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Types of Car Accident Injuries

Car accidents are a leading cause of injuries worldwide. During the first nine months of 2022 alone, 31,785 people perished in traffic crashes.

Crashes are also costly. Car accidents cost U.S. taxpayers $30 billion in 2019. This comes out to roughly $230 in added taxes for every American household per year.

While car accident injuries vary from crash to crash, some vehicle-related injuries are fairly common. This article will provide a general overview of common types of car accident injuries.

Head Injuries

Head injuries are among the most serious personal injuries suffered in auto accidents. Drivers and passengers involved in high-speed motor vehicle accidents can strike their heads against steering wheels, dashboards, or windows. These impacts can cause:

  1. Traumatic brain injuries
  2. Mild concussions
  3. Comas
  4. Lasting cognitive problems

Head injuries can also lead to skull fractures, hearing loss, and vision problems. Often, the injured person requires extensive medical treatment and costly medical expenses.

Back Injuries

Back injuries are also common types of injuries. Any damage to the spinal cord can cause significant nerve damage. Motorists may experience reduced sensation and control in their arms, hands, legs, feet, and other body parts. Serious spinal damage can leave patients paralyzed after a vehicle accident.

Another common car accident injury is a herniated disk. Patients with herniated disks often experience:

  1. Numbness or tingling sensations
  2. Muscle weakness
  3. Arm or leg pain

Neck Injuries

One of the most well-known car accident injuries is whiplash. The sudden movement of the head and neck (such as from a rear-end collision) can cause neck muscle and ligament damage for accident victims. Generalized neck pain and swelling are fairly common in whiplash incidents.

Chest Injuries

Many serious injuries after an automobile accident relate to trauma affecting the chest area. Blunt force trauma from car accidents can cause broken ribs and collapsed lungs. People with heart problems can go into sudden cardiac arrest from an accident. Internal bleeding in the chest area can also be a problem following an accident. Damage to internal organs, the pelvis, and the abdomen can also occur. These kinds of injuries need immediate medical attention.

Other Car Accident Injuries

Motorcyclists involved in car accidents can suffer more serious injuries. These can include broken bones, ligament damage — such as a torn ACL — and even severed limbs. The fatality rate for motorcyclists is significantly higher than that for drivers and passengers in cars.

Pain and suffering are other critical aspects of car accident injuries. Pain and suffering refer to physical and emotional distress as a result of the injuries sustained in a car accident. This can include ongoing pain, discomfort, anxiety, depression, and reduced quality of life.

Pain and suffering can manifest as:

  1. Difficulty sleeping
  2. Changes in appetite
  3. Mood swings
  4. Irritability
  5. Relationship problems

These emotional and psychological effects can last for months or even years.

People often drive or ride in a car with friends and family members. Serious car crashes can leave emotional scars on those who suffered serious injuries as well as those who saw them. Counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder might be needed after a serious injury.

Car Insurance Coverage for Accident Injuries

Car insurance plays a big role in covering the expenses related to injuries sustained in a car accident. This section will explain how car insurance may cover accident injuries. We will also guide you through the process of recovering compensation.

No-Fault States

In no-fault states, each driver's insurance company covers their policyholder's medical bills and lost wages, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. This is called Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. PIP coverage typically includes the policyholder, their passengers, and any pedestrians or cyclists involved in the accident.

Some of the no-fault states include:

  • Florida
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania

At-Fault States

In at-fault or tort states, the driver responsible for causing the accident is liable for the injured party's:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Other damages

The at-fault driver's insurance company should cover these costs up to the limits of their policy.

In these states, you must file a claim with the at-fault driver's insurance company to receive compensation for your injuries. If the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, you may need to rely on your own insurance policy's uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to help cover your expenses.

Recovering Compensation for Accident Injuries

To receive compensation for your injuries, take the following steps:

  1. Report the accident: Notify your auto insurance company about the accident. An insurance adjuster will guide you through the process of filing a claim.
  2. Gather evidence: Collect all relevant information and documentation, such as photos of the accident scene, police reports, medical records, and witness statements.
  3. Keep track of expenses: Keep records of all medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs associated with your injuries.
  4. Speak with a car accident lawyer: If you have trouble receiving compensation, or if the insurance company is disputing your claim, speak with a car accident attorney. A personal injury lawyer can file a personal injury claim and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.

Wrongful Death

You may be able to file a wrongful death claim if a loved one dies due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional act of another person on the roadway. A wrongful death claim can compensate you or the deceased's other surviving family members for your losses, such as medical expenses, funeral costs, loss of companionship, and loss of future earnings.

Role of an Attorney in a Wrongful Death Claim

A car accident attorney can be particularly helpful help if you are considering filing a wrongful death claim. They can assist you in the following ways:

  1. Investigate the cause of death: A personal injury attorney will investigate the circumstances surrounding the death and gather evidence to support your claim.
  2. Determine the responsible parties: The attorney will help identify the parties responsible for the wrongful death and assess their liability.
  3. Calculate damages: A wrongful death attorney will calculate the total damages to which your family is entitled, considering both economic and non-economic losses.
  4. Negotiate with insurance companies: Attorneys can handle communications and negotiations with insurance companies on behalf of your family, ensuring that you receive a fair settlement.
  5. File a lawsuit if necessary: If the negotiation process cannot result in a fair settlement, an attorney can file a wrongful death lawsuit and represent your family in court.
  6. Provide guidance and support: Losing a loved one is a devastating experience. The legal process can also be overwhelming. A wrongful death attorney can provide support to your family throughout the process.

Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims

The statute of limitations is a deadline within which a wrongful death claim must be filed under state law. If your claim is not filed within this time frame, your family may lose the right to seek compensation. The statute of limitations is different in every state. It can range from one to six years, with most states having a two or three-year deadline.

Suffered a Car Accident Injury? Get Legal Help for Your Car Accident Claim

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, consider speaking with an experienced car accident attorney about your claim. An attorney can evaluate your car accident case and help you understand if you are owed money.

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