According to the National Highway Safety Administration, more than three million people in the United States are injured every year in a motor vehicle accident.
The type and severity of injuries depends on:
- If the victim was wearing a seatbelt
- If the car was hit from the front, rear, or side
- If the victim was facing the front or had his body turned in a different direction
- If the airbags deployed
- The speed at which the accident occurred
Four of the most common injuries are:
Whiplash – This happens when the car suddenly accelerates or decelerates during an accident, causing a person’s head to rapidly move back and forth. Symptoms include neck or upper back pain or stiffness, dizziness, or shoulder pain. If the crash was severe, memory loss or difficulty concentrating may also occur.
Traumatic Brain Injury – A TBI results from a head injury that damages the brain. In a car accident, they can happen by hitting the steering wheel or dashboard. There are many symptoms including seizures, double or blurred vision, short-term or long-term memory loss, or impulsive behavior.
Herniated Discs – These discs are cushions that separate the vertebrae and protect the spine. A disc is herniated when it becomes displaced. Then it usually causes pressure on the spinal cord or the surrounding nerves. Symptoms are often intense pain in the lower back or leg numbness.
Spinal Cord Injuries – The injuries can range from minor bruising that will heal to permanent damage to the spinal cord causing long-term disability. Often, partial or total paralysis occurs. Symptoms of spinal cord injuries include loss of movement, loss of sensation in the fingers, hands, feet, or toes, or difficulty breathing.