According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), there were 757 fatal car crashes in South Carolina in 2014 alone. Thousands more South Carolina residents sustained injuries that required hospitalization or resulted in permanent disability. Many car accident victims end up being saddled with expensive hospital bills even though they were not at-fault in the accident, so if you sustained a crash-related injury, it is important to contact an experienced car accident attorney who can help you hold negligent parties responsible.
The severity of the injuries sustained in a car crash depends on a number of factors, including:
- The age and general health of the occupants;
- The number and size of the vehicles involved;
- The relative speed of the vehicles;
- The type of car crash; and
- Whether the victims utilized seat belts.
Because there are so many variables involved in each individual collision, injuries can range in seriousness from scrapes and minor bruises to major head trauma. However, there are two broad types of injuries that are more common than others, including:
- Impact injuries; and
- Penetrating injuries.
Impact injuries are usually caused when an occupant’s body part hits an object in the interior of the car, such as the dashboard, window, or steering wheel. Penetrating injuries typically manifest as scrapes and lacerations and are usually caused by broken glass.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Some of the most common ailments stemming from car accidents are soft tissue injuries, which result from damage to connective tissues, such as ligaments, tendons, and even muscles. There are many forms of soft tissue injuries, including whiplash and general muscle strains.
Whiplash occurs when the ligaments and muscles in the neck and upper back are stretched due to the force of an impact and is characterized by swelling, soreness, and restricted movement. Muscle strains and sprains, especially in the lower back are also a relatively common crash-related injury, especially when the victim’s car was rear-ended.
One of the most serious types of injuries is head trauma as it can have permanent repercussions.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), for example, can range in severity from concussions to permanent cognitive problems. TBIs typically occur when an occupant hits his or her head on a fixed object, such as a window or dashboard, as a result of which fluid and tissues in the brain sustain damage. Serious cases can lead to comas and in some tragic circumstances, even death. Skull fractures, hearing loss, and vision impairment can also be caused by forceful impacts.
Spinal Cord Injuries
These types of injuries are especially concerning, due to their often permanent nature. When vehicles are struck, spinal cords absorb a significant amount of the impact’s force. This can cause nerve damage and paralysis, which could mean a permanent loss of feeling, damaged reflexes, or the inability to move. Sudden impacts can also cause the vertebrae in the spine to become compressed or even crushed. The resulting herniated discs can be extremely painful and significantly limit movement.
Chest and Abdominal Injuries
One of the more commonly injured parts of an accident victim’s body is the chest region. This is largely due to the fact that the chest is often the first part of the body to suffer impact, usually from hitting the steering wheel or airbag. This in turn can cause broken ribs and collapsed lungs. Major impacts can also cause major organs to become punctured, which if left untreated could lead to internal bleeding. Finally, the stress and anxiety of being involved in a car crash can worsen any of a victim’s pre-existing heart problems, which could ultimately cause cardiac arrest.
Scrapes and Lacerations
A person’s contact with objects located in the interior of the vehicle or even loose objects, such as books and toys, can cause abrasions, bruising, and lacerations. Shattered glass is the culprit behind most severe lacerations, although metal shards can also cause serious damage. Most lacerations only require stitches, but some may need staples and if not cared for properly, could become infected.
In some cases, particularly horrific car crashes can cause emotional distress in survivors. This manifests as anxiety, sleeplessness, a lack of energy, mood swings, and a loss of appetite. Prescription medications and therapy are often required to help victims cope. This type of injury may even rise to the level of post-traumatic stress disorder, or pathological anxiety. Sufferers may experience auditory hallucinations, paranoia, and even thoughts of suicide.
Sustaining an injury in a car crash can be extremely expensive. Costs include:
- The price of prescription medications;
- Physical therapy;
- Emergency and reconstructive surgeries;
- Consultations with specialists;
- Doctor’s visits; and
Some victims’ injuries may be so serious that they require 24-hour care or repeated hospital visits. In addition to dealing with a painful injury, some victims are unable to return to work for months and so must pay all medical bills on either a single income or no income at all. Vehicle damage is another huge expense that victims must cover, especially in cases where the car was a total loss.
Fortunately, victims who can establish that another party’s negligence caused the accident can obtain compensation for all of these losses. Aside from medical expenses and property damage, accident victims may also be able to recover:
- Lost wages;
- Loss of future income or reduced earnings; and
- Pain and suffering.
There is no set calculation for determining how much a victim’s pain is worth. When making this determination, juries often analyze the severity of the injury, the cost of treatment, and the injured party’s health prior to the collision.
Being injured in a car crash can be an emotionally and physically taxing experience that could end up costing victims thousands of dollars. If you live in the Columbia, North Charleston, Clinton, or Myrtle Beach areas and you or a loved one were injured in a car crash, please contact the Joye Law Firm by calling 877-941-1019. You can also complete one of our standard contact forms and a member of our legal team will help you set-up a free consultation.