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  • Writer's pictureBrad Keating

What Happens to Your Body After a Car Accident?

Updated: Jan 17

Everyone has seen the devastation that a car crash can cause. Car accidents can result in thousands of dollars when it comes to property damage, ranging from chipped paint and dents to complete devastation. However, what happens to someone's body in a car accident?

People only have one body to use for the rest of their life. When one's body is harmed, it is usually able to recover itself. However, more significant injuries (such as those received in a vehicle accident) may leave the victim with pain they can't just "walk off."

This is due to the fact that car accidents are unlike any other type of mishap one may encounter. Here is what happens to someone's body in a car accident and how they can return to their normal state.

Adrenaline Rush

The release of adrenaline is one of the first things that happens to the human body in a serious vehicle accident.

Adrenaline is a hormone that is produced in response to sudden stress. It equips the human body for a 'fight or flight' reaction.

In a car crash, adrenaline influences the body in the following ways:

  • Feeling reduced or no pain

  • Increased energy levels

  • Rapid heart rate

  • Heightened senses and increased energy levels

  • Increased stamina

  • Dilated pupils

  • Feeling stronger

While an adrenaline rush can be quite beneficial immediately after a car accident, it can also be deceiving. Because adrenaline conceals pain, one may not know they've been injured shortly after a vehicle accident.

That's why, even if one doesn't feel hurt, they should always seek medical help after a car accident. Injury symptoms may not appear for several days. It might be too late to seek damage reimbursement from the insurance provider by the time the victim recognizes it.

Types of Collisions

Types of Collisions

Frontal Accidents

Following a frontal hit, the human body continues to move forward. The kinetic energy of the body is then dissipated when it comes into touch with another part of the automobile, whether it's the seat belts and airbags, which are developed to ensure the transfer of energy is reasonably slow, or the steering wheel, dashboard, or windscreen which aren't.

Side Collisions or T-bone Collisions

Even at lower speeds, side impacts, such as T-bone crashes, can be fatal. The reasons behind this are straightforward. When a vehicle collides with a person from the side, the only portions of the automobile's structure that can absorb the power of the impact and keep the other vehicle from entering the cabin are the doors and the supporting columns. These accidents often result in the driver's needing a rental car.

Because these structures' ability to absorb a hit and prevent the cabin from being crushed inward is restricted, even low-speed side collisions can cause:

  • Severe injuries to the victim by crushing them on the side that the car hit. This usually includes the pelvis, thorax, and upper torso injuries

  • Spinal and neck injuries

  • Head injuries to passengers on both sides of the vehicle

Rear-end Accidents

The most prevalent form of accident on American roads is rear-ended crashes, which are caused by vehicles failing to maintain proper following distances. These collisions do not have a significant impact on the American road toll. They do, however, bring tens of thousands of individuals to emergency rooms each year, mostly with neck injuries.

Failure to Wear Seat Belts

In a frontal collision, if a car passenger is not wearing their seatbelt, the body continues to move forward until its kinetic energy is transferred by impact with another item. In most cases, the body collides with the steering wheel before the head collides with the windshield.

The energy transfer in this collision is sudden, resulting in life-threatening injuries or even death. Furthermore, the body being ejected through the windscreen is not uncommon.

What Happens to Someone's Body in a Car Accident?

Car accidents are particularly harmful due to two characteristics of vehicles: speed and size.

Moreover, 3,000 pounds is the typical weight of a mid-size vehicle. When one combines that weight with a car of equal size (or, even worse, a vehicle that is significantly heavier), they have the makings of a major injury for all vehicle occupants.

It is all about momentum in the end.

One may recall the laws of motion from physics class in high school. Remember that the first rule of motion states that an item at rest or in motion (such as the car) remains at that state until it is acted upon by an outside force. However, when the speed of the car changes rapidly, so does the speed of the person's body.

What most people consider a car accident is actually a series of three discrete collisions:

  • The car clashes with something else

  • One's body collides with the vehicle (steering wheel, airbag, or seat belt)

  • Internal organs clash with the rest of the human body

Although vehicle manufacturers have developed a long way in terms of safety, there is no way to totally prevent the body from being tossed around after even a slight collision.

Common Car Accident Injuries

It is simple to see how a car accident at a higher speed can inflict more damage (to the victim and their car), but even little collisions can result in excruciating pain.

Based on the direction, angle, and point of impact during the car crash, one may also get various serious injuries. Numerous types of injuries to different portions of the human body result from collisions with the car from the rear, side, or front.

Neck Injuries

Neck injuries are prevalent after a car accident since the head and neck are not normally secured while someone is in a motor vehicle.

Whiplash happens when the tendons and muscles in one's neck are stretched back or forward. Herniated discs are another prevalent ailment.

Back Injuries

Back injuries are among the most prevalent car accident injuries sustained, and even a small back injury can have long-term consequences.

Following a car collision, there are four typical back ailments that might arise:

  1. Thoracic Spine Injuries: These are the most devastating injuries. They usually occur in one's upper back and are triggered by high-impact car accidents.

