According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1.3 million people die every year in car accidents, and 20 to 50 million have non-fatal injuries. Some accidents result in permanent disability and loss of function. Others can require ongoing and expensive healthcare treatments.
There are many types of injuries that can happen during a car accident, so it is important to get prompt medical care and continue to pay attention to the symptoms later. Here are five of the most common car accident injuries that can occur.
Whiplash is a type of neck injury that happens when the neck moves back and forth rapidly. In a car accident, it is possible for your neck and body to jerk forward suddenly and then move backward quickly. This can strain the ligaments and muscles in your neck.
To prevent whiplash, you want to make sure your car has good rear-crash ratings. You also want to wear your seat belt, sit upright while driving, and adjust the car’s head restraint to protect you.
2. Neck and Back Injuries
Neck and back injuries are common after car accidents. These types of injuries can result in herniated discs, can take many months to heal and can lead to ongoing chronic pain. In some cases, the full extent of these injuries may not be visible until time has passed after the accident.
One thing you may want to consider is to keep a symptom diary for a car accident. It can be especially useful for tracking neck and back injuries. Seeing how you feel every day and recording it is easier than trying to remember the symptoms at the doctor’s office later.
3. Traumatic Brain and Spinal Injuries
Traumatic brain and spinal injuries are some of the most serious problems after a car accident. They can lead to permanent disability or paralysis. For example, a concussion may cause headaches, fatigue, sleep and memory problems. One of the most important things you can do for traumatic brain and spinal injuries is to get medical care right away.
Brain and spinal injuries can vary in severity. Some brain injuries may be permanent while others can heal in time. To avoid these types of injuries, wear your seat belt and drive safely.
4. Broken Bones
The severity of a car accident can determine if you have broken bones. A person who has a car flip or land on its side is more likely to have a broken bone. If your body hits the sides of the vehicle during the accident, then you are also more likely to have broken bones even if the car does not flip.
Although most broken bones can heal, it takes time and make require surgery. You may not be able to work or participate in many activities while healing. You may need to find a physical therapist and work with one for a long time for recovery.
5. Psychological Problems and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Anxiety, flashbacks and nightmares are common after a car accident. Some people even develop a fear of driving. The stress of the accident and recovery can be very difficult to overcome and may require psychological treatment.
For instance, stress caused by worrying about additional vehicle repair costs and insurance premium increases can affect a person greatly. An at-fault property damage car accident can raise your premium by an average of $658 per year. When you are stressed about money, it is hard to focus on other things.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is another common issue after car accidents. It can last for days or months and may require therapy. PTSD symptoms may include depression, fear, anxiety and emotional numbness. Some people have severe PTSD that prevents them from enjoying life.
Avoiding Car Accidents
There are ways for drivers to avoid or prevent some car accidents, such as buying a car with more safety features, taking an advanced driving course and avoiding distractions when driving. This has the added benefit of helping to avoid traffic violation fines and keeping insurance rates low.
Defensive driving is a key way to prevent accidents. It involves being aware of the road and taking actions to reduce the risk of being in an accident. Awareness is the most important part of defensive driving. You must pay attention to the road and other drivers. For example, you should notice if the car ahead of you is slowing down and why it is happening. Another example is to see that construction is ahead on the road and take measures to avoid it.
Another way to avoid car accidents is to pay attention to the weather and not drive in bad situations. Unfortunately, it is not possible to prevent all accidents even if you are careful. However, seeking prompt medical care and paying attention to symptoms can help.