According to data compiled by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and the Centers for Disease Control, motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Also, it is the leading cause of death of young people from age 5 to 24.
More than 100 people die everyday in the United States from car accidents. Further, our Chicago car accident lawyers know that every year over 3 million sustain injuries due to motor vehicle crashes. The vast majority of these accidents and injuries involve passenger cars and light trucks.
Unfortunately, many of these car accident injuries and deaths occur in Chicago.
Severity of Injuries May Depend Upon Type of Accident
Car accident victims suffer many different kinds of injuries. The severity of injury partly depends upon the type of accident and where that person is situated in the vehicle during the impact.
Other factors affecting the severity of an injury include:
- Use of safety restraints
- The speed at the time of impact
- Vehicle safety features
- The age and physical condition of the victim
The most vulnerable part of the body for the driver is the head. As a general rule, in high-speed crashes, the head is always at risk for any vehicle occupant. This is because of the flexibility and delicacy of the neck joint.
When impacts occur, it is often the head which gets jarred the most, and is likely to impact an object. This happens since it is not held stationary with a belt, like the chest and lower trunk.
For the drivers, the chest is also very vulnerable. This is true no matter where the impact occurs. This, because any jarring of the driver’s body is most likely to create an impact between the chest and the steering column.
Driver-side airbags can greatly reduce the severity of chest and head injuries for drivers in crashes. Although, the seat belt is still the single most critical safety feature that a driver or passenger can use.
The abdomen and pelvis are also vulnerable body points. Especially if the occupant is sitting on the side of the vehicle where the impact occurs. This is because many abdominal and pelvic injuries occur as a result of direct impact.
What Are Some Common Car Accident Injuries?
Back and spinal injuries are also common in car accidents. These can be serious.
An individual’s core muscles support the spine. And while these core muscles may be strong, most movement that people engage in using those core muscles is controlled and gradual. It is not sudden and traumatic.
When a jarring impact occurs, those muscles cannot react in time to control the movement of the spine. Further, because the spinal cord houses the primary nerves that make up the central nervous system, spinal injuries can cause problems not just in the back, but throughout the lower body.
Spinal injuries such as herniated discs, pinched nerves, and crushed or fractured vertebrae can cause intense pain. They can also cause a tingling, and loss of sensation and control in the arms, legs, and torso.
Whenever the back is hurt in an accident, it is a good idea for an injury victim to seek medical help as soon as possible. Back and spinal injuries should be taken seriously.
Diagnostic exams (which may include an MRI or other tests) are essential. Spinal injuries are not always readily apparent. Yet, they can lead to severely debilitating conditions, such as paralysis, lifetime pain or disability.
Neck injuries can impact the mobility and sensations within the lower body. This is because the neck is where the spinal cord attaches to the brain as part of the central nervous system.
The neck is a particularly delicate and vulnerable part of the body. For example, whiplash is a common neck injury in car accidents. Usually, this occurs when the victim is hit from behind, although it can also happen in other types of collisions.
A whiplash injury occurs when the head snaps back from a sudden impact from behind. Then, it subsequently “whips” forward when the forward motion stops.
Whiplash can be a relatively minor injury, but it can also cause long-term chronic neck pain. Symptoms can range from soreness and stiffness to headaches, dizziness, numbness in the upper limbs. You can also experience trouble sleeping and trouble remembering.
Cervical herniations, and protruding and bulging discs are also common. These can sometimes resolve with physical therapy. but sometimes injections and surgery are needed.
Shoulder injuries, ironically, often occur as a result of seatbelt use. Although, the injuries will almost certainly be less traumatic than if he or she did not use a seatbelt.
When a body is jolted within the interior of a vehicle, the shoulder muscles and tendons can be strained or torn. This can happen when a person’s body is moving in one direction from the impact, but the seat belt essentially pulls or holds them back from moving in that direction.
Again, if a car accident victim feels any neck or shoulder pain following an accident, it is critical that they seek a complete medical examination. This, even if the injury appears minor or superficial at first. The severity of some neck and shoulder injuries may not be apparent until well after the accident has occurred.
Next, broken bones, or fractures are common. They are often in the arms, legs, ribs, pelvis, or other parts of the body. Some of these injuries, such as compound fractures or a broken pelvis, can involve major surgery and extensive physical therapy.
Bruising And Soreness
Nearly everyone who is in a car accident suffers from bruises and soreness, at the very least. These types of injuries, though not generally serious, can simply come from muscles tensing before, during, or after an impact. But they also come from relatively minor impacts against doors, windows, other occupants, and from straining against seat belts.
If windows break, occupants can also sustain cuts from glass. These lacerations may be serious depending upon the length, depth, and site of the cuts.
Contact an Accident Lawyer in Chicago
The Chicago car accident attorneys Abels & Annes, P.C. have many years of experience representing car accident victims injured by the negligence of other drivers. We have helped clients with relatively minor injuries, as well as those with traumatic brain injuries and spinal trauma.
Further, we have assisted the families of individuals killed in car accidents in wrongful death actions. If you need advice, assistance, or representation in a case involving a car accident injury, call us for a free consultation. We can be reached at (312) 924-7575, or use our online form or online chat to contact us today.
If you have car accident injuries from an accident in Chicago, call Abels & Annes, P.C. today. Call us toll free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO or Contact Us online for a free case consultation.