Georgia sees one of the highest fatality rates in car accidents in the country. In 2017, there was an average of 4 deaths per day. The next year, in 2018, there were over 145,000 people injured in a car accident in Georgia alone. In Metro Atlanta –Fulton County, Dekalb County, Gwinnett County, Cobb County, and Clayton County – contains the most car accidents and the severity of the accident is more extreme.
Here at the Law Office of Julie M. Essa, LLC, we see clients every day who are injured due to car accidents.
The type and severity of the injuries we see depend on factors such as:
- Was the person wearing a seat belt?
- Was it a low-speed collision or a high-speed collision?
- Did the car have airbags?
- Was the person facing straight ahead or were they turned a certain direction?
- Did the vehicle get hit from a front, side, or rear?
There are 7 categories of injuries caused by car accidents.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue damage is the most common injury we see at Law Office of Julie M. Essa, LLC. This includes injuries such as whiplash (cervical sprain) or muscular damage. These injuries are not as visible, but they can cause severe distress for any person struggling to recover from an accident. In that type of injury, the muscles and ligaments are stretched due to sudden movements imposed on the head and neck in the collision. These same mechanisms and forces can cause soft tissue injuries in other areas of the body such as the back. Car accidents often cause mid-back and low-back muscle sprains, and sometimes cause more serious back injuries because of the impact force against the spine.
These injuries may be hard to detect initially but can affect day-to-day life. Pain in your neck and back as a result of a car accident can also cause you to lose sleep as you can’t find rest in pain. These injuries can also contribute to headaches or migraines. Losing sleep and constant pain is difficult to deal with for extended periods of time and can affect your ability to go to work and take care of children.
Scrapes and Cuts
When you are in a car any loose objects inside the car immediately become projectiles. This includes cell phones, coffee mugs, eyeglasses, purses, books, dash-mounted GPS systems, etc. If any of these items hit your body, they can easily cut your skin or cause other injuries.
Sometimes these scrapes and cuts are relatively minor and require no medical treatment. More serious injuries can result in loss of blood and may require sutures. These injuries can be exacerbated by air-bag deployment causing a second impact to any already existing injury.
Head injuries can take a number of forms, some relatively minor and others quite severe. A car’s unexpected stop or change in direction often causes the heads of the car occupants to experience sudden and unnatural movements. Impact with a side window or steering wheel can cause scrapes and bruising to the head, or even deeper lacerations.
Facial injuries in car accidents can be caused by broken glass or by impact with a steering wheel, dash, windshield, airbag, side window, car seat or any hard surface. This can of course cut the face, but it can also cause breakage to the jaw or nose. Disfigurement from a car crash may require surgical correction and could leave a victim with a lasting scar.
More severe collision impacts can cause a closed head injury. In that situation, the fluid and tissue inside the skull are damaged because of the sudden movement or impact of the head. Less severe closed head injuries often result in concussions, while the most severe impacts can cause brain damage.
Car accidents are a leading cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI), which occurs when the brain is damaged by a blow or a piercing injury to the head. Each year, 50,000 people die from TBI and another 80,000 to 90,000 suffer long-term disability.
Internal injuries often occur in the chest or abdomen. Drivers often experience chest injuries because of their position behind the steering wheel, which allows very little freedom of movement before the chest collides with the steering wheel or airbag. If a person’s body is thrown forward in a collision, even though it might not impact the steering wheel or dashboard, the chest area will still experience a high level of force against the shoulder harness or seat belt, which can cause severe bruising. This can cause internal injuries such as internal bleeding due to bruising the stomach or the lungs. It can also cause bones to break, such as ribs or shoulders. A fractured rib is especially dangerous because it is very difficult to detect and if you move or are moved a certain way, the broken rib can puncture a lung.
Other internal injuries that are common are herniated discs in your spine. This combined with the soft tissue damage discussed above can cause severe pain and suffering. In extreme cases, injuries to the spine can result in a person becoming paralyzed.
Arm and leg Injuries
The most common injuries in a person’s arms and legs are broken bones. If your car suffers a side impact, your arms and legs might be thrown hard against the door. While positioned as a passenger in a car, your legs typically have very little room for movement. This impact can crush the bones in your arms and legs very easily.
Other injuries that occur in a person’s arms and legs are joint trauma. Car accidents often cause an occupant’s knees to hit the dashboard or seats in front of them. This can cause the knee to be bruised or cause dislocation of the knee. Also, the meniscus, or cartilage in the knee, can tear if the knee is twisted or turned abruptly in a crash.
In more severe car accidents, a car may catch fire. Even if a car does not catch fire, liquid from an engine can be extremely hot. In these cases, the occupants of a vehicle can suffer burns either from fire, steam, or chemicals released as a result of the accident. Sometimes these burns are minor and treatable but very severe burns may require surgery and skin grafting.
Not all injuries sustained in a car accident are physical. You might suffer from mental and emotional injuries because of a car accident. You could have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and things that used to be routine may become difficult or even impossible for a person to manage. Also, you can suffer from survivor’s guilt if you were in a fatal car accident. You may be able to recover for your mental health treatment and emotional suffering after a car accident.
Please remember that not all injuries are detectable immediately after a car accident. It is extremely important that you seek medical care as soon as possible after an accident to ensure that you are healthy and that you will not suffer long-lasting injuries as a result of a car accident.
Here at the Law Office of Julie M. Essa, LLC, we are experts at helping our clients get the medical care they need in order to recover fully from their car accidents. We know that even minor injuries can cause long-lasting effects on the day-to-day life of our clients and we are dedicated to ensuring that our clients do not have to live with debilitating pain. If you have been injured in a car accident, please give us a call to schedule your FREE consultation today.