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Beyond whiplash: Vehicle collisions can cause less common injuries


The forces at work when your body is in a vehicle collision are significant and complicated. There are many factors that determine how and where you suffer injuries, including the size of the vehicles involved, the point of impact, the speed of impact, your overall health status, your genetic predisposition, your position during the impact, whether you saw the collision coming and so on.

All injuries suffered by victims in a car crash deserve compensation, even if symptoms were not immediately clear. For many lesser-known injuries, the victim may suffer onset of symptoms later or may take a while to realize that symptoms they experience are connected with the crash. Hiring Vern Ready as your personal injury attorney means a full and comprehensive interview and case workup. As you progress through your treatment and recovery, Vern will be by your side to understand the full impact of all of your injuries.

Whiplash is just one type of injury

When people think about injuries after a car crash, they likely first think about whiplash, the condition of soreness and injury caused by your head and neck “whipping” back and forth rapidly during a crash. Whiplash can be a serious injury and the soreness a person suffers can be caused by tears to muscles, ligaments and disc problems.

But the injuries I’ve seen my clients experience after suffering a car crash are diverse and wide-ranging, both in type of injury and severity. Some resolve in a few days, some in a few weeks or months, and some, after years, are still disrupting clients’ lives and wellbeing. Some injuries are permanent and lifelong. When you are in a collision, you may not only suffer whiplash.

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)

Brain injuries are surprisingly common in car accidents, with an estimated 14% of all TBIs caused by motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. Car crashes are also the leading cause of TBI-related death in people aged 5 to 24, and are the leading cause of TBI-related hospitalization in people aged 15-44 years. These injuries can also be underreported and undetected, as TBIs can be suffered at all speeds of impact, even low-impact crashes, and can be suffered when your neck whips back and forth. Your head does not have to make contact with the windshield, window, dashboard, or airbag for you to suffer a brain injury.

Many of my clients suffer confusion, dizziness, cognition problems, sleep difficulty, headaches, tinnitus or ear ringing, and new mental health problems following a car accident, and I have extensive experience advocating for full and fair compensation for these types of injuries. Check out my previous blog on TBIs for how these injuries play a role in an injury case.

Shoulder damage

Many of my clients have suffered shoulder injuries, including rotator cuff tears that require surgical repair. Some clients never fully regain their range of motion and may have to change their physical activities or occupations. During a collision, the impact and force causes occupants’ bodies to be jerked, twisted, or thrown violently and that motion can result in dislocation, strains, or tears.

Ear and hearing damage

Crashes are loud. There is the loud noise from the crash itself, plus the loud noise and deployment of airbags. Many victims of crashes report temporary hearing loss, ear pain, or ear ringing, known as tinnitus. Some can even suffer a ruptured eardrum from the force of the impact. Some victims never recover from this kind of damage.

I have fought for compensation for clients with permanent hearing loss and tinnitus, a condition that is extremely difficult to cure and requires lengthy treatment. Many sufferers just have to find a way to live with the constant ringing, and without proper advocacy, the insurance company may try to argue this condition could not possibly be related to the collision caused by their insured driver.

Internal organ injuries

Seatbelts are lifesaving, and you should always wear one. Sometimes, a seatbelt can cause injuries to your delicate internal organs when your body slams against it during a collision. I have seen cases where victims have suffered bladder injuries, incontinence, spleen injuries, liver injuries, and more. I always recommend that any car crash victim be evaluated by medical personnel ASAP, but it is especially critical to seek medical attention if you experience severe pain or bruising in your abdomen.

Dental trauma

Dental injuries following a car crash can also take a while to develop, unless in the case of broken teeth, jaws, or lacerated mouth or tongue injuries. Many victims may suffer dental soreness or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems following a collision, due to the force of impact or the face hitting the airbag, steering wheel or window.

Pregnancy complications

Pregnant individuals are at high risk of injury during a car crash, and medical attention should always be sought at the scene. Paramedics will almost always insist on a trip to the hospital to evaluate the mother and fetus, even if a crash is seemingly low impact. I wrote about the special risks to being in a crash while pregnant here.

Joint, ligament and facet injuries

Injuries to the knees, wrists, hands, neck, and feet are another type of injury that may not be immediately evident after a crash. Many victims, for example, may suffer wrist injuries if they see a collision coming and brace for impact against the steering wheel. These injuries can be strains, sprains, or tears, and may require physical therapy or even surgery to aid in recovery. In the spine, facet injuries can cause pain that will not show up on a standard x-ray.

Chronic pain

Many, many people who have been in a collision report experiencing chronic, lasting pain. Studies vary, but estimates range from 13% to almost half of car crash victims reporting chronic pain years after the event. This may be due to neck or back injuries, which can radiate easily to other parts of the body, or it may not be entirely clear why pain does not resolve. Early evaluation and treatment intervention is critical, but in some cases, a person can only recover so much and then has to develop strategies and coping mechanisms to live with chronic pain. Some treatments may be helpful, including treatments like nerve ablations, surgery, physical therapy, acupuncture, psychological therapy and others. Coping with chronic pain is expensive, burdensome, and incredibly difficult.

Psychological conditions

While harder to “see,” our mental health is as important, if not more important than, our physical health. Experiencing a traumatic event like a car or truck crash can cause psychological conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can manifest in symptoms like sleeplessness, irritability, anxiety, or avoidance. Anxiety and depression are also very common, especially if a crash victim has suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). If a victim already has these conditions, they can be easily exacerbated. Suffering physical injuries can also have serious mental health impact, as you are navigating recovery or perhaps limitations you never had before.

I have written about the importance of seeking compensation for mental health damages here, and I feel passionately about ensuring that all potential injuries are considered in your legal claim for compensation.

Talk to Colorado attorney Vern Ready about your injuries today

These injuries highlight the importance of seeking medical attention immediately after a car accident, even if no immediate symptoms are present. They also underscore the value of consulting with a personal injury attorney to ensure that all potential injuries are considered in any claim. Yes, your medical billing for these injuries should be compensated, but I will also consider any temporary or permanent limitation or disability, the pain and suffering that you did not ask for, the impact on your livelihood, and the harm to your quality of life. Contact me today to discuss your case. Consultations are free by calling 303-339-8846. You can also schedule your free consultation with me at my office, at your home, or on Zoom/Facetime/Webex by clicking here.