Blunt Force Trauma During Car Accident
When considering the injuries in a vehicle accident, the most serious ones are caused by blunt force trauma. Blunt force trauma is distinct when compared to penetrating trauma. Blunt force trauma is a pressure injury, such as an injury caused by hitting your head on the dashboard. Sometimes the damages are much more serious inside a person’s body and may not show much evidence on the outside.
The three general directions of collision are frontal, side (lateral), and rear. When a car is hit from the front, the people inside the vehicle are thrown forward, as the car comes to an abrupt stop. A person’s body moves forward until it hits something or is restrained by a safety belt.
In a side collision, the vehicle’s occupants are accelerated away from the side that is hit. In a rear collision, the people in the vehicle are accelerated forward. The head and upper torso move forward until restrained or hit something, and then they snap back frequently, causing an internal injury called whiplash.
Being ejected from the vehicle creates another blunt force trauma incident when the person hits something like a structure, another vehicle, the pavement, or the ground.
Here are some examples of injuries caused by blunt force trauma that might occur during a car accident:
- Head Injury: A common head injury, which does not show from the outside, is a brain concussion. The brain floats inside the cranium (skull). It can smash into the cranium walls causing bruising and/or bleeding of the brain. Brain bruising is a concussion. Bleeding inside the head may be life-threatening due to the pressure buildup of blood in the brain.
- Spinal Injury: A spinal injury might occur when the spine is stretched out as the body moves forward and then snaps back when the head hits something like the windshield, dashboard, or steering wheel. Even safety airbags can open so strongly to cause a blunt force injury by themselves.
- Blunt Cervical Vascular Injuries: An injury to the carotid and vertebral arteries, caused by blunt trauma, might lead to severe neurological dysfunction, such as paralysis, in survivors. This type of injury has a high mortality rate of 31%.
- Thoracic (chest) Injury: About 25% of the deaths in car accidents come from a chest injury, which involves the sternum, thoracic spine, and ribs.
- Aortic Injuries: Damage to the aorta, which is the main artery connected to the heart, can cause internal bleeding and loss of the blood supply to the rest of the body.
- Blunt Cardiac Injury: This injury is caused when the heart is injured due to the massive compression of blunt force trauma.
- Blunt Tracheobronchial Injuries: Damage to this part of the body negatively impacts one’s ability to breathe properly. Many accident victims with this kind of injury do not make it to the hospital before dying.
- Diaphragmatic Injuries. This internal damage to the diaphragm is challenging for a doctor or other healthcare professional to diagnose. If this injury is not diagnosed and treated properly, this can lead to long-term problems that may present symptoms only after a few days, weeks, months, or even up to a year later.
- Abdominal injury: With a blunt-force trauma to the abdomen, a person may suffer from internal bleeding, collapsed lung(s), and organ damage.
- Extremity injury: An extremity can be crushed, and the trauma causes the bones to break in many places.
- Pelvis injury: A broken hip is an indicator that the person was involved in a severe accident unless they are an older adult with osteoporosis.
- Other Trauma: Blunt force trauma can damage the bladder, rupture the spleen, injure the liver, kidneys, and cause internal bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract.
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The injuries caused by blunt force trauma are serious and life-threatening. It is crucial to get checked by a medical professional right away to get proper treatment for any unseen injuries. Your next step is to call a trusted attorney that has experience with personal injuries.
If you or a loved one experienced a blunt force injury in an accident, call (281) 475-4535 or fill out the web form to get a callback so that you can speak to a personal injury attorney for a free consultation.