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Common Car Crash Injuries

Most Common Injuries After a Car Accident

In 2015, one in every 44 individuals got into a reportable car accident in Pennsylvania, and that same year, 1 in 156 people involved in a traffic crash received injuries. Car accident injuries can result in high medical expenses, missed work and dramatic changes to your quality of life. If you received some of the following common injuries, it's essential that you work with an Allentown personal injury lawyer to help build a claim for compensation.

Scrapes and Cuts

During a car crash, the impact on the vehicle can scrape off layers of skin from your body. Scrapes and cuts also happen when you get hit by loose projectiles like broken glass or other car parts. Scrapes are painful, and depending on the extent, you might notice redness around the wound, swelling or pus. When neglected, bruises and cuts could lead to infections and other complications.

Head Injury

When an accident causes the car to stop unexpectedly or move in a different direction, it can injure the vehicle occupants' heads. If a person crashes into the window or steering wheel, it might lead to minor head injuries like bruises or scrapes. However, in severe collisions, you might begin to notice signs like bleeding, memory problems, loss of balance, blurred vision or dizziness. Some people even pass out. A severe head injury can lead to brain damage.

Internal Bleeding

The forces during a car accident can easily damage your delicate internal organs. This is prevalent in high-speed collisions. When you hit something forcefully, the organs beneath the surface of your skin might begin to bleed. Sometimes, the pressure around your body resulting from a restraining seat belt can cause the same problems. If you fail to seek quick medical attention, internal bleeding can be fatal. Some common signs to watch out for include loss of consciousness, abdominal pain, swelling, headache and deep purple skin color in the affected area.

Broken Ribs

The rib cage contains very fragile bones, and even some moderate impacts during accidents can break them. If the impact of the crash pushes the car's occupants sideways, front or backward, they can break their ribs. The force of deploying airbags can also hurt your ribs. Minor fractures typically heal quickly and cause minimal discomfort or pain. However, in case of a significant injury, it can affect your breathing or damage other organs. Broken ribs require more extended periods of rest.

Knee Trauma

Depending on your sitting position during a car accident, you can hit your knee against the dashboard, front seat, doors or even steering wheel. If the cartilage at the knee twists abruptly during a collision, it could lead to worse problems. The knee is significantly complicated, and even minor injuries can be excruciating, leading to difficulty walking. Other knee injuries can result in joint replacement, which takes months or years before recovery.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Not all car accidents result in physical injuries. Sometimes, the car's occupants suffer from emotional distress or a mental condition known as a post-traumatic stress disorder. Some people may develop a driving phobia, deep depression or guilt, especially if other passengers died or suffered extreme injuries. Some car accident victims experience complications throughout their life where they begin to associate certain sights or sounds with the situation, resulting in nightmares, sleep disturbance and anxiety. You might need to work with therapists to give you the support necessary to heal.

Chest Injuries and Bruises

During car accidents, the driver's chest can hit against the steering wheel, resulting in injury. The impact can cause bruises or contusions, and it could also lead to internal bleeding or collapsed lungs in severe cases. In addition, if your body suddenly moves in a forward motion, the high level of impact against the seat belt could cause injuries like bruises. Chest injury symptoms include shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, coughing up blood and numbness. This type of bodily injury often requires more surgery than others.

Spinal Cord Injuries and Paralysis

If your body experiences a sudden force during a car accident, it could damage your spine. The impact can result in a herniated disc, which occurs when the vertebrae rupture or shift out of place. In extreme cases, this can cause partial or total paralysis that might limit your mobility.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

A car accident can alter how your brain handles information or processes emotions. Traumatic brain injuries happen as a result of a heavy blow or an object piercing into your head. This mainly occurs when a person's head slams into a hard object in the car or when the brain knocks against the skull due to the collision's impact. Such injuries can be treated, but serious accidents can cause long-term brain damage.


A vehicle can catch fire after impact, or you might come into contact with a heated surface, fluids or chemicals that cause burns. A severe burn may require extensive surgery.

Soft Tissue Injuries

A soft tissue injury happens when a car crash damages the body's connective tissues, tendons, muscles or ligaments. Whiplash is the most common mild tissue injury that occurs at the neck or back. When the car causes your body to shift at a speed or an angle that it shouldn't move, it can strain your soft tissues without necessarily breaking the bones. Whiplash can occur even when the car is traveling at a low speed of 15 mph before impact, and it's possible to get whiplash with or without a seat belt. It's a harrowing experience that can take weeks to heal. Other examples of soft tissue injuries include back sprains, abrasion and avulsions. Some symptoms to look out for include swelling, limited range of motion and bruising.

Broken Bones

You can hit your body against hard surfaces during a car crash, which stresses your muscles to limits that they can't withstand. As a result, you might end up with a broken arm, shoulder or leg. Sometimes, a person's arm gets pinned against the door. The rear passenger's seat has minimal legroom, so in case of a collision, a passenger might hit objects like the front seat, leading to bone breakages. The wrists and finger bones are incredibly fragile, and if they get trapped between car parts, they will break. Fractures are common in car accidents. Based on the severity of the situation, you could take a few weeks or months to recover. You might also need surgery to repair compound fractures.

Limb Loss

Every year, approximately 30,000 Americans face amputation due to accidental bodily injury. During a car crash, the arms, leg, fingers or toes can suffer severe damage, and the only solution is surgical amputation. It's a devastating condition that can have permanent disabling effects on the victim.

Getting Legal Help After an Accident

When you suffer from a car accident injury, partnering with an Allentown personal injury lawyer may be the best way to get full compensation. An experienced lawyer may help you build adequate evidence to negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. A successful claim might recover all costs associated with the injury so that you have enough finances to restore your life to normal. If you need help after a car accident, reach out to the Metzger & Kleiner law firm. You can get in touch with us online or call us at 610-435-7400 in Lehigh Valley and 215-567-6616 in Philadelphia.

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