Common injuries associated with traffic accidents

Car accidents can cause many injuries, including brain trauma, whiplash and damage to the spinal cord.

Despite the efforts made by car manufacturers to protect drivers and passengers, such as side air bags, collision warning systems and cameras in bumpers, car accidents and injury are still a regular occurrence around Austin. In 2014, the Texas Department of Transportation reported that over 17,000 people were seriously injured in traffic accidents. Serious injuries can come with long-lasting consequences that prevent people from resuming their former life.

Concussion and brain trauma

Motor vehicle accidents are the third largest cause of concussion and traumatic brain injury, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is not surprising, given the amount of force and pressure that occurs when a vehicle hits another vehicle or a pedestrian. A brain injury can be an open one, meaning that something has punctured the head, or a closed one.

Car accidents usually cause closed head injuries. These occur when the head is either hit by an object or runs into an object, such as when a driver's head hits the windshield. The Brain Injury Association of America states that head injuries are the most complex and unpredictable as no two are alike. Common symptoms of a brain injury include confusion, loss of communication skills, headaches, nausea and loss of memory.

Whiplash

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke states that another common injury associated with traffic accidents is whiplash. This is defined as an injury to the neck that can cause the following symptoms:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Pain in the neck as well as in the shoulder or back
  • Stiffness that makes it hard to turn the neck

While whiplash often will clear up in a few weeks with proper rest and medications, in some cases, victims may experience ongoing pain. In association with whiplash, people may also suffer injury to neighboring components of the body such as ligaments, nerve roots, disks and intervertebral joints.

Spinal cord injury

For the past five years, 36.5 percent of all spinal cord injuries are attributed to car accidents, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center. The spinal cord starts at the base of the head and extends just below the waist. When any portion of the cord is damaged, it can cause significant issues for the victim. These can include partial paralysis, permanent paralysis, loss of feeling sensation, pain, bladder or bowel issues, trouble with breathing and reproduction.

Spinal cords, once injured, cannot be repaired so the only thing that doctors can do is prevent further damage from happening and put the patient into treatments and therapies that will enable them to learn to live with the injury.

Injuries from car accidents can be complicated and long-lasting. For Texas victims of negligent drivers, it may be in their best interest to seek legal counsel.