Car accidents can happen instantly and when you least expect it, putting you at risk of injury. Unfortunately, due to the enormous force behind most car accidents and the size of a vehicle, the occupants, drivers, and others near a crash can suffer injuries and, in some cases, fatalities when a crash occurs.
Each car accident presents unique risks and situations which can affect whether an individual suffers injuries and the severity of those injuries. If you are a car accident victim sustaining an injury, you may be eligible for compensation for the losses following those injuries. A car accident lawyer can help answer your questions about the law and your rights after a car crash where injuries happen.
Car Accident Injuries in the U.S.
A motor vehicle accident is not a rarity in the U.S. On any given day, you may encounter several accidents as you go about your daily commute and travels. For example, there are over 280 million cars operating on roadways across the U.S. With more and more vehicles on the roadways and congestion that can occur near cities and major metropolitan areas, car accidents happen frequently. They can impact most people at some point in their life when living in the U.S.
While most car accidents are not fatal or catastrophic, all car accidents carry a risk of injury. Injuries from a car accident can be painful, require emergency medical care, and interfere with your life. The National Safety Council estimates that in one year, over 4.8 million people in a motor vehicle crash will seek a medical evaluation or consultation for injuries sustained during the incident. Additionally, over 42,000 victims will lose their life because of injuries sustained from a car crash.
Who Is Most at Risk of Injuries From a Car Accident?
Anyone can sustain injuries in a car accident. In fact, you do not even need to be in a vehicle to suffer injuries from a motor vehicle accident. In addition to drivers and passengers in vehicles, others who could be at risk of injuries during a car crash include pedestrians, bicyclists, workers on the roads, and other bystanders in the vicinity of a crash.
Car accidents can also have a domino effect. For example, a car accident can happen, leaving debris and road damage. While waiting to clear the scene and during the aftermath of the crash, another vehicle can injure those still on the scene, or an unexpected turn of events such as a vehicle fire and another risk can lead to injuries to the people still in the area.
Most Common Types of Injuries a Victim May Sustain in a Car Crash
Many factors can affect the type of injuries a victim could sustain in a crash. Additionally, the circumstances of a crash, such as the type of vehicles involved, the speed of the vehicles, and the location of impact, can influence the type of injuries you suffer and their severity.
Car accidents are not always visible; some victims may not realize they have injuries immediately following a crash. In some circumstances, it may even be possible for an injury to go undiagnosed if there are no visible signs of the injury or symptoms immediately after the crash. A car accident injury can take a few hours to days to reveal itself fully. If you are a crash victim, you should seek medical attention when you feel discomfort, pain, or exhibit symptoms, as you may have an injury you did not notice right after the accident.
Examples of the most common injuries that can occur to victims of a car accident include:
- Concussions, whiplash, or other types of traumatic brain injuries. Your brain is highly vulnerable during a crash due to the shocking impact and jolt associated with a car accident and the possibility that your head may strike an object in the car or another passenger during the crash. In many instances, a car accident victim may not be able to anticipate the crash or has little time to react, which can cause the unexpected collision to throw your body violently, and in turn, your brain back and forth with little ability for you to control it or stop the momentum. Car accidents are one of the leading causes of TBIs in the U.S. and can cause many challenges for a victim as often these injuries may not fully heal and have long-term consequences.
- Injuries to the neck, back, or spine. The structures within the neck, back, and spine are also at risk of injury when your body loses control in a crash. Neck or back pain are common complaints from victims of car crashes. While sometimes the injuries may be strains or sprains that will heal over time, sometimes an accident can cause severe injuries that result in paralysis, loss of function, and permanent disability.
- Lacerations. Cuts are common injuries in a car accident, particularly when debris, such as broken glass or loose objects, strikes the victim during the collision. In some instances, lacerations could be severe, leading to significant blood loss or requiring surgery. Additionally, lacerations can potentially cause long-term or permanent scarring or disfigurement of the victim.
- Broken bones. Fractures can happen in a car accident from the impact itself, from safety features activating such as airbags or seatbelt tightening. Dislocations and broken bones are painful and may require surgery, stabilization, and immobility to heal. Depending on your line of work and the severity of the break, it can limit your ability to fulfill your responsibilities and can take significant time to heal fully.
- Bruising or sprains. Contusions and sprains to joints can happen in any car accident. Although a victim will often heal from these injuries, it can affect how your body feels after a crash. Even without severe injuries, car accident victims with bruising and sprains may need plenty of rest to recover and feel normal again.
