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Common Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries and When to Visit the ER

Know the common motor vehicle accident injuries and when you should visit the ER.

Did you know there were around 37,133 fatal vehicle crashes in the U.S in 2018? Car crashes are a common occurrence, and when they happen, they leave the victims with numerous kinds of injuries. Knowing what to look out for and when to visit the ER can make the difference between a minor injury and a fatality.

Some car accidents are evident immediately after an accident while others may take days or weeks to manifest. Some are visible while others aren't. Some are treatable using a first aid kit while others require specialized care at the hospital.

If you or your loved one have been involved in a car crash, it's essential to know the kinds of motor vehicle accident injuries and what to do about them. In this light, keep reading to learn the common types of MVA injuries and when you should visit the ER for emergency treatment.

1. Whiplash

Whiplash is one of the most common injuries in a motor vehicle accident. In fact, it affects close to one million people who are involved in auto accidents every year.

Whiplash refers to an injury to the soft tissue of the neck due to a sudden acceleration and deceleration force. The force causes an abrupt and unrestrained forward and backward movement of the neck. Some of the symptoms of whiplash include the following:

  • Pain in the neck, arms, back, and shoulders
  • Headaches
  • Muscle spasms
  • Neck stiffness and loss of range of motion
  • Whiplash symptoms are self-treatable; however, if the pain is too much, one should visit the ER for specialized care. Some symptoms may last weeks or even months after the injury. Thus, it is essential to see a physician for proper treatment.

2. Minor Scrapes and Cuts

After a car accident, it is normal to suffer minor scrapes and cuts. These can easily be treated using your first-aid kit at home. However, make sure to sterilize the injured part of the body to avoid infection.

If someone is badly hurt with deep and heavily bleeding cut, they should visit the ER immediately. They may have suffered injuries in major arteries, and if not addressed immediately, the bleeding can cause fatalities.

3. Sprains and Strains

The sudden jerking movement experienced in a car accident plus the actual crash can cause sprains and strains. It isn't uncommon to find someone with sprained or strained muscles. If this happens, you can undertake home treatments such as ice packs and hot compresses to relieve the tension.

However, some sprain injuries lead to swelling and extreme pain. In this case, it is essential to visit the ER for a checkup and treatment. You may have broken some bones, and if not addressed immediately, this can lead to prolonged pain and tension.

4. Head and Brain Injuries

Head and brain injuries include concussions, traumatic brain injury, skull fractures, lacerations, and internal bleeding. These are some of the most severe injuries after a motor vehicle accident, and the victim should be taken to the ER immediately.

Brain injuries can cause severe complications in the future. If not properly addressed, they can cause headaches, sleeping disorders, and problems with brain function long after the injury. Thus, they should be addressed immediately.

Not all brain injuries manifest immediately after an accident. Thus, if you hit your head in an auto accident, visit the ER for a checkup. This should also be the case if you suffer headaches or migraines after the accident.

The physician should carry out a brain scan to rule out internal bleeding and other injuries which may cause problems in the future.

5. Neck and Back Injuries

Most neck and back injuries after a car accident fall under whiplash. However, you may suffer spinal injuries as well, especially if you hit your back against the metal or a hard surface.

Spinal cord injuries can impede brain function. They are responsible for issues such as the following:

  • Mobility problems
  • Altered sensation
  • Pain in the nerves in the spinal cord
  • Adverse changes in sexual function
  • Difficulties breathing and coughing

If you or your loved one get spinal cord injuries after an accident, you need to go to the ER immediately. One should be handled with care after the accident to prevent further damage to the spinal nerves.

6. Broken Ribs and Bones

Many people suffer broken ribs, legs, or arms after a car accident. This is usually due to an impact between the body and a hard surface. Broken ribs and bones should be treated in the ER immediately after the accident.

If the injury is left untreated, the broken bone can cause inflammation and severe pain. This may, in turn, cause mobility problems and lead to secondary symptoms such as headaches.

Luckily, when addressed immediately, these injuries are easily manageable. Depending on the severity of the fracture, one can get splints or plasters to promote bone healing.

7. Internal Bleeding

Internal bleeding is one of the worst injuries in a car accident. It is not visible and can lead to death if left untreated. Internal bleeding may occur in the brain or other major organs such as around the heart, lungs, and liver.

If left untreated, internal bleeding causes swelling around the affected organs, lightheadedness, dizziness, and fainting. Unfortunately, it's not easy to tell whether someone has this injury after an accident.

Thus, to rule it out, visit the ER for checkups for anything but the minor injuries. If you experience any of these symptoms of internal bleeding days after the injury, visit the ER immediately.

8. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Not all motor vehicle accidents are physical -- others are mental and emotional. Some people may suffer trauma after a car accident due to the following:

  • Witnessing a fatal car crash
  • Suffering severe injuries in an accident
  • Witnessing death or losing loved ones after a crash

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a common mental disorder that may persist for months or years after a car crash.

Signs of PTSD after a vehicular accident include the following:

  • Feelings of anxiety when encountered with similar events such as brakes screeching, cars honking, etc.
  • Feeling edgy when driving
  • Avoiding driving altogether

It's essential for one to visit a therapist for PTSD counseling and treatment. Therapy helps one work through their fears and overcome the effects of the accident.

Get Help After Suffering Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries Today

Some motor vehicle accident injuries are minor and self-treatable. However, others need emergency care to prevent long-term problems.

Have you or your loved one suffered injuries after a car crash? Contact us immediately for specialized emergency treatment and care.