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In the year 2015 alone, 6,296,000 road collisions were reported in America. Of this number, 35,092 people were killed and another 2,443,000 were injured. While seatbelts, airbags, and other automobile safety features saved lives and prevented some injuries, the fact of the matter remains that many people who survive severe collisions endure painful and persistent physical injuries.
The following are five of the most common injuries resulting from collisions. If you or a loved one have experienced an injury during a collision, make sure you consult a physician and also consider calling a collision attorney to help you build your injury case.
Whiplash is typical when there is a head-on collision. This type of neck injury occurs due to the sheer force of a head-on impact that causes a quick back-and-forth movement of the neck. Symptoms of whiplash generally include dizziness, nausea, headaches, neck pain, and stiffness, all of which are often remedied with pain relievers, exercise, and hot/cold pads. More serious cases of whiplash involve chronic neck pain and other persistent issues.
When the head is violently thrown fore and aft in a frontal collision, the brain can be damaged, especially if it is slammed into the steering wheel or dash. Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) are considered life-long, and many closed head TBIs are the results of auto collisions. A closed head injury has broad effects, so multiple lobes in the brain can be impacted. TBIs can be difficult to treat and result in cognitive, emotional, and behavioral changes in an individual.
When the vertebrae in the thoracic (chest or middle of the back) or lumbar (lower back) areas of the spine are injured in a (typically frontal) collision, nerves protected by these vertebrae can be damaged or even fully severed. This results in the inability of the brain to communicate with this part of the body, and a person will partially or fully lose feeling in that area. There are surgery and physical therapy options available for those living with spinal cord injuries, but recovery can be a long and difficult journey.
The shoulders are often injured in collisions where sudden stops are made by slamming on the brakes. Shoulder fractures or breaks are quite common. The shoulders could also be popped out of the joint, and rotator cuffs can be torn or otherwise damaged. The muscles in the shoulders and arms can get torn, and these injuries might not be noticeable right away, hence the importance of getting checked out by a doctor immediately after a collision.
The knees and feet are especially vulnerable to injury in frontal and side collisions. Some vehicles have weak spots in the door areas that do not protect the knees and feet from injury as well as they should. Oftentimes, knee and foot injuries sustained during collisions include a torn meniscus (the cartilage around the kneecaps), ligament tears, fractures, strains, and sprains. While surgery, physical therapy, and pain relievers can aid in the recovery process, walking and physical exercise are often impacted, and pain can be ongoing for a long period of time.
If you or a loved one has sustained an injury in a vehicular collision, it is imperative that you follow your doctor's order in order to recuperate. You should also consider contacting an auto collision attorney since you might be able to claim damages from your injury. Additionally, injuries are not just physical, so if you are experiencing any form of mental or emotional trauma, there is no shame in reaching out to a licensed therapist for help.