Motor vehicle accidents can have severe consequences for everybody involved. Because the human body isn’t built to withstand the forces generated during the average collision, head and neck injuries are all too common.
While seat belts, airbags and other safety devices can mitigate some of the risks of injury, they can’t eliminate them. Some of the most frequent injuries associated with car wrecks include:
This is perhaps the most well-known head and neck injury associated with car crashes. Whiplash happens when someone’s head is suddenly jerked forward – then back again – causing the victim’s neck to hyperflex. This abrupt motion can easily damage both the soft tissues in the neck and the cervical vertebrae.
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury. It occurs when the head is subjected to a sudden force, whether that’s from a knock on the steering wheel or dashboard or just because the force of the wreck caused someone’s brain to bounce against the inside of their skull. It can lead to a range of symptoms, from headaches to dizziness and nausea to problems concentrating and memory loss.
3. Skull fractures
A blow against the dashboard or windshield of a car can also cause skull fractures – and they can range from hairline cracks to breaks that require surgery. Severe head pain, bleeding from the victim’s eyes or nose and swelling are all indications of a skull fracture.
4. TMJ disorders
The temporomandibular joint is what connects someone’s jaw to their skull, and it can easily become damaged in a car accident. Fractures and dislocations can cause numbness, weakness, chronic pain, difficulty speaking, problems chewing and paralysis – and the real trouble may not even show up for a month after a wreck.
5. Cervical fractures
The cervical spine is easy to fracture or dislocate in a crash – and that can lead to significant spinal cord injuries. Symptoms can start with neck pain, and quickly evolve into numbness, weakness and paralysis.
6. Facial and dental injuries
While not often mentioned, facial injuries – such as broken cheekbones and eye sockets – and broken teeth are common in wrecks, and that can lead to long-term pain and changes in someone’s appearance that can never fully be corrected.
Recognizing the symptoms of a serious head or neck injury and seeking prompt medical attention is vital for both effective treatment and recovery after a wreck. Once you’ve seen to your immediate needs and the needs of your passengers, there will be time to seek experienced legal guidance and get help with your injury claim.