Internal Injury From Car Accident in Boston

Thousands of car crashes happen on the streets of Boston every year, and many more throughout Massachusetts and New England. Although car injuries like lacerations and broken bones can be apparent, others may not be.

Internal injuries are not only common, but they are extremely dangerous. There are often no outward symptoms alerting the injured person that they are in danger and need immediate medical treatment. In some cases, internal injuries remain unidentified until days after an accident when the accident victim is rushed to the hospital in severe distress.

If you or a person you love was hurt in a car accident and ended up with an internal injury, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages. The attorneys at Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers have been recovering maximum compensation for Boston car crash victims for more than 25 years.

Our law firm provides free consultations and has a "no-win, no-pay" guarantee. As a result, you pay nothing until we win your case and recover money for you.

Why Are Internal Injuries So Dangerous?

After a car accident, drivers and passengers typically perform self-evaluations on their bodies to check for any injuries and determine their severity and need for medical treatment. Internal injuries are often referred to as “silent” injuries because they are not readily apparent.

Emergency medical personnel who arrive at the crash scene may examine those involved to see if they need urgent care. However, to properly diagnose internal injuries, medical professionals need X-rays, CT scans, and other diagnostic tools.

When internal injuries are undiagnosed and left untreated, they can permanently damage the body and cause death. Even a slow-speed traffic crash can leave an accident victim with severe, life-threatening, internal injuries.

Common Internal Injuries Caused by Car Accidents

After a car crash, vehicle occupants may find themselves slammed against the steering wheel, airbags, or dashboard. While seatbelts certainly offer protection and can stop a person from flying through a windshield, they too can cause internal injuries. Specifically, seat belts can cause damage to the muscles in the torso, lungs, liver, spleen, bowels, and heart.

Depending on different factors, including the type of vehicles involved (car or truck), the speed at which the vehicles were traveling, and the angle of impact (head-on, rear-end or side-impact collision), injuries can range from minor to life-threatening.

Here are some common internal injuries that our car accident attorneys tend to see in our Boston office:

Broken ribs: While you can put a cast on a broken arm or leg, there is no similar treatment for a broken rib. Broken ribs make breathing extremely painful and can be dangerous if they pierce a lung, liver, or spleen.

Collapsed lung: When a broken rib or another sharp object punctured the lung, it can collapse. The scary part is that a collapsed lung is not always painful and may not cause significant breathing problems. For these reasons, emergency responders may overlook this condition during a roadside exam. However, if left untreated, a collapsed lung can have deadly consequences.

Organ damage: A forceful blow can cause damage to the body's vital organs. Depending on the force of impact, a damaged organ can result in internal bleeding, or the organ may shut down and stop functioning. The two organs that are typically injured in car collisions are the liver and kidneys. A lacerated liver, or a tear of the liver tissue, can be fatal.

Ruptured spleen: The spleen is a fist-sized organ in the left side of your abdomen that is part of your immune system. If a car crash causes the spleen to rupture, the accident victim may experience internal bleeding and need surgery to repair or remove the damaged organ.

Rupture of abdominal aorta: When the stomach becomes compressed, the abdominal aorta—a long blood vessel that runs from your chest to your abdomen and carries blood from your heart to the other parts of your body—can rupture. An abdominal aorta rupture is almost always fatal. About 80% of people with this type of injury either die on the way to the hospital or do not survive surgery.

Traumatic brain injury: A head injury can result in a traumatic brain injury, also referred to as a TBI. In the worst-case scenario, a blow to the head can stop oxygen from reaching parts of the brain and cause permanent brain damage. Accident victims with severe brain injuries may need therapy to relearn basic tasks like walking and talking, and may require life-long care. Even those with milder TBIs, such as concussions, might need expensive medical treatment and aftercare.

As evidenced above, internal injuries are often serious and may require hospitalization and surgery.

Compensation for Internal Injuries Caused by Car Accidents

The bottom line is that all car accident victims should get checked out by a medical professional following a crash, even if they do not believe they have suffered a serious injury. Doctors can use diagnostic testing to rule out internal injuries.

Not only is it best to err on the side of caution and protect your health, but medical reports are one piece of evidence you can use to document your injuries and start building a case against any negligent parties. Without this documentation, an at-fault driver or the driver's insurance carrier may argue that your injuries are not as bad as you say they are or that you hurt yourself elsewhere.

Accident victims with internal injuries may be entitled to compensation for:

  • Medical bills, including doctor visits, hospital bills, and ongoing care needed after the accident.
  • Lost wages, including a future reduction in income caused by the injuries.
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress

If a loved one's internal injuries prove fatal, an attorney can help you with a wrongful death claim.

Detecting an Internal Injury After a Car Accident

While internal injuries are often "silent," there are some symptoms that accident victims should look for after being involved in a crash.

Frequently, a crash will cause damage to blood vessels inside the body. When this happens, the vessels may not be able to clot or repair themselves. As a result, internal bleeding will occur. People experiencing internal bleeding have abdominal pain and often appear pale. In addition, they may feel cold, lightheaded, thirsty, and sleepy.

Other symptoms that often signal the presence of an internal injury following a motor vehicle accident are:

Pain: Pain is the body's way of signaling that something is wrong. Following a high-impact crash, chest or abdominal pain or tenderness may indicate organ injury and should cause you to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Even if the pain is not severe, you should see a doctor. In many of these cases, the pain is minor but intensifies over time.

Nausea: After a car accident, those involved may feel nauseous or dizzy due to blood loss. Vomiting after an accident is one sign that a person has an internal injury, especially if the vomit contains blood.

Bruising: Most car accident victims have some bruising from where the seat belt cinched tight or from impact with the vehicle's interior. However, dark purple bruising can indicate a more severe injury.

Shock: In general, your body goes into shock when you start to lose a large amount of blood over a short period of time. People who are in shock often experience a rapid heart rate, weakness, and lightheadedness.

3 Types of Trauma Connected to Car Accidents

In general, there are three means by which drivers and passengers suffer internal injuries in motor vehicle accidents:

Blunt trauma: This type of trauma occurs when a body part collides with another object (usually at high speed). It is not uncommon for blood vessels to be torn or crushed in this type of accident.

Decelerating trauma: In this accident scenario, the body organs continue to move forward, even though the person's spine, muscles and other body parts have come to an abrupt stop.

Decelerating trauma can affect a person's heart, lungs, brain, and other vital organs. Many traumatic brain injuries occur when the brain strikes the skull (think of a whiplash scenario) and not from a direct blow to the head. More so than other types of trauma, people with decelerating trauma often show no outward signs of injury, so their injuries often go untreated. They may not feel symptoms for days or even weeks after an accident.

Penetrating trauma: This type of trauma is caused by an object piercing the skin. Emergency responders at an accident scene may focus on the puncture wound and miss internal bleeding or a perforated organ.

To learn how our car accident attorneys can help you with an internal injury claim, contact Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers LLC at (617) 777-7777 or fill out our electronic form.

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