Car Accident Injuries
Auto accidents are one of the leading causes of injury and death for people of all ages.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports there were 5.7 million crashes in the U.S. in 2013. Of those, nearly 31,000 resulted in a fatality and another 2.3 million people suffer injury.
The Boston car accident lawyers at The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman understand the physical and emotional trauma suffered by those involved and their loved ones. We recognize it can take weeks, months and sometimes even years to recover fully from car accident injuries.
From an economic standpoint, car accidents cost more than $277 billion annually – which breaks down to about $900 for every single person living in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention puts the total economic cost for Massachusetts car accidents at $394 million - $6 million in medical costs and $388 million in work loss costs.
Between 330 and 430 people die in Massachusetts crashes every year. Roughly two-thirds of those are passengers, as opposed to drivers or non-occupants (pedestrians, bicyclists, etc.).
Of those who survive, injuries can vary significantly. Even in the same types of crashes, injuries can be vastly different from person-to-person. Some factors that can affect the type and severity of traffic accident injuries:Vehicle Speeds
- Angle at which vehicles collided
- Age and general health of those involved
- Use of seat belts
- Inclement weather/poor road conditions
That said, there are some crash-related injuries emergency workers and doctors see over and over again.Head Injuries
Head injuries are among the most serious type of injuries to result from auto collisions.
These can range from lacerations and abrasions to concussions to traumatic brain injuries, with the latter in many cases resulting in serious and permanent damage.
Every five minutes, someone dies from a head injury, according to the Center for Head Injury Services. More than half of these cases are the result of motor vehicle accidents. Trauma to the brain in an auto accident can occur when the skull strikes an object (windshield, steering wheel, pavement, etc.) or when the brain slams against the hard bone of the anterior skull. The latter can result in contusions and bleeds that may not be immediately apparent at the time of the crash.
The most common types of head injuries resulting in car crashes are:
- Concussions. This is the most common type and results by direct impact trauma to the head. It may or may not be characterized by a temporary loss of consciousness. Other symptoms might include dizziness, confusion, and headache.
- Contusions. Localized bleeding in the brain caused by direct impact trauma.
- Diffuse Axonal Injuries. These are the result of severe shaking or rotating, which creates tears in the brain, resulting in neuro-chemical disruption, permanent damage and sometimes death.
- Penetration injuries. When sharp objects enter the skull through the brain.
The cost of a severe brain injury can exceed $4 million over the course of one’s life. That’s why it’s so imperative for crash victims to seek not only immediate medical attention but prompt legal counsel. Early intervention by an experienced lawyer can help to preserve your rights and protect your interests.Neck Injuries
Another frequently-reported harm caused by car accidents is a neck injury.
The cervical spine (of which the neck is a part) is quite flexible. However, it’s also at risk for damage when subjected to sudden, powerful movement – like the kind often suffered in the event of an auto collision.
The most common forms of neck injuries are:
- Neck sprains and Neck strains. These are also sometimes referred to as “whiplash.” Neck sprain results from ligaments in the neck being stretched or torn, resulting in pain or stiffness. Neck strain results from the muscles in the neck being stretched or torn.
- Cervical Radiculopathy. This is also sometimes referred to as a “pinched nerve.” This occurs when a nerve is irritated or pinched, causing it to not work properly and resulting in surrounding muscle weakness, skin numbness and/or localized pain.
- Herniated disc. Doctors sometimes refer to this as a “ruptured disc” or “slipped disc.” This is when the gelatinous inner core of the vertebral disc is squeezed out of the center due to too much pressure on a disc.
These aren’t the only possible neck injuries to result from a crash, but they are among the most reported.
It’s important to note it may not be immediately apparent following a crash that the neck has been injured. Often, this is the result of pain-masking endorphins and adrenaline. Plus, neck damage can initially manifest elsewhere in the body. That’s why it’s important to seek immediate medical attention, even if you feel “fine.”
Common signs of a neck injury are:
- Neck pain
- Limited range of neck motion
- Reduced reflexes, weakness or numbness in hands and arms
- Muscle spasms in the neck
Injuries to one’s back in a Boston car accident are often quite severe and can have lasting consequences to a patient’s health and well-being. Even seemingly minor fender-benders at slower speeds can result in injury to a person’s back because human bodies weren’t made to absorb that kind of sudden, jarring impact.
When we talk about back injuries in a car accident, we are not only talking about damage to the spinal cord and its vertebrae, but also the surrounding discs, muscles, ligaments, nerves, and tendons. An injury to any of these components is going to, at a minimum, result in some pain. In some cases, the result can be debilitating and even permanently disabling.
Some types of back injuries that occur in traffic crashes:
- Spinal cord injuries. These are by far the most serious. Damage can range from bruising to permanent injury to the cord and surrounding nerves, resulting in paralysis. People who suffer spinal cord injuries are also at high risk of developing secondary infections (in surgery), pneumonia, bleeding, clotting, and leakage of spinal fluid.
- Thoracic spine injuries. These are injuries to the upper back, connecting to the ribs and chest. Due to the high velocity of a car accident, we usually see sprains and fractures. These injuries can be extremely serious, resulting in permanent nerve damage.
- Lumbar spine injuries. These are injuries to the lower back and may result in bruising, swelling, tenderness, pain and limited range of motion that could hinder your ability to work or even perform basic tasks.
Usually, back injuries are diagnosed with CTs, s-rays, bone scans, MRIs and myelograms. Treatments can range from short-term pain management and physical therapy to surgery and years-long rehabilitation and chiropractic care.Face Injuries
Facial trauma resulting from a traffic collision can not only result in severe disfigurement – and associated emotional trauma – it can also result in loss of function. Researchers say as many as 70 percent of people injured in car accidents sustain some type of facial injury.
These often result from the face striking the steering wheel, windshield, airbag, dashboard, side window, car seats or shattered glass. Motorcycle accident victims especially are prone to facial injuries.
Some examples of facial injuries resulting from crashes include:
- Broken nasal bone
- Damaged or fractured upper jaw
- Broken mandible or lower jaw
- Fractured cheekbone
- Fractured forehead
- Fractured eye socket/eye injuries
- Dental damage (broken or chipped teeth, lost or missing teeth, etc.)
- Facial deformities
These type of injuries can result in a range of disabilities, both temporary and permanent – from difficulty in consuming food to blindness. In some cases, facial trauma has been known to result in death when there is excessive blood loss or when the injuries result in blockage of the victim’s ability to breathe.
Procedures necessary to ensure quality facial and dental reconstruction may be time-consuming and expensive. When this type of trauma occurs because of someone else’s negligence, the victim should not have to pay for the expense on top of coping with injury and rehabilitation. Further, he or she should be compensated for pain and suffering, lost wages and other damages.Soft Tissue Injury
Soft tissue injuries are often the subject of litigation following a car accident.
These are injuries to soft tissue such as muscles, tendons, cartilage, ligaments and other fibrous tissue that connect and cushion the bones. Often, they are sustained in crashes as a result of a sudden blow or jerking motion.
Some examples of soft tissue injuries include:
- Stress injuries
Most soft tissue injuries are the result of auto accidents – including whiplash. It is very important following a crash to be examined by a doctor for soft-tissue injuries. Many insurance companies have set limits for certain types of injuries. Without an early diagnosis, securing compensation for treatment can be difficult.
This is especially true because soft tissue injuries don’t show up the way some other physical trauma does. For example, you can’t spot it in an x-ray. Medical records filed immediately after the crash can help build and strengthen your case for damages related to soft tissue injury.
Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman today for a free and confidential consultation.
Call (617) 367-2900 – NO FEE UNLESS SUCCESSFUL