Auto accidents and their resulting injuries happen with alarming frequency in the Commonwealth of Virginia. In fact, the Virginia Department of Transportation found that traffic collisions injured 59,404 people in 2022 alone – a figure that works out to nearly 163 per day. Behind these statistics are real people who suffered real harm, often through no fault of their own. With that in mind, let’s explore the five most common injuries that result from these preventable tragedies – and what you can do if you or a loved one suffers one of them.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Even a seemingly minor collision can cause the brain to slam against the skull, leading to traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Immediately after an accident, victims might experience dizziness, confusion, or even loss of consciousness. However, symptoms like memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and mood swings sometimes take days or weeks to manifest themselves. These aren’t fleeting discomforts. They can reshape personalities, strain relationships, and ruin careers. Beyond emotional and cognitive costs, TBIs often bring substantial economic burdens – from expensive medical bills to reduced earning potential.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Car accidents are among the leading causes of spinal cord injuries (SCI). The force from a collision can fracture or dislocate vertebrae, which in turn can damage the delicate spinal cord. In the aftermath of a crash, victims might lose sensation or movement below the injury site, leading to partial or complete paralysis. But the repercussions don’t end there. Long-term challenges from spinal cord injuries can include chronic pain, respiratory issues, and the need for assistive devices. Furthermore, a spinal cord injury can redefine one’s daily life, affecting mobility, career prospects, and personal relationships. The economic ramifications are often staggering, as they include medical bills, physical therapy, home modifications, mental health counseling, and more. One medical study pegged the cost of SCI-related hospitalizations alone at $1.7 billion annually.
Car crashes exert immense force on the human body, often leading to bone fractures. Sometimes, that force is enough to result in multiple fractures, compound fractures (where the bone pierces the skin), or even comminuted fractures (where the bone shatters into pieces).
The immediate consequences are pain, swelling, and inability to move the affected area. Many fractures require surgery, physical therapy, and prolonged periods of immobilization. Even after the bone has healed, a patient might experience lingering pain, decreased mobility, or even develop conditions like arthritis.
Whiplash occurs when the neck snaps back and forth rapidly in a motion resembling the cracking of a whip. The sudden movement can strain muscles, ligaments, and other soft tissues in the neck without obvious signs of damage. Victims often experience neck pain and stiffness, limited range of motion, headaches radiating from the base of the skull, and tenderness in the shoulders. Some may also feel dizziness, fatigue, or even blurry vision.
For many, whiplash symptoms resolve within a few weeks with proper care. However, some individuals aren’t so fortunate. They may suffer from chronic neck pain, long-lasting headaches, and difficulty concentrating.
Blunt force trauma and piercing wounds can both lead to internal bleeding or damage to organs, blood vessels, and internal tissues. Common internal injuries include ruptured spleens, lung contusions, kidney damage, and liver lacerations. The force can also cause broken ribs, which might puncture the lungs or other organs.
Internal injuries are particularly dangerous because they don’t always present immediate symptoms. A victim might feel “okay” immediately after the accident, only for abdominal pain, dizziness, or shortness of breath to manifest hours or even days later. This delay makes timely medical attention crucial following any car accident. If left untreated, these injuries can deteriorate rapidly. Internal bleeding might lead to shock, organ dysfunction, and even death.
Contact a Fairfax, VA, Auto Accident Lawyer Now
If you sustained any of these or other injuries in a car accident in Fairfax, VA, Whitestone Young can protect your rights and fight for fair compensation on your behalf. Call (703) 591-0200 today or complete our contact form for a complimentary case evaluation.