In California, thousands of drivers and passengers are injured in accidents every year. Many of these individuals are fortunate and fully recover from their injuries; however, others are left with permanent disability or pain.
If you have been injured in a car accident in California, it is important to consult an experienced California personal injury attorney as soon as possible to ensure your legal rights are protected.
There is a range of injuries that may occur in an accident; however, certain types of injuries are common in car crashes.
Injuries Commonly Reported in Motor Vehicle Accidents
A car accident involves high impact forces, sudden movements, and, often, broken glass and debris.
The injuries drivers and passengers suffer depend on the circumstances surrounding the accident, such as:
- The use of seatbelts
- Where the victim’s vehicle was hit (front, side, or rear)
- How the victim was positioned in his or her seat
- The speed the vehicles were traveling at the time of the accident
- Whether the vehicle’s airbags deployed
Car accident injuries fall into two types: impact and penetrating.
Examples of impact injuries include hitting one’s head on a seat or being thrown against the side of the vehicle.
Penetrating injuries include lacerations and cuts. They may be caused by broken windows or unsecured items in the vehicle.
Head and Brain Injuries
Head injuries are some of the most dangerous injuries accident victims may suffer. Some head injuries, such as brain bleeds, may develop slowly over the course of a few days—and can be deadly if they remain untreated.
Those who have sustained any type of head injury in a motor vehicle accident should immediately seek medical attention.
Skull fractures are often reported after car accidents. With a skull fracture, one of the skull’s bones has been broken or cracked. In some cases, the pieces of skull penetrate the brain, causing further damage.
Hematomas refer to bleeding that occurs under the skull. In some cases, the hematoma grows and may be fatal.
Concussions, which are a type of traumatic brain injury, occur when an accident victim suffers a blow or jolt to the head. Concussions may result in confusion, a loss of consciousness, and even death, if swelling or pressure builds within the brain.
Back and Spine Injuries
Back and spine injuries are common in motor vehicle accident claims.
The spine is generally divided into three regions: the cervical spine, which encompasses the neck; the thoracic spine, which includes the upper back; and the lumbar spine, which comprises the lower back.
When the thoracic spine is injured, resulting damage may be quite serious. The thoracic spine is linked to the chest and ribs, and nerve damage to this area may result in permanent disability.
The lumbar spine includes some of the back’s strongest muscles, as well as its five biggest vertebrae. Injuries to the lumbar spine often cause pain, limited movement, and swelling.
Cervical spine injuries may impact the ability to move the arms, as well as an individual’s ability to breathe. This is because of the nerves that are connected to this area of the spinal cord.
Spinal cord injuries, no matter what region of the spine they affect, may result in paralysis or permanent disability. Those with spinal cord injuries often face a future of major medical expenses throughout their lifetime.
Broken bones and fractures are reported in many car accidents. The forces involved in a crash are easily strong enough to snap a bone.
There are several types of broken bones and fractures.
Stable fractures occur when the two broken pieces of bone are just slightly out of place. The ends are still aligned.
With open, compound fractures, the bone may protrude from the body. The skin has been penetrated in this type of injury. An accident victim is at an increased risk of developing an infection with this type of fracture.
Transverse fractures occur when the bone is broken along a horizontal plane.
Oblique fractures occur when the fracture line is jagged or angled.
Comminuted fractures cause a bone to break into multiple pieces.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries impact the ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Sprains and strains are common.
Sprains occur when the ligaments are stretched too far or are torn. Ligaments are pieces of tissue that join two bones together.
Strains refer to the tearing or overextension of tendons or muscles. Whereas ligaments connect bones to other bones, tendons connect muscles to bones.
One of the most frequently reported soft tissue injuries after a car accident is whiplash. Whiplash is caused by the sudden jerking movements in an accident. When the head is thrown forward and then snapped backward, the muscles in the back and neck are damaged.
Damages in a Motor Vehicle Accident
Those who are injured in motor vehicle accidents may be entitled to compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company. Depending on the accident, the victim may be compensated for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of employment benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- The cost of installing wheelchair ramps and other accommodations
Other types of damages may also be available, depending on the accident’s impact on the victim’s life.
However, there are deadlines that limit how long accident victims have to file a claim. In California, the statute of limitations for motor vehicle accidents is two years.
With the assistance of an experienced California motor vehicle accident attorney, all available damages will be pursued in an accident case.
Call Kuvara Law Firm Today to Discuss Your Claim
At Kuvara Law Firm, our personal injury attorneys aggressively pursue all available damages on behalf of our clients so that their current and future needs are taken care of. To schedule a consultation with our firm, contact us at 1-800-4-INJURY.