In Southern California, tens of thousands of accidents occur each year due to negligence. These preventable accidents can cause all sorts of harm, ranging from minor inconvenience to severe injury or death.
Accident victims don’t always notice their injuries right away because of shock, fear, or stress. Knowing which types of injuries are most common can help you obtain medical treatment necessary to avoid further harm or, in some cases, save your life.
Knowing which types of injuries are most common can also protect you from underreporting your symptoms. Insurance companies love when accident victims inadvertently fail to report symptoms to first responders or healthcare providers due to the shock, fear, and stress of being in a car accident. Insurance companies routinely try to reap the benefits of accident victims who don’t have the presence of mind to do a thorough self-assessment at the scene or after a crash.
Below are common car accident injuries that can have serious consequences if they are not reported or treated properly.
Traumatic Brain Injury (aka TBI, Concussion, or Brain Damage)
Because of the potential for a sudden jolt to cause the brain to move around inside the skull, traumatic brain injuries are common in car accidents. Brain damage can occur from rapid head movement even if the head does not hit anything, such as in a whiplash event (read below for more information about whiplash). In some cases, TBI can result in long-term or permanent complications and even death.
After a car accident, look out for common symptoms of TBI including headache, confusion, lightheadedness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and loss of consciousness. A gap in memory – even for just a split second – can indicate a loss of consciousness. Many times, car accident victims report no loss of consciousness because they simply do not realize their gap in memory was from a brief and sudden loss of consciousness.
Brain damage can have a profound impact on peoples’ lives and their loved ones. Personality changes, bizarre behavior, and a lack of self-awareness are common and dangerous consequences of brain damage. If you think you or a loved one suffered a traumatic brain injury, then it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
Whiplash or Spinal Injury
One of the most common injuries in rear-end accidents is whiplash. This is a situation in which the head snaps back and forth quickly at the neck (like Indiana Jones’s whip). Many times, especially in rear-end collisions, accident victims’ heads snap back so fast that they don’t even realize it – all they remember is their head bouncing forward off the headrest.
Whiplash can cause temporary or even permanent damage to the muscles and joints in the neck, shoulders, and upper back (read below for more information about joints). Symptoms can include pain, stiffness, soreness, and muscle spasms.
Symptoms can take time to manifest, and the pain often gets worse before it starts to get better. Many car accident victims feel fine the day of the crash, but then wake up the next day with debilitating symptoms. Anti-inflammatory medications and muscle relaxers from an urgent care visit, as well as physical therapy, chiropractic care, and acupuncture can all help speed up the healing process and provide relief.
If symptoms persist for longer than 6-8 weeks or if you feel pain, numbness, or tingling that radiates (travels into) other parts of your body, then you should see a medical specialist to assess whether or not you have a spinal injury, which can have serious consequences if not treated properly.
Shoulder or Knee Injury (Injury to Joints)
Shoulders and knees are joints. Our joints are delicate anatomical structures consisting of bones, cartilage, and connective tissue. Tendons connect muscles to bone and ligaments connect bone to bone. Joint injuries can have long-term or permanent consequences. Surgical intervention is often necessary for joint injuries because these delicate structures don’t have the rich source of blood flow and healing power that our muscles have.
Our shoulders and knees are particularly susceptible to injury in car accidents, depending on where our hands and feet are positioned at the time of the crash. With both hands on the steering wheel in a rear-end collision, for example, there is the potential for violent tugging and jamming of the shoulder joints that can cause injury to the rotator cuff muscles and tendons. Making matters worse, accidents in cramped or compact vehicles can cause a knee to slam against the door or dashboard, causing ligament or cartilage damage such as a torn meniscus.
At Effres & Effres, we know how difficult it can be for individuals who suffer serious injuries in accidents caused by someone else’s negligence. Those harmed often feel alone and want to know what they can do to protect themselves and how to handle the financial and emotional hardships that follow.
Our Agoura Hills car accident lawyers can work with you to protect your rights and help you navigate the legal process involved after a crash. We’ll guide you through the process, so you can feel the confidence and peace of mind you need for yourself and your loved ones.
Call us today at (818) 222-9720 to discuss your potential car accident claim.