You’re driving along, minding your own business. Out of nowhere, a negligent driver slams into you. Later, you learn that the driver injured you. What happens now?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, it’s normal to wonder whether your injuries are routine or unusual. This article will discuss some common car accident injuries seen in Alabama personal injury cases.
Alabama Car Accident Statistics
Sadly, if you’ve been injured in a car accident, you’re not alone. Car accidents injure people in Alabama every day. According to the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT), negligent drivers caused nearly 38,000 car accident injuries in 2020. These numbers mean that every 13 minutes, a person suffers an injury in an Alabama car crash. These statistics place Alabama far above the national average, meaning that Alabama drivers are more likely than others to be involved in a car crash at some point.
Car accidents can happen when a car hits a tree, a pole, a pedestrian, or anything else. But as the ALDOT notes, in Alabama, about two-thirds of accidents happen when a motorist hits another vehicle. Most Alabama car accidents happen when a passenger car (a sedan, SUV, or pick-up truck) hits another passenger car. But serious accidents also happen when semi-trucks, motorcycles, or other specialized vehicles crash into standard passenger cars.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Every car accident is unique. Accident injuries differ based on the type of crash (e.g., head-on versus rear-end collision), the sizes of the vehicles involved, speed, and many other factors. Yet, Birmingham accident attorneys see certain car accident injuries again and again. Here are some of the most common car accident injuries.
- Cuts and Bruises
Cuts and bruises (also called lacerations and contusions) might be the most common car accident injuries. Broken glass can cause minor or severe cuts. Bodies bruise after hitting structures in the car. Luckily, cuts and bruises are usually easy to identify because they cause obvious changes in the skin.
- Soft Tissue Damage
Soft tissue damage is one of the most common car accident injuries. Bones and teeth are the body’s hard tissues. Everything else is soft tissue. When muscles, tendons, or ligaments are torn or otherwise damaged, a soft tissue injury results. Signs of soft tissue damage include limited motion, pain, and swelling.
Broken ribs, legs, and arms are common after auto accidents. A break can be simple, compound, or far more complex.
- Neck, Back, and Brain Injuries
A herniated disc occurs when the discs that cushion the backbone slip out of place. Whiplash happens when a sudden force damages the muscles or tendons in the neck. Pain in the neck or back is a sure sign of whiplash or a herniated disc.
Auto accidents cause violent head movements that can bruise the brain – or worse. Symptoms of concussions and other traumatic brain injuries include headaches, loss of consciousness, seizures, and nausea.
- Emotional Injuries
Car crashes often cause both physical and emotional injuries. Many injured people suffer anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other emotional challenges after an accident. Nightmares, fear of driving, and trouble sleeping are often signs of emotional distress.
Should I See a Doctor After a Common Car Accident Injury?
Any Alabama personal injury lawyer will tell you: You must see a doctor as soon as possible after your accident. The symptoms listed above are typical symptoms for typical injuries. But every injury is unique. For example, most cases of whiplash surface within hours, but some cases can take much longer to show up. Also, a break in a large bone is nearly impossible to ignore but smaller breaks – called hairline fractures – in smaller bones may take longer to diagnose.
The bottom line is this: Never assume that just because you “feel fine” after an accident that you are not injured. Make an appointment with your doctor as soon as you can. You should also make an appointment with a therapist or counselor to help you keep track of your mental and emotional health.
Factors that Can Make Common Car Accident Injuries Worse
Many factors can turn a minor accident into a serious one and minor injuries into major ones. Here are some of the factors that tend to lead to more serious car crash injuries.
The type of crash. Head-on collisions tend to cause more serious injuries than other types of accidents, such as sideswipes, t-bones, or rear-end collisions.
Seat placement. Believe it or not, where you sit in a car can affect the types of injuries you receive. You might think that drivers and front-seat passengers are in the most dangerous spot, but back-seat passengers actually face higher injury risks. (Seat belts for front-seat passengers adjust for accidents; the technology hasn’t become standard in rear seats.)
Projectiles. We all carry packages in our cars, but unsecured items can turn into projectiles during an accident. If one hits you, you can suffer additional injuries.
Speed. High-speed car crashes cause severe injuries. The faster a car goes, the more damage it can cause.
Relative Size and Weight. When a larger, heavier car hits a smaller, lighter one, the folks in the smaller vehicle will suffer worse injuries. One of the reasons why trucking accidents are so serious is that the average truck is nearly 25 times heavier than the average passenger car.
How to Prevent Common Car Accident Injuries
While car accident injuries are often serious, accidents and injuries can be prevented. Drivers can reduce the risk of accidents by:
- Ensuring that all airbags are in working condition,
- Always wearing seatbelts,
- Always following the rules of the road,
- Obeying the speed limit,
- Avoiding distracted driving, and
- NEVER driving while drunk, intoxicated, or sleepy.
What Should You do if You’ve Been Injured in a Car Accident?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident and experienced a common – or uncommon – injury, the first thing you should do is see your doctor immediately. Take pictures of your injuries. Be sure to keep all of your doctor visits. If you don’t, the other driver’s lawyer may try to argue that your injuries were not that serious.
Another important thing to do is to contact an Alabama personal injury lawyer. A car accident lawyer can not only help you deal with insurance companies but can also help you document your injuries.
If you’ve been injured and are looking for an Alabama personal injury lawyer, contact Collins Law, LLC. Our firm’s founder, April H. Collins, is widely regarded as one of the best Birmingham personal injury attorneys. Our team will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve. Click or call (205) 881-0403 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.