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Common Car Accident Injuries

A car accident is an event that typically happens with little or no warning. Therefore, there is little that you can do after an impact occurs to prevent or minimize your risk of getting hurt. Although your risk of incurring a severe injury largely depends on how fast each car was traveling when the collision occurred, you could experience significant trauma even in a relatively minor crash. Let’s take a closer look at the types of injuries that you might incur in a wreck and the steps that you are encouraged to take in its aftermath.

Traumatic Brain Injury

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) describes a wide range of issues that negatively impact this organ. In a car crash, a TBI may be caused by hitting your head against the dashboard or other hard surfaces inside of your vehicle. It may also be caused by hitting pavement or frozen ground after being ejected from the crash. Finally, this type of injury may be caused by a flying object such as a shard of glass that either makes contact with your skull or goes through it.

It’s important to note the symptoms of a TBI may not be immediately apparent. In some cases, they may cause subtle changes in your mood, sleep patterns or appetite over a period of several weeks or months. It’s also possible that the symptoms of a concussion or brain bleed won’t be immediately apparent because your body is in shock.

However, this doesn’t mean that it isn’t causing potentially irreversible damage to your mental or physical health. Therefore, you are strongly encouraged to seek treatment immediately after an accident to rule out a concussion or other serious head injuries. Seeking treatment in a timely manner might also help to create a paper trail that may make it easier for your attorney to establish that you were the victim of a crash caused by the defendant’s negligence.


Whiplash occurs when your head or neck are forced to move in an unnatural motion in the immediate aftermath of a motor vehicle wreck. For example, if you were looking to the side when the impact occurred, your face and head might move in one direction while your neck or shoulders are forced to go in another direction.

Even if you were looking straight ahead when a car made contact with yours, it’s possible that your head will be pushed forward while your shoulders remain in place. Common symptoms of whiplash include an inability to turn your head or lift your arms. This may be the result of torn muscles or broken bones in your neck or shoulders.

Mild to moderate cases of whiplash may be healed with little more than rest and a heating pad. However, severe cases of whiplash may require surgery or more serious interventions to ensure that you can make as close to a full medical recovery as possible.

Broken Bones

Your hands, feet and limbs tend to be the most vulnerable to fractures in the aftermath of a motor vehicle wreck. This is because they are the most likely to make contact with surfaces inside of the car after this happens. For instance, if you’re sitting in a rear seat at the time of impact, your shin might make contact with the back of the driver or front passenger seat. If you’re sitting in the front of the car, your shin might make contact with the glove box or other surfaces in that general area.

Your hands and arms may be at a higher risk for a fracture if you use them to try to stop your momentum in the first seconds after impact. You may also be at risk of a fracture if you were reaching for something prior to the wreck taking place. This is because your hand or arm may be bent at an awkward angle or forced to move in an unnatural manner as a collision unfolds.

Of course, you can experience broken bones in your face depending on the circumstances of the wreck. For instance, if your face gets pushed into the front seat or into the center console, you may incur a broken orbital or cheek bone. There is also a chance that you’ll dislocate an elbow, shoulder or kneecap in a collision in addition to breaking a bone.


Lacerations are most common on your face, arms or any other part of your body that is not covered. Therefore, they may be more likely if you are involved in a wreck during the spring or summer months when you may be wearing shorts and a t-shirt instead of a sweater and long pants.

Ideally, you will seek treatment for any open wound as quickly as possible. This is because even a minor cut or scrape could become infected if you don’t act in a timely manner. You are also strongly encouraged to seek medical attention if you are having trouble putting enough pressure on a wound to minimize blood loss.

Internal Bleeding

Internal bleeding may be especially dangerous because you might not even know that anything is wrong until you lose consciousness or experience another type of health emergency. The exact symptoms of an internal bleed depend on where it is taking place. For instance, a brain bleed may present as a bad headache or cause short-term memory issues. If bleeding is taking place in the stomach, you may feel stomach pain or other symptoms that may feel similar to an ulcer or acid reflux.

Alternatively, you may feel a tingling sensation in your hands and feet or have difficulty breathing. It’s also possible that your skin will turn blue or purple where blood is pooling inside of you. Finally, you may go into shock or experience changes in blood pressure as a result of this type of injury.

Internal Organ Damage

Internal organs such as the kidney, liver and heart may be damaged as the result of blunt force trauma. For example, if a shard of glass were to go inside of you, the force of the impact could be enough to lacerate your kidney, which may require surgery to fix. As with an internal bleed, you won’t know if an organ has been punctured or lacerated just by looking at it. In some cases, you won’t feel any pain or otherwise notice that something is amiss for days or weeks after you have been hurt.

There are a number of signs that one or more organs may have been injured in a car wreck. For instance, you may have sudden bouts of dizziness, fatigue or an overall lack of energy. You may also have trouble breathing, have low or inconsistent blood pressure or experience pain in your abdomen.

It’s also possible that you’ll notice bruising, swelling or tenderness in the vicinity of the damaged organ. Finally, a poorly functioning liver may cause your skin or eyes to develop a yellow tint.

Spinal Cord Damage

If you experience numbness in your arms or legs, you may have incurred a spinal cord injury. The same may be true if you don’t have feeling in your extremities in the aftermath of a wreck. In some cases, it may be possible to avoid full paralysis or other significant damage if a spinal cord injury is treated in a timely manner.

Heart Attack

As car accidents tend to happen with little warning, it may cause a significant amount of stress in a short period of time. Depending on your health at the time of the crash, that stress may be enough to cause a mild to moderate coronary episode. It’s also possible that you will have a heart attack in the moments after the wreck as you begin to realize what happened and become overwhelmed with emotion.

Mental Trauma

In addition to physical injuries, you may also experience symptoms typically associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For example, you may feel anxious about getting in a car or about driving past the place where the accident took place. You may also have an aversion to loud noises or noises that might be associated with a vehicle such as screeching tires or a misfiring engine.

You might also experience nightmares or consistently replay the events that led up to the accident in your mind on a regular basis. An inability to shut your mind off may make it difficult or impossible to get quality sleep, which can exacerbate any mental health problems that you have to deal with in the aftermath of a car wreck.

Depending on the facts of your case, you may be entitled to receive compensation for mental health services as part of a personal injury settlement or jury award. You may also be entitled to compensation for medication designed to help you overcome fear or anxiety related to a defendant’s mistake.

Don’t Hesitate to Contact an Attorney

An attorney may be able to take a number of actions in an effort to help you obtain the compensation that you might be entitled to under Texas law. For instance, an attorney will likely file a lawsuit on your behalf the day that this person is hired to represent your interests. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you have to resolve the case through litigation. Instead, it simply preserves your right to sue if settlement talks don’t yield the result that you are looking for. Texas law generally gives you two years from the date of an accident to take this step.

It’s worth noting that the statute of limitations clock may toll under certain circumstances. For example, if you are incarcerated, were a minor when the accident happened or were mentally incapacitated, you may have more than two years to file a claim. In addition to potentially filing a lawsuit, your advocate may gather evidence, hire expert witnesses or take other steps to prepare for settlement talks or a trial. Your legal counsel may also make public statements on your behalf to minimize the risk that you’ll say or do anything that might be a liability as it relates to obtaining a favorable outcome in your case.

If you have been involved in a car accident, you’re strongly encouraged to seek medical treatment as quickly as possible. After you do so, it’s generally in your best interest to seek the advice of a Texas attorney. Doing so may help you better understand and protect your rights throughout the personal injury legal process.