Car accident injuries are unfortunately quite common in this day and age. Whether you caused your car accident or someone else did, and whether it was minor and very severe, you likely have a lot of questions about what comes next, particularly in regards to car accident injuries. Whether you choose to file a claim against the other driver or not, it’s important to cover your bases both for insurance and claim purposes, as well as for your overall health, healing, and recovery from your injuries. Check out our top frequently asked questions about car accident injuries.
What should I do at the scene of the accident?
After you check your own physical body and those in your vehicle for any injuries, you should check on the people in the other vehicle. If someone needs an ambulance, call 911 and let them know that first. A 911 operator will also send a police officer to the scene of the accident to write up a police report, take pictures and statements, and make sure everyone is okay. While you wait for the police officer, limit how much you say to the other driver as you don’t want to admit fault or saying something that they may try to use against you in the future. Instead, take pictures, write down what you remember happening, get information from the other driver and their vehicle, and try to get your car off the main roadway so that you are safe. If you have any car accident injuries that you see or feel, write those down too. It’s important for your recovery that you know when injuries began to cause pain or discomfort, as some can be delayed.
Check out our great What to do after a car accident checklist and FAQ.
How soon after sustaining a car accident injury should I see a doctor?
You should seek medical care as soon after an accident as you can, even if you don’t think you have any injuries. If your car has any sort of damage, your body likely does too. It may be something as small as a spinal misalignment or a strained muscle, but getting on top of these car accident injuries will help you get back to normal as quickly as possible. If you aren’t taken to the hospital after an accident, you should schedule an appointment with a doctor who specializes in car accident injuries within a few days of your accident, even if you’re not experiencing any pain or discomfort.
What are the most common car accident injuries?
Car accidents cause a huge variety of injuries. Almost all people will have minor injuries from a auto accident, but in some rare cases, individuals will experience major injuries. The most common injuries include whiplash, neck and back pain, headaches and migraines, soft tissue injuries, lacerations, broken bones, and bruised ribs. The most frequently injured areas of the body include the head, neck, back and spine, wrist and hand, knee, foot, and ankle. Pain, swelling, tingling, numbness, prickling, weakness, and decreased range of motion are all indicators that something is wrong.
As an example, the most common injury is whiplash. If you are experiencing symptoms such as neck pain, stiffness in the neck and back, or you notice an increase in pain when you are in motion, you didn’t sleep funny after an accident, you may have suffered a whiplash injury.
What are the most common minor car accident injuries?
The most common minor car accident injuries are most often referred to as “soft tissue” damage. This is damage such as bruising and swelling of muscles and tendons due to the impact of the car accident. The most common of the minor car accident injuries is whiplash and back pain. Even though these injuries are considered minor, don’t let the insurance company convince you that you don’t need treatment. It’s not uncommon for individuals with soft tissue damage to need months of physical therapy or chiropractic work to either reverse the damage or speed recovery.
Other minor injuries include sprained ankles and cuts. It’s worth repeating, even if you feel like these injuries are minor it’s worth talking to a doctor that specializes in recovery after a car accident. Many of these so-called minor injuries can impact you for the rest of your life. A good chiropractor can often tell you’ve been in a car accident simply by examining your spine and muscle tightness!
What are the most common major car accident injuries?
Major car accident injuries are ones that might be associated with a big settlement but they are not something that anyone wants to have happen to them. For example, traumatic brain injury can often leave a patient changed for life. Broken bones are often part of this if it’s related to broken legs or ribs. Anything requiring surgery like herniated discs and/or spinal injuries would be considered major.
It’s important to note that even if the pain from a herniated disc goes away on its own, that is not an indication that the disc itself is healed and working properly. Left untreated, herniated discs can bring about spinal degeneration and lifelong pain and associated health problems.
The important thing to remember about these “common” injuries is that they all deserve to be treated by professionals. The entire purpose of insurance is to cover the victims of a car accident. The worst thing you can do is to assume that your injury isn’t bad enough to be treated.
How long after a car accident do injuries appear?
While some injuries are pretty obvious, like a shoulder dislocation or a broken wrist, others may take a few days to present themselves. Things like headaches, back pain, whiplash, and other head injuries may not manifest right away, meaning you feel fine right after a car accident but notice that something is off within a few days. One of the reasons for this is adrenaline. When you experience an accident, adrenaline kicks in and in essence turns off your pain receptors. You may not have realized how hard you hit your head, or you may have trouble sleeping because of something that occurred during the car accident. As soon as you suspect a problem that may be related to your car accident, you should seek care from a specialized injury doctor.
What are common rear end car accident injuries?
Quite possibly the most common car accident and the most damaging is the rear-end collision. Since the impending collision of a rear-end accident is behind the driver and passengers, they might be entirely unprepared for impact. They can’t brace themselves in a safe position, which can lead to a more severe injury once hit. A lot of the injuries in this type of accident are quite common, or at least more common than others.
Depending on the speed and force of the collision, a serious injury to the head or brain may come of a rear-end auto accident. You could hit your head on any number of the areas that surround you in the vehicle, and that could leave you with a concussion, lacerations, loss of consciousness or bruising. Dizziness, sensitivity to light or sound, loss of balance, and a general mental for are some other symptoms of a head injury.
The most common injury from a rear-end collision is of course, whiplash. However, in extreme rear-end collisions, musculoskeletal injuries can occur. Perhaps from holding onto the steering wheel at the point of collision, a lot of people suffer broken arms, wrists or hands in a rear-end auto accident. Some of the main symptoms of musculoskeletal injuries are pain, swelling, inflammation and/or tenderness or redness of the damaged area.
What are common t bone car accident injuries?
Hollywood has had a fascination with t-bone car accidents in recent years, but they are by far the least common accident, but potentially the most deadly. Because the collision delivers all the force across less protected parts of the care, t-bone accidents are the ones where people are considered lucky to be able to walk away. There are too many things that could result in a car accident injury in a t-bone accident. Victims are tossed from the side and could hit the windows, or other items or passengers. Traumatic brain injury, dislocations, broken bones, and death are associated with this category of a crash. Victims that are closer to the actual impact area are the ones that tend to suffer the most.
What do I do if I get in a car accident without injuries?
See a doctor.
In very, very rare circumstances you’ll get into an accident and sustain no injuries. These accidents are the ones where a car was bumped and not damage was done to either car. No police report, or insurance call, just an oops. However, the vast majority of car accidents involve injuries that need to be treated. What often happens is that victims often feel like there are no injuries to report and they don’t want the hassle of going to the doctor and/or to bother anyone with their injury. To add to the situation, the insurance company wants to minimize what they pay and they will often be your “friend” and encourage you to take a settlement for your trouble.
A good rule of thumb is this. If your car was “injured”, scratched, broken, dented or bent, then chances are pretty good that you were too. It costs nothing to get checked out. However, foregoing treatment could affect you for the rest of your life.
Where should I go to get treatment for non-emergency car accident injuries?
Whether you want non-emergency care right after your accident or a few days later, you should find a doctor who specializes in car accident injuries. AICA Orthopedics has multiple clinics all across the metro Atlanta area with a number of specialty physicians who are extremely experienced in treating car accident injuries. Chiropractors, orthopedists, neurologists, spine doctors, and more are available to treat you, and they will all work together to provide you with the most comprehensive and highest quality care.