According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of injury in the United States. About five people are injured in a car crash every minute across the country, and nearly one-quarter of all injuries requiring trauma care were caused by a car accident over the last eight years. Many of these injuries are clear and obvious, sending crash victims directly to hospitals and clinics. However, there are injuries that may not be as readily apparent, especially right at the accident scene. Internal injuries are often sustained in car accidents, but they can be easily overlooked.
What Are Internal Injuries?
An internal injury is an injury within the body. It is caused most often by blunt trauma when the body collides with another object. In a car crash, this can occur when a person hits the steering wheel, is ejected from the car, or even from the pressure of a seatbelt. Internal injuries may not immediately present any outward symptoms. Additionally, endorphins released by the body during a crash can mask the pain or discomfort caused by an internal injury. Victims should be aware of some common signs of these injuries, though, which can include:
- Abdominal pain
- Tenderness near the injured area
- Shoulder pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Low blood pressure
- Rapid pulse
- Cold, sweaty skin
Common Internal Injuries After a Car Accident
There are many different types of internal injuries, and it is important for anyone who has been involved in a car accident to be evaluated by a medical professional. Only a qualified physician can fully assess the nature of injuries and ensure the proper care is administered for any internal injury, which can include:
- Internal bleeding. Internal bleeding can occur even after a seemingly minor injury. When left untreated, the loss of blood and the pressure put upon other organs by pooling blood can cause significant injury.
- Broken ribs. When a rib bone cracks or breaks, it can cause significant pain and breathing trouble. In serious cases, the jagged end of the broken bone can damage lungs, blood vessels, or other organs.
- Collapsed lung. Known as a pneumothorax, a collapsed lung occurs when air leaks into the space between the lung and the chest wall. The air pushes on the outside of the lung and makes it collapse, causing pain and difficulty breathing.
- Ruptured spleen. The spleen can rupture in the moment of a crash or many days later. This tear in the surface of the spleen can cause life-threatening bleeding.
- Lacerated liver. The liver is one of the most commonly injured organs in abdominal trauma. In severe cases, the liver can bleed and, if left untreated, can cause serious complications, including death.
What to Do If You’ve Suffered Internal Injuries
Diagnosing and recovering from an internal injury can be difficult. Injury victims can experience significant pain and may not be able to work for some time after the crash. It’s important for victims and their families to first seek medical care as soon as possible. Next, you may be eligible for compensation through a personal injury claim. These claims exist to ensure that victims can obtain the care they need, as well as provide compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, and much more. Attorney Ben Crittenden has helped many Alaska accident victims obtain all the compensation they deserve, so they can get back to their normal lives as quickly as possible after a crash. Call Ben today in his Anchorage office or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page to speak directly with Ben to find out more about who he is and how he may be able to help.