Nobody expects to be involved in a car accident. But when other people drive negligently, unsuspecting road users are at risk of being seriously injured. Impaired, distracted, and reckless drivers can cause fatal collisions with other motorists. A driver’s negligence can also lead to injury-causing accidents with other people.
The severity, duration, and impact an injury can have on an accident victim’s life depends on the circumstances of the collision. While some people may walk away from a car crash feeling no pain at all, others may never walk again because of the injuries they sustain.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even if you don’t feel like you’ve been seriously hurt, consulting with a medical professional may help prevent medical complications in the future. Sometimes, the shock following a car accident could delay or diminish symptoms of serious injuries.
Injuries that are often caused by car accidents include:
Car accidents can cause damage to an accident victim’s extremities. This damage can manifest itself as:
- Cuts and lacerations
- Facial swelling
- Loss of teeth
- Broken or fractured bones
- And more
If the force of a collision’s impact causes an accident victim’s head to involuntarily move in one direction before wrenched back in the other, they may experience Whiplash-Associated Disorders. This damage to the soft tissue could cause car accident survivors to experience a limited range of motion in the neck, and pain ranging from mild to severe.
Other common symptoms of whiplash include mood swings, difficulty concentrating, memory loss, fatigue, nausea, blurred vision, vertigo, ringing in the ears, numbness in the extremities, and more. If untreated, whiplash symptoms can worsen over time.
Shoulder, Back, and Neck Injuries
When the impact of a collision causes dislocation, tearing, or straining of an accident victim’s shoulder muscles, the victim may experience a limited range of motion, intense pains, and a prickling or burning sensation in the victim’s arms, hands, legs, and feet.
Other neck and back injuries that might result from a car accident include fractured vertebrae, slipped or herniated discs, and chronic back pains.
Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI)
The brain sends signals to other parts of the body through the spinal cord. That being the case, a spinal cord injury (SCI) can impede neurological impulses, leading to loss of feeling and loss of mobility. The extent of an accident victim’s paralysis depends on the location of the SCI on their body. More parts of the body may be affected if the injury is sustained higher up on the spinal cord. Depending on the location, the SCI may be:
- Quadriplegia: Paralysis from the neck down, including immobility of the arms.
- Paraplegia: Paralysis of the trunk, legs, and pelvic region (including bowels and the bladder).
Car accident survivors who sustain SCI may lose their ability to live independently. In addition, many people affected by a SCI may find the financial cost of living to be unmanageable. According to information provided by the National Library of Medicine, a single Canadian’s estimated lifetime expenses after sustaining an SCI could range between $1.5 million to $3 million.
In order to repair a fractured hip, total replacement surgery may be required. However, the age of the car accident victim could have a substantial effect on the surgery’s outcome. If a senior citizen breaks their hip in a car accident, the repercussions could be fatal. A study made available by the National Library of Medicine reveals that one in three seniors over the age of 50 die within one year of receiving hip replacement surgery.
Knee injuries are complex and could require lengthy recovery periods. These injuries include fractures, dislocations, sprains, bursitis, meniscus tears, and more. Depending on the severity of the injury and their rehabilitation progress, knee injuries sustained in car accidents may leave accident victims relying on the use of an ambulatory assistive device, like a walker or a cane.
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
Even during low-speed collisions, the force of impact may cause an accident victim’s brain to collide with the interior of their skull, causing a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Brain injuries acquired through some form of trauma, like car accidents, are responsible for approximately 800 deaths in Ontario each year.
TBIs can affect accident victims physically, intellectually, emotionally, behaviourally, and sensorily, and the consequences can be permanent. Physical symptoms may include vision and hearing loss, as well as dysphagia. Intellectually, people who have sustained a TBI may have difficulty processing or articulating their thoughts, as well as trouble speaking, reading, and writing. The behavioural changes experienced by people suffering from TBIs may lead to social difficulties, even with their closest family members, friends, and loved ones.
Internal Organ Damage
In a high-impact car crash, accident victims’ internal organs may sustain damage. Organ damage can lead to internal bleeding, which could cause that organ to fail, losing its ability to perform its essential functions. Examples of potentially severe internal organ damage commonly caused by car accidents include liver lacerations, wherein the abdominal trauma sustained in a car accident leads to a tear in the liver tissue, as well as bruised or damaged kidneys.
The surgical or traumatic separation of a limb or appendage from an accident victim’s body is an irreversible form of disfigurement. The loss of a body part can cause victims to endure a drastic change to their lifestyle. As a result of an amputated limb, they may no longer be able to perform the duties of their jobs. Often, car crash survivors who have lost a limb experience psychological distress. The difficulty coping with their loss could lead to social isolation, self-stigma, and serious psychological injuries, including depression.
After a serious car accident, survivors may experience a number of psychological injuries, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depressive disorder. These severe disorders can be disabling and may prevent accident survivors from performing the duties of their jobs. These psychological injuries may require prolonged courses of treatment, which may include medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two.
Contact Cohen Highley LLP if You Have Been Injured in a Car Accident
Survivors of car accidents in Ontario may be eligible for statutory accident benefits, regardless of which driver was responsible for causing the collision. However, if your accident was the result of another party’s negligence and caused you to sustain serious injuries, an Ontario personal injury lawyer may be able to help you pursue financial compensation.
Cohen Highley LLP services clients throughout Ontario from our head office in London and branch offices in Chatham, Kitchener, Sarnia, Stratford and Strathroy. If you were hurt in a car accident, contact Cohen Highley LLP today.