Side impact accidents can result in a range of common injuries, including whiplash, spinal injuries, blunt-force trauma, broken bones, and various other types of harm. According to a report published by StatPearls, trauma is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in individuals under the age of 35. The severity of the injury depends on factors such as the circumstances of the accident and the victim’s pre-existing health condition according to a personal injury lawyer with our friends at the Strong Law Accident & Injury Attorneys.
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), there were 6,432 fatal accidents in 2020 resulting from angled collisions, such as broadside and T-bone accidents. Additionally, 950 deadly accidents were caused by sideswipe collisions. The level of protection provided by safety devices during a side-impact accident may vary depending on the vehicle model and the severity of the impact. It is important to note that sudden and forceful sideways movements can lead to soft-tissue and skeletal injuries.
Common Injuries From Side-Impact Car Accidents
Side-impact car accidents can cause similar injuries to those of other types of accidents. However, the injuries can be more severe due to the lateral jolting that takes place during side impacts.
When you travel in a vehicle, your body moves at the same speed as the car. However, in the event of an impact, the car’s forward motion suddenly stops while your body continues to move. This can result in hitting the dashboard or experiencing bruising from the seat belt. In a side impact, your forward motion combines with a sudden sideways jolt, increasing the risk of injury.
While we have covered a few typical injuries below, it is impossible to encompass every potential injury.
Whiplash is a common occurrence in rear-end collisions, but it can also manifest in side-impact accidents. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, whiplash transpires when the head is abruptly propelled backward, forward, or in a combination of these directions. This rapid motion causes the neck to stretch, exerting pressure on the spinal column.
Whiplash symptoms include:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Shoulder pain
- Low back pain
- Hand or arm pain or numbness
- Ringing in your ears
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty with concentration or memory
- Irritability, tiredness, and sleeplessness
Diagnosing whiplash, a soft-tissue injury, can be challenging. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and other diagnostic scans are used for detection, as it is usually not visible on x-rays.
Head Trauma And Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Head trauma, also known as traumatic brain injury (TBI), occurs when the head collides with a solid object or experiences the secondary effect of whiplash, causing the brain to impact the inside of the skull. Recognizing a TBI may not be immediate, as symptoms can manifest days, weeks, or even months after an accident.
TBI symptoms to be aware of include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Persistent headache
- Numbness throughout the body
Certain instances of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) can be resolved within a brief period, whereas others may result in enduring effects.
Broken Bones, Lacerations, Bumps, And Bruises
Side-impact collisions frequently result in cuts, bumps, bruises, and fractures. It is crucial to seek medical attention without delay following an accident. Even a seemingly minor cut can lead to complications if it becomes infected, and there may also be internal injuries that are not readily apparent.
Chest And Abdominal Injuries
According to a study published in the Journal of Passenger Cars: Mechanical Systems in 2000, nearly half of all side-impact motor vehicle collisions resulting in injuries caused trauma to the chest and abdomen. The study also found that aortic injury occurred in 1 out of 5 cases of chest and abdominal injuries, with the thoracic aorta being significantly affected. Women and older adults are the most commonly affected demographics in these types of injuries.
According to a study conducted by the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine (AAAM) in 2008, rib fractures, typically seen as minor injuries for younger individuals involved in car accidents, pose a significant risk of complications and mortality for adults aged 60 and older.
Side-impact collisions can result in significant harm to internal organs such as the lungs, ribs, heart, as well as the liver, kidney, and bladder. It is important to note that many of these injuries may not exhibit immediate external signs and can deteriorate progressively over time.
Pelvic And Lower Extremity Injuries
Car accident victims often experience injuries to the pelvis and lower limbs, which can have severe consequences. Notably, side-impact collisions pose a doubled risk of mortality. According to a 2016 study published in Medical Science Monitor, drivers are more prone to upper-leg fractures, while broken pelvis injuries are more common among passengers. It is worth mentioning that male victims in the study faced a higher risk of pelvic fractures, resulting in prolonged recovery periods and potential disability.
Neck, Back, And Spinal Injuries
The auto and insurance industries regularly perform comprehensive crash-simulation tests to assess the impact of different vehicle collisions. When conducting side-impact crash tests, the following injuries have been observed:
- Severe spinal fractures
- Sprains, strains, and broken bones in the neck and back
- Partial or complete paralysis due to spinal cord injuries
Car accidents are the primary cause of spinal cord injuries among younger individuals in the U.S., as highlighted by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. These devastating injuries can lead to a lifetime of pain, suffering, and reduced functionality, resulting in significant hardship and disability.
During a side-impact crash, the neck bears the brunt of the impact. As the head and body continue their forward motion, they are simultaneously thrust sideways. This motion stretches the muscles and ligaments, causing damage to the soft tissues and, in some cases, fractures in the neck’s supporting bones.
How A Side-Impact Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you’ve sustained injuries from a side-impact accident, reaching out to a lawyer could be advantageous. Our car accident team provides complimentary consultations, giving you the opportunity to address your concerns and receive genuine answers. A skilled side-impact car accident attorney can assist you in various ways, including:
- Fighting to get you reimbursement for medical expenses
- Seeking compensation for your lost wages
- Ensuring your vehicle is repaired or replaced
- Demanding additional compensation for your pain and suffering
Contact A Lawyer For A Free Consultation Today
A team of experienced car accident lawyers is dedicated to thoroughly investigating your accident, identifying the responsible party, and vigorously advocating for the compensation you rightfully deserve. Don’t hesitate to reach out to an attorney for a complimentary assessment of your accident and potential claim, ensuring you receive the legal support you need.