, it can be a scary and uncertain time. Many potential risks come along with being pregnant such as miscarriage, high blood pressure, placental abruption, or preterm labor. Being in a car accident can exacerbate those risks. The pregnant woman must see a healthcare professional as soon as possible so that they can assess the situation.

Financial Loss Due to Car Accident Injury

Aside from the pain and emotional trauma, victims of a car crash also suffer financial loss. Many are unable to work due to the negligence of another person and cannot pay mounting bills, medical costs and other expenses. This can be an incredibly difficult time for victims and their families.

How Can a Car Accident Injury Lawyer Help?

A car accident lawyer can play a vital role in helping you recover compensation after a crash by: 

  • Gathering evidence: It is necessary to gather evidence to prove fault so that a car accident claim can proceed in the courts. Some methods of doing this involve using surveillance camera footage to establish liability and employing accident reconstruction techniques.
  • Talking to witnesses: Witnesses to the accident are a fertile source of information. At Wilshire Law, our investigators interview witnesses and bystanders.
  • Reviewing the police report: We also look at the police report for mistakes or inconsistencies. Since police reports are important during negotiations and in court, this is essential.
  • Keeping to the deadline: Personal injury cases have a deadline beyond which the court will not hear the claim. In California, this period is two years from the time of the accident or from when an injury became apparent. Your Los Angeles car accident attorney at the Wilshire Law Firm will ensure documents are filed in a timely manner.

Contact the Car Accident Injury Attorneys at the Wilshire Law Firm

Call the Wilshire Law Firm if you’ve suffered injuries in a car accident. Our seasoned attorneys will help you obtain the justice and financial damages you deserve. Don’t suffer both physical and monetary pain due to another’s negligence. We work hard to get our clients the lost wages, cost of medical care and pain and suffering they deserve.

We will also calculate damages and work with your doctors to ensure that you have achieved maximum improvement before settling the case. All too often, cases settle too early, allowing the insurance company to pay out less than the injured person will need. 

At Wilshire Law Firm, we advise our clients not to accept a lowball amount. It is unconscionable for insurance companies to pay less than the injured party will need to heal properly, making them responsible for medical costs and lost wages. 

Contact us at (800) 522-7274, or reach out to us online. We will schedule a free and confidential case review where you will meet with our legal team and be able to ask questions and learn your options going forward.

Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accident Injuries

What Are Fatal Car Accident Injuries?

Car accident damages that lead to death are traumatic brain injuries, internal trauma, bleeding or spinal cord injury.

What Car Accident Injuries Require Surgery?

Many injuries require surgery. The most common are traumatic brain injuries, abdominal trauma and complex fractures.

How Long After a Car Accident Can Injuries Appear?

Some injuries do not become apparent right away. It takes time for the adrenaline to wear off and pressure within the tissues to mount. Whiplash, for instance, may not produce symptoms for 72 hours after the trauma occurred.

More Helpful Resources from Our Car Accident Injury Law Firm

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