Car crashes account for an astounding number of injuries every year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that approximately 6 million auto accidents occur annually in the U.S. While not all of these accidents result in injuries, many do. We all know the types of injuries that can be caused by a car crash, including things like lacerations, bruises and broken bones. There are, however, many injuries that can occur that are not readily apparent and can be difficult to detect. These injuries may not be obvious at the time of the crash, however as days or even weeks go by, symptoms can arise.
If you or a loved one has been in a car crash, it is important to be aware of any symptoms you have and take them seriously. And, even if you “feel fine,” it’s important to get checked out by a physician. Here are several serious injuries that may not be apparent at the time of the car crash but may show up in the days or weeks that follow.
One of the more common injuries that can occur is whiplash. This injury occurs when the head or neck of a driver or passenger is jolted forward and backward. This motion can cause serious injury to the muscles and ligaments of the neck. It is important to note that the crash doesn’t have to be severe to cause this type of injury.
Herniated Disc or Back Injuries
A herniated disc is an injury that can be caused by a car crash, where the force of the collision causes a spinal disc to be moved out of place, distorted or ruptured. This can cause inflammation and pain from pressure on the nerves. In some cases, victims may experience extreme pain, muscle weakness and numbness, tingling or shooting pain in their extremities. While this and other back injuries may not be apparent at the time of the accident, they often require medical treatment and possibly surgery.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
A concussion or serious head injury can be caused by the victim’s head hitting the steering wheel or window or can even occur if the head was whipped back and forth or side to side during the wreck. A traumatic brain injury can cause many symptoms which may not arise at the time of the car crash but can develop over time. These symptoms include confusion, headaches, blurred vision, balance and coordination problems, sensitivity to noise and light, nausea and vomiting. The important thing to be aware of here is that the signs of a traumatic brain injury may not be obvious at the time of the car wreck. Prompt medical treatment is important as soon as the victim is aware of symptoms of this type.
Knee injuries are not uncommon after a car crash. These injuries can occur when the driver’s knee hits the dashboard, or even when the driver abruptly slams on the brakes to avoid a collision. There are many different knee injuries that can occur such as a cartilage tear, knee fracture, or ACL tear. Symptoms from a knee injury can be delayed and may increase as inflammation develops.