- Soft tissue injuries. While muscles, ligaments, and tendons are often flexible, a car accident can push soft tissue beyond its limit, causing strains, pulls, or serious injuries such as tears and ruptures. These types of injuries are often difficult to heal from as it takes a long time and sometimes can require interventions such as surgery to repair.
- Crush injuries. The extreme force behind a car accident combined with the location of impact on a vehicle can cause a victim to become trapped or crushed by the vehicle frame or external forces on the vehicle. Crush injuries are often horrific and may result in the fatality of the victim, loss of a limb, or other catastrophic consequences leading to permanent disability.
How Can a Car Accident Injury Affect Your Life?
You cannot predict the injuries from a car accident just by looking at a crash. Every person has their own unique vulnerabilities and conditions that could put them at higher risk of certain injuries or severe injuries when a car accident occurs.
While many people can look forward to ultimately healing from their car accident injuries, that is not always possible for everyone. Injuries can have invasive and overwhelming impacts on your daily life, leaving you unable to work, earn money or even take care of your day-to-day responsibilities and family obligations.
Beyond the physical pain and suffering and medical treatment, you must endure healing from your injuries. You may also lose the quality and enjoyment of your life during this time.
What Is the Cause of Most Car Accident Injuries?
Motor vehicle accidents happen for many reasons, but the negligence of one or multiple parties is behind most car accidents. Negligent behaviors and actions are to blame for most car wrecks and the injuries you suffer. Determining who is negligent and what events ultimately led to the accident is part of the accident investigation conducted by the officers at the scene, the insurance companies, and your attorney.
Common examples of negligent car accident cause include:
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving
- Failure to follow traffic laws or signals
Can You Get Money for Your Losses If You Suffer Injuries in a Motor Vehicle Accident?
Insurance covers most car accident damages. However, seeking fair compensation for your losses through an insurance claim is not easy. It can give rise to many complex legal issues and disagreements from the insurance company regarding your actual damages.
For the best chance at seeking compensation from a car accident that results in injuries and other damages, consult a car accident attorney who can give you knowledgeable and professional insight into your car accident case and how much you can expect through a claim.
What Damages Can You Seek as a Car Accident Victim?
The losses you can seek as part of a car accident claim will depend on the losses you incur, your injury, and the extent of damage to your vehicle. Losses that a victim can pursue in a car accident claim are not only those that result in monetary losses to you. For example, car insurance and personal injury laws allow you to seek monetary compensation for nonmonetary losses.
Car accident damages may include:
- Cost of medical bills for treatment and care
- Loss of your income, including possible future income losses
- Pain and suffering, whether physical, emotional, mental, or a combination
- Property damage costs for repairs or total loss of your vehicle
Will You Need a Car Accident Attorney to Pursue the Damages Arising from Your Injuries?
A car accident attorney is something you should not overlook after a car accident. Trying to manage and handle a claim on your own can be detrimental to you by causing you to miss out on damages you may be eligible for or may lead to a claim denial due to errors or omissions due to a lack of experience in the insurance industry. Hiring a lawyer can save you time, money, and frustration and may lead to a better outcome for your claim and a higher settlement amount.
A car accident attorney will often offer free consultations for car accident victims. Contact a car accident lawyer in your area for a free case consultation to go over the details of what led to the accident and the extent of your losses and injuries.
How Can You Help Your Claim or Case Following a Car Accident With Injuries to You?
As a victim of a car accident, you may think there is little you can do to help your claim after a crash aside from filing a claim. However, your actions in the hours, days, and months after a crash can impact the outcome of your claim, including how much money you may receive.
After a car accident, your main focus and the best way you can help your case, aside from contacting a lawyer to represent you, is to take care of your injuries as best as you can. Your medical providers will develop a treatment plan to set you up for optimal recovery from your car accident injuries. Keep up with the treatment plan set out by going to all doctor’s appointments, physical therapy sessions, and all the doctor’s recommendations that will contribute to your healing.
When Should You Call a Lawyer for a Car Accident?
The best time to call a lawyer after a crash is when you are physically able to. Understandably, you may be unable to contact an attorney immediately after a crash due to your injuries and if you require hospitalization. However, as soon as you feel stable, contact a car accident lawyer to discuss your case.
Make hiring a San Diego personal injury law firm should a top priority. Any unnecessary delays in seeking legal representation for a car accident claim and the case could impede your ability to seek compensation for your damages.