With all of the safety technology in today’s modern vehicles, you might expect that fewer people would need to visit an urgent care clinic or hospital after a collision. Yet 2.5 million Americans visit the emergency room each year because of car accidents.
With some crashes, injuries are not always visible and some symptoms may not appear until days later which is why it’s important to seek medical care following an automobile accident.
Here are the five most common car accident injuries that affect American drivers and passengers.
1. Head and Brain Injuries
Even when wearing a safety restraint, the head area is vulnerable when a car accident occurs.
The sudden stopping of motion and impact can cause the head and neck to jerk suddenly. Our brain, which “floats” inside our skull, can actually make contact with it and cause injury.
It should come as no surprise that car accidents are the third leading cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and deaths according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A mild traumatic brain injury is called a concussion and it’s usually accompanied by symptoms that include nausea, memory loss, dizziness, headaches, and confusion.
Concussion symptoms don’t always show up right away, which is why it’s a good idea to visit an urgent care clinic to be checked for head and brain injuries if you’ve had a car accident.
2. Back and Neck Injuries
Our spines are very flexible, but that feature can work against us in an accident when they’re forced to undergo intensive movement.
As a result, lower back pain is very common following a car accident. You may experience pain when moving, a tingling sensation, and even leg or arm pain, all of which can interfere with the enjoyment of daily life.
Upper back and spinal cord injuries are types of back injuries that are more serious. A displaced bone fragment can damage the nerve cells in the spinal cord that carry signals to the brain, leading to loss of sensation or paralysis.
Whiplash is a very common neck injury that occurs in an accident. Our neck has no restraint when making impact with another vehicle or object and can, therefore, whip front and back, causing injury to the soft tissue of the neck and creating lingering pain.
3. Chest Injuries
Most of us wouldn’t dream of getting behind the wheel without wearing our seat belt. Although they are meant to protect us during a collision, they can also cause chest bruising because of the sheer force exerted when being pushed forward against the belt.
The chest can also make impact with the steering wheel depending upon one’s seating position.
Broken ribs and collapsed lungs are common injuries following automobile accidents. Although broken ribs will heal on their own within six weeks, the condition causes movement to be painful.
4. Facial Injuries
Many people suffer lacerations to the face as well as broken facial bones and jawbones in accidents. It’s easy for the motion to cause the face to hit a deployed airbag or the steering wheel.
It can also become injured by vehicle parts or other debris flying through the air.
Some scrapes, cuts, and bruises to the face are not serious and heal quickly. More serious damage may require maxillofacial surgery, especially if the jaw and teeth were injured in the crash.
5. Broken Bones
It’s no surprise that broken bones are another common car accident injury, including fractures in the feet and ankles. The chance of sustaining broken bones in a car crash depends upon the safety rating of the vehicle, speed, area of impact, and other factors.
Once set, most broken bones heal on their own in anywhere from six to 12 weeks. A broken bone in the foot or ankle won’t be able to bear weight until a physician gives the patient permission to do so.
Visit Coastal Urgent Care of Thibodaux for Car Accident Injuries
While driving with caution and wearing safety belts can prevent some car accident injuries, sometimes they are unavoidable. If you’ve been involved in an automobile accident, come see us right away; we accept walk-ins between 9 AM and 8 PM seven days a week.
Learn more about our urgent care services here.