Motor vehicle accidents are not uncommon. They account for most of the emergency room and physician visits in the United States. This is because auto accidents result in several degrees of injuries. They range from minor, severe to catastrophic injuries.
Some common injuries in car crashes are traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, and spinal cord injuries. Others are soft tissue injuries, head injuries, neck injuries, and emotional injuries. While some of these wounds are physical injuries, others are internal.
Internal injuries are often more severe than physical injuries and usually more fatal. This article looks at the internal injuries that can happen in a car accident. If you are a victim of an auto accident, our accident attorneys at CAIL can help you get maximum compensation.
What Is the Meaning of Internal Injuries?
An internal injury is a trauma that affects the internal organs and the cavity of the body. It involves organs occupying the thoracic, abdominal, or cranial cavities. Symptoms vary from one accident victim to the next and depend on the body part affected.
Since these symptoms are not visible to the eyes, here are some things to watch out for:
- Pain: After a car accident, watch for abdominal pain or chest pains, especially if you were involved in a high-impact crash. A head-on collision or rear-end collision are examples of high-impact crashes. Injuries to the abdomen or chest cavity can result in complications if left untreated. Thus, get medical treatment as soon as this symptom presents itself.
- Nausea: If you have internal bleeding, you will experience nausea. The blood loss might also cause you to get dizzy. So, if you suddenly can’t see straight or start vomiting after an accident, see a medical professional.
- Bruising: When you see a bright red spot on your skin after an accident, it usually points to bruising and internal injury. If it’s a dark purple spot, it means you’re bleeding into your skin and soft tissues. Since this bruising type is more serious than an everyday bruise, get medical care immediately.
- Signs of Shock: Once you start to lose blood from an internal injury for an extended period, your body goes into shock. When this happens, accident victims experience increased heart rate, lightheadedness, weakness, and lethargy.
What Internal Injuries Can You Sustain in an Accident?
At the impact point of an accident, the vehicle occupants may be slammed against the windshield, dashboard, steering wheel, or airbags. They may also get struck by flying debris or cargo. In rollover accidents, a person not wearing seat belts might get ejected and land on the roadway.
If the car strikes a stationary object like a metal pole, the victim might have puncture wounds if the pole penetrates the vehicle. All these can result in an internal injury. Below, we outline some of the internal accident injuries you can suffer in a car accident.
- Broken Ribs: Rib injuries apply pressure or pierce the lungs, making breathing painful. If you suddenly have trouble breathing, see a health care professional immediately.
- Pneumothorax (Collapsed Lung): When a rib bone punctures the lungs, it can cause it to collapse. When this happens, air escapes and fills the chest cavity. A collapsed lungs could cause shortness of breath or sudden chest pain. It can be a life-threatening injury if not treated in time. The best care plan is to insert a needle or chest tube between the lungs to release the excess air.
- Organ Damage: A high-impact crash could cause organ damage, leading to internal bleeding or organ failure. Kidneys and livers are most affected by this injury type.
- Ruptured Spleen: An auto accident can rupture your spleen, which can cause internal bleeding. Accident victims require surgery to repair or remove a ruptured spleen.
- Rupture of Abdominal Aorta: When a stomach gets compressed, it could cause a rupture in the aorta. An aorta dissection is typically fatal if not treated immediately.
- Brain Bleed or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): Open or closed head injuries can cause a brain bleed. It prevents oxygen from getting to the brain and can result in permanent brain damage. A subdural hematoma (excessive brain pressure) is an example of a TBI.
How Does Internal Bleeding Happen?
Internal bleeding is a form of internal injury. It results from trauma to the blood vessels, preventing blood clots. To know if you have internal bleeding from an accident, watch out for the following symptoms:
- Severe abdominal pain
- Pale complexion
- Passing out
- Weakness on one side of the body
- Severe headache
- Actual visual problems
- Low blood pressure
Once you notice any of the above symptoms, get medical attention. Doing this would save your life and serve as a record for your personal injury claim.
How Long After a Car Accident Can Internal Injuries Appear?
Unlike physical injuries like cuts and lacerations, internal wounds do not appear immediately. This is what makes them dangerous and life-threatening. Some injuries manifest within a day or three days after an accident.
Others might take weeks or months before the symptoms show. Because of the evasive nature of internal injuries, we advise crash victims to get a medical checkup immediately after a crash. If you can afford it and your insurance covers it, get a full-body workup, including body imaging scans.
If you choose not to go to the hospital because you feel fine, watch yourself closely for any of the symptoms mentioned earlier. Once you notice any of them, get to the hospital immediately. The treatment options for internal injuries depend on the severity and type.
Depending on your condition, your physician will admit you and monitor you carefully and frequently. Some quick treatment before surgical intervention includes:
- Airway management
- Cardiac monitoring
- Intravenous infusions
- Control or hemorrhage
- Bony stabilization
What Compensation Can You Get for Internal Injuries?
Internal injuries from motor vehicle crashes are expensive to treat. This is because they mostly require a surgical procedure to fix, and the victim will stay in intensive care. If the injury is the type that limits some of the victim’s physical abilities, they will require physical therapy.
All these costs money and the victim might be unable to pay for their treatment. Thankfully, Virginia is a fault state, meaning that the fault driver would compensate the victim for their injuries. Thus, if you are the victim of an accident, you are entitled to get compensation.
Since internal injuries fall under personal injuries, victims can get economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are tangible losses that are calculated to a fixed dollar amount. A good example is medical bills.
Non-economic damages are intangible losses that you cannot calculate to a fixed dollar amount. They mostly apply to emotional or psychological injuries like post-traumatic stress disorder. This makes their calculation difficult, but insurance companies have found a way around it. Find out how to calculate non-economic damages from CAIL personal injury attorneys.
In summary, an internal injury victim will get the following compensation:
- Lost wages (past, current, and future)
- Medical expenses (past, current, and future)
- Property damages
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
If gross misconduct by the fault party caused the accident, punitive damages might apply. Courts award them as a punishment and deterrence to the fault driver and other motorists. A CAIL auto accident lawyer can shed more light on this.
How Can CAIL Personal Injury Lawyers Help You?
Suppose you are the victim of a car accident and suffered internal injuries. It would help if you got treated knowing that you will get financial compensation to cover your bills. But the road to financial recovery can be long and tedious if you start the journey alone.
You can avoid this and quicken the process by working with a CAIL personal injury attorney. Our lawyers will bring their extensive experience to bear on your case and get you the maximum compensation. Don’t delay; contact us today for a free case review.