  2. Injuries to the Lumbar Spine: Lumbar spinal injuries, which occur in one's lower back, produce excruciating agony and can impair the person's daily mobility.

  3. Herniated Discs: When the discs between the vertebrae get displaced, this damage occurs. It produces severe and unexpected lower back pain as well as leg numbness.

  4. Spinal Cord Injuries: These often lead to permanent damage or bruising to the nerves and spinal cord. A spinal cord injury can result in serious consequences, such as partial paralysis.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

A traumatic brain injury is one of the most potentially severe and common injuries that can occur in a car accident. The most frequent type of traumatic brain injury is a closed injury, sometimes known as a concussion. This suggests the head's bone and skin are still intact. Mild, moderate, and severe concussions are the three types of concussions.

Concussions can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Nausea

  • Headaches

  • Confusion or drowsiness

  • Mood swings

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Slurred speech

  • Blurred vision

  • So much more

It's critical to get medical attention after car crashes, specifically if the victim feels they've suffered a concussion.

Soft Tissue Injuries and Whiplash

Any injury to the victim's muscles, ligaments, or tendons is referred to as a soft tissue injury. Overexertion of one's connective tissues is the most common cause of these injuries.

Whiplash is the most typical soft tissue injury following an auto crash. This is produced by the connective tissue in one's neck and upper back being stretched abruptly, such as when one is rear-ended and their neck snaps forward and back.

The good news is that whiplash normally goes away by itself, and the symptoms may usually be managed with ice and pain relievers. Take note of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Numbness or pain

  • Blurred vision

  • Fatigue or dizziness

  • Inability to move the head

  • Ringing in one's ears

  • Sleep disturbances

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Though the majority of attention following a car accident is focused on the bodily impacts, a significant automobile accident can also result in psychological issues. After a car accident, around 60% of people seeking mental health therapy are diagnosed with PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder.

It can be difficult to identify PTSD if one is unfamiliar with the symptoms, which makes it challenging to seek therapy. The following are some of the most common PTSD symptoms:

  • Anxiety when the victim is confronted with reminders of the accident, such as hearing screeching tires or returning to the incident scene.

  • The person is anxious when driving

  • Sleeping or focusing difficulties, or a tendency to be startled easily

  • Avoiding frequent driving circumstances, such as driving on the freeway, or in more severe cases, avoiding certain moves, such as turning left.

  • Dreaming about the accident or having flashbacks to it

  • Having a pessimistic attitude on life

Internal Organ Injuries

After a car accident, one would expect a fractured bone or bruising; however, many people overlook the potential damage to the internal organs:

  • Internal bleeding

  • Punctured lungs

  • Kidney damage

  • Liver damage

This is just a tiny portion of the kinds of injuries one can sustain. In any event, seeking medical attention is the greatest way to learn what occurred to the victim's body in a serious car accident.

Seek Medical Attention Immediately

A serious injury from a car accident is infamous for hiding in plain sight. Shock and adrenaline can conceal pain and other symptoms right after the crash, leading one to believe they're "completely fine." One might be too preoccupied with family life, work, or whether or not to sue the person that hit them to notice the discomfort when it finally appears.

Seeking medical help from a chiropractor, for example, can result in a quick diagnosis and successful, treatment. Car accident chiropractors use a number of techniques to address the damage, not just the symptoms, including spinal adjustments and medical massage.

The majority of individuals are unaware that postponing medical treatment not only increases their chances of severe harm but also impairs their capacity to receive insurance payments.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is a feature of one's motor vehicle insurance policy that covers injuries caused by car crashes. However, the law in certain jurisdictions stipulates that one must seek medical attention within 14 days of the date of the car accident to be eligible for PIP benefits.

The victim's body may sustain catastrophic injuries as a result of the crash. As a result, even the tiniest backache should prompt a visit to the local chiropractor for a medical examination.

Long Term Consequences

Long Term Consequences

Even small vehicle accidents can leave survivors with nagging ailments that can last for years. Substantial accident survivors may have serious health and physical implications for the rest of their lives, including:

  • Scars or abnormalities that last a lifetime

  • Damage to their brains and cognitive abilities for the rest of their lives

  • Complete or partial paralysis

  • Amputation of limbs

  • Impairment of senses or limbs

Even if one survives a vehicle accident in relatively excellent condition, the consequences of a major accident can be life-changing. Survivors of car accidents may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or survivor's guilt, which can have a variety of effects on their behavior and mental health – and may take years to overcome.

Contact The Keating Firm Ltd Today!

People have the right to talk about their injuries, whether they are emotional, physical, or mental if they resulted from a car accident that wasn't their fault. An automobile accident law office like The Keating Firm Ltd understand how painful this time in one's life can be, particularly if the insurance company refuses to compensate the victim fairly for their serious injuries.

Give our expert lawyers a call immediately or contact us online for a free consultation. We go over the circumstances of the personal injury case, as well as any settlement offers the victim has gotten from the insurance company, to see if we can secure the client a higher payment.

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