External wounds like bruises and bleeding are usually the most obvious after a car crash, but it’s the internal injuries that can pose an even bigger threat to your health. Internal wounds often force victims to spend a significant amount of time away from work while receiving treatment. Seeing a doctor quickly after being hit by an at-fault driver is crucial to addressing potentially life-threatening conditions while also protecting your ability to recover financially.
Car Accident Internal Injuries
The violent motion of a crash, especially at higher speeds, is capable of causing severe internal damage—even if you remain in your seat and the airbags successfully deploy. Damage to internal bones or organs can occur in head-on collisions, as well as other accident types like T-bone crashes at an intersection or even a rear-end collision in traffic. Internal injuries are specifically caused by situations like:
- Being thrown entirely from the vehicle during the crash
- Colliding with the steering wheel when your vehicle is struck
- Hitting the windshield, dashboard, or other objects inside your vehicle
- The seatbelt digging into the skin throughout an accident
- Suffering a pedestrian accident when you are on foot and directly hit by a car
Pain, disorientation, nausea, bruising, vertigo, and chills are all warning signs of a potential internal injury. However, you should visit the emergency room directly after leaving the accident scene, even if you don’t have any of those symptoms. The importance of seeking immediate medical attention after any car accident simply can’t be overstated, even if you feel completely fine at the time.
You may not always experience any outward symptoms of serious internal injuries after a wreck. In some cases, the adrenaline released at the time of impact may keep you from realizing how hurt you are until well after the fact. That may prevent you from realizing you have suffered an internal injury like:
- Fractures. Broken arms or legs are common, but there is also the possibility of extremely serious breaks like cracked ribs, skull fractures, or damage to the spinal cord.
- Internal bleeding. The violent back and forth motion exerted on your body during a crash can rupture blood vessels, causing bleeding inside that you can’t see. Internal bleeding may lead to organ failure and eventually even death if not treated quickly.
- Organ damage. Depending on the type of crash and what your body collides with, you may sustain serious damage to the liver or kidneys, or even puncture a lung. An abdominal aorta aneurysm can also occur if the stomach is struck with extreme force, and unfortunately, this internal injury is often fatal.
- Traumatic brain injury. These injuries are particularly dangerous because they may lead to permanent cognitive problems but often aren’t visible to the eye, and symptoms may not show up directly after the accident.
What to Do After Suffering an Internal Injury in a Vehicle Collision
Any of these internal injuries could leave you with devastatingly high medical bills and long-term physical repercussions if you survive. Fortunately, there are options available for recovering damages after a car crash, either through an insurance settlement or a personal injury lawsuit against the person liable for your injuries.
You have a legal right to acquire compensation for past and future medical bills as well as lost wages you missed while recovering. Lost earning potential should also be included if you can’t return to work and non-economic damages could also be a major factor in your compensation, such as pain and suffering. In situations where a loved one passed away after suffering an internal injury, you can also seek damages for wrongful death.
For the best chance at successfully recovering what you are owed, it’s important to take these crucial steps immediately after the car crash:
- Call 911 to alert law enforcement
- Photograph the scene of the accident, taking pictures of the vehicles, the area around the crash, and your injuries
- Talk to eyewitnesses and gather their contact details in case they are needed to testify in court later
- Head to the hospital to check for internal injuries and create a paper trail on your specific diagnosis
- Get in touch with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible
Talk to a Philadelphia Car Accident Attorney About your Injury
A skilled attorney can help you navigate the process of financial recovery following a car crash. After getting medical attention, your next course of action should be to hire a legal professional to investigate the accident and identify the best potential source of compensation. Did you suffer an internal injury in a wreck? Call to schedule an appointment with the Heslin Law Firm at 215-332-0300 or send a message through the online submission form.