Today’s vehicles are packed with more sophisticated safety features than ever before. Despite this, injuries remain a common consequence of a car accident. While more severe accidents obviously present greater risk of serious injuries, even a minor fender bender can have long-term repercussions for your health.
If you’ve been in an accident, don’t ignore minor signs that something is wrong. There’s no benefit to putting off getting an injury looked at — in fact, it can make the problem worse. Here’s a brief overview of some of the most common car accident injuries, what to look for and when to see a doctor.
What Is a Whiplash Car Accident?
Whiplash is a common neck injury resulting from a rear end collision. As the name implies, it occurs when the head is quickly jerked back and forth, causing damage to muscles, ligaments, tendons and other soft tissue. Minor cases of whiplash will typically heal on their own, sometimes aided by the use of a neck brace to reduce strain. However, it is important to have a professional rule out more serious problems such as a spinal fracture that, if left untreated, can cause long-term damage.
See a doctor if: You experience worsening pain and stiffness, headaches, loss of range of motion in the neck, fatigue, dizziness, blurred vision, difficulty sleeping or ringing in the ears.
What Is Traumatic Brain Injury?
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a common consequence of a car accident without a seatbelt. It occurs when the head sustains a strong blow or jolt, causing damage to the brain that may not be accompanied by any external symptoms. Effects of TBI can be felt for years afterward — indeed, it is one of the leading causes of disability following a severe accident. Individuals with TBI are also at a higher risk for depression, anxiety and mood disorders.
See a doctor if: During the accident you lost consciousness for any amount of time, felt confused or disoriented, or if you continue to experience headaches, nausea, dizziness, seizures or loss of coordination.
What Are Some Common Back and Spine Injuries?
A back injury following a car accident can have serious long-term consequences that can affect your ability to get around, go to work and enjoy life. Common back injuries include herniated disks, which can lead to a chronic condition called sciatica, and compression fractures, which can collapse or deform individual vertebra, affecting the shape of the spine. Spinal injuries are equally serious and can cause full or partial paralysis. Back and spine injuries can occur at any speed, even in seemingly minor accidents.
See a doctor if: You experience stiffness, numbness, soreness or tingling in your back, have trouble breathing or experience a decreased range of motion.
Taking Care of Yourself After an Accident
Whiplash, TBI and back and spine injuries are just three of the more common car accident injuries — a list that also includes broken bones, sprains and fractures, scrapes and cuts, psychological damage and more.
Making sure you have the resources available for a safe recovery is one of the main responsibilities of your insurance provider. If you weren’t at fault in the accident, you are entitled to compensation for any hospital bills or other medical expenses, as well as for lost wages, lost earning potential, damages for pain and suffering, and more. Even if you were responsible for the accident, most collision policies allow for some amount of reimbursement to offset the cost of your recovery.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you have options. First and most importantly, don’t delay getting the treatment you need. Take note of any expenses you incur and, when you’re ready to explore your legal options, contact Dallas Horton & Associates to book a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers.