A car accident causes a tremendous force on the human body. When the car comes to a sudden jarring halt in a collision, the driver and passengers continue to move forward at the speed the car was traveling until stopped by their seatbelts or by an impact against the interior of the vehicle. Even when traveling at a sedate 30mph, a 100-pound person becomes a 3,000-pound force. Though seatbelts are life-saving in most crashes, they cannot protect against crash force injuries caused by the body’s powerful forward thrust against the belt. Other personal injuries result from impact with crushing metal, the dashboard, the steering wheel, windows, and other components of the car during an accident.
Car accident injuries can range from mild—with minor or recoverable injuries—to catastrophic injuries, causing life-altering disability or even death.
Common Injuries in Car Accidents
Like most states, California is a fault-based accident insurance state. Those at fault for a car accident are responsible for the damages to others, like property damage, medical expenses, lost income, and compensation for pain and suffering. Common injuries cited in car accident claims include the following:
These injuries occur due to the forward thrust of the body against the seatbelt and can impact multiple points on the back, including the lower lumbar region, middle, and upper back. Back injuries may be temporary, with pain and stiffness, or may cause long-term disability.
Neck injuries, including whiplash
The rapid back-and-forth, whip-like motion of the head and neck in a crash can result in serious neck injuries, including fractures. Injuries may require medical treatment, surgeries, and lengthy recovery time.
Head injuries/traumatic brain injuries
Some of the most serious injuries experienced by car accident victims are head injuries. A blow to the head or a rapid back-and-forth motion that causes the brain to twist and tear inside the skull results in trauma and cell damage. Brain injuries range from mild concussions with complete recovery to serious or catastrophic damage resulting in impairment or death.
Broken bones are common in car accidents, including single or multiple fractures. Fractures in car accidents occur to bones in the extremities, ribs, clavicle (collar bones), hips, and pelvis.
Thoracic injuries with internal organ damage
The pressure of the seatbelt against the human torso may result in damage to internal organ structures requiring emergency surgery and sometimes resulting in the loss of organ function.
Burns occur in car accidents due to fires from ignited gasoline and other combustible materials. Burns cause scarring, disfigurement, and loss of range of motion.
Injuries to the jaw, orbital bones (eyesockets), cheekbones, and teeth can cause disfigurement, painful reconstruction procedures, and lengthy recovery time.
Spinal cord injuries
Some of the most severe and life-altering injuries that occur in car accidents are injuries to the spinal cord. The spinal cord sends messages from the brain to the body below. Injuries to the spinal cord disrupt the messages from proceeding below the level of the injury, resulting in paralysis.
Soft tissue damage (sprains and torn ligaments), lacerations, bruises, and abrasions
These injuries may be painful but are recoverable. However, recovery may require temporary immobility and time away from work during healing.
In California, accident victims may still recover a portion of their damages after a car accident even if they were partly at fault for the accident. An experienced Van Nuys car accident lawyer can help you to recover the compensation you may be entitled to.