LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Jennifer Nolte Williams

Traumatic Injuries in Car Wrecks

Catastrophic injuries are often endured by people because of the negligent acts of another. Sadly these negligent acts are almost always avoidable.

Trauma refers to a bodily wound or shock induced by sudden physical injury such as a car accident. Trauma is considered a public health problem with significant economic and social costs; it is also the sixth leading cause of death in the world. Major trauma can cause other complications such as circulatory shock and respiratory failure as well as death. The leading cause of traumatic death in the United Sates is from blunt trauma, in most cases caused by a motor vehicle accident. There are many different kinds of injuries sustained in automobile accidents; some of the more common ones can be divided into these four categories:

Whiplash is a non-medical term used to describe general injuries to the soft tissue of the neck. Injuries categorized as whiplash are often sustained in motor vehicle accidents when there is no warning, such as being rear-ended. When driving, most people do not rest their head on the headrest of their seat in their vehicle, if a rear-end accident were to occur, whiplash could be a resulting injury. The reason for this is that when you are at a dead stop you are sitting back in your seat with your head up, relaxed. If a vehicle hits you from behind, depending on the velocity of the moving vehicle at the time of impact, it will violently push your car forward while your head remains in the same place. Depending on a number of other factors your neck will be strained between your head and torso, as one is pulling, and the other remains stationary, this can cause great stress on your neck, and possibly result in a whiplash injury.

Head injury is a general term, and consists of a number of different injuries, such as to the brain, scalp and skull. One synonym for a head injury is a concussion, a concussion can involve brain damage yet no breaks in the skull, or there can be severe damage and open wounds to the head, yet the brain can remain unharmed. One example of an instance where this kind of injury can occur in a car wreck is a head-on collision. As you are driving forward, your body and neck are relaxed, as you collide head on with another vehicle traveling at the same speed as you, your car instantaneously stops moving forward, and may even be pushed backwards. Because your body is not fastened to the car, to the degree that the vehicles parts are, your body moves forward. Supposing that the vehicle does not have working air bags, your body will be restrained by a seat belt, yet your head will travel forward until stopped either by the steering wheel or the dashboard. The velocity of the impact and the surface of the steering wheel or dashboard are both factors that will determine the seriousness of the head injury. This is also a case where whiplash is another injury possibility.

Broken bones encompass a large variety of bodily injuries; however most associate this with broken limbs. Broken limbs can occur in many different kinds of car accidents. One example of an accident that can cause broken bones is a T-bone accident. T-bone accidents occur when one car is hit in the side by another car, so that the front end of a car collides with the driver or passenger side of the other car at a right angle. From an aerial view this would theoretically make the shape of the letter T, hence the name “T-bone" accident. Bones can be broken in this kind of accident if an arm or leg were to be trapped between an object in the car, and the door that was hit by the other vehicle. This is a serious case in which the limb would probably be very seriously crushed and/or broken in many places, rather than one clean break.

Spinal cord injuries, among many others, are one type of injury that can easily be sustained in a car wreck. Two kinds of spinal cord injuries are dislocation and breaking, both of which are very serious injuries to endure. These kinds of injuries can be caused by the back bending and twisting in sudden movements, generally caused by outside forces. One example of a car accident that could possibly cause a spinal injury is a vehicle roll accident.

One way that a vehicle can be caused to roll is if the vehicle is traveling south, and somehow the front of the vehicle is turned so that it points west, and the back of the vehicle is pointing east, and the vehicle is still traveling south. The road will catch and stop the tires of the vehicle, and momentum will push the top of the vehicle over, thereby starting the vehicle to roll. Depending on the velocity of the vehicle, it may only roll once, or if it is traveling at a high speed, it may roll several times. Injuries can occur in this kind of accident, especially if there is no seatbelt being worn. As the vehicle is rolling, the body of the person inside will be thrown around; it will be twisted and bent across the seats, possibly the dashboard and other areas of the car. Because of the bending and twisting of the spine, there can be serious damage to the spinal cord, among other injuries.

Additional resources provided by the author

Although almost all car wrecks are accidents, all accidents are caused by the negligence of one or more people, and are therefore avoidable. Catastrophic injuries are by definition very serious, these injuries are often impossible to recover from 100%, and are therefore life changing. The attorneys at Jackson, Allen & Williams LLP have extensive experience and skill in the area of personal injury. They have been serving the Dallas and surrounding areas for 15 years, and are committed to protecting your rights throughout the duration of your case. If you or a loved one have sustained a catastrophic or traumatic injury due to the negligence of another person, you may be entitled to compensation for the hardships you have endured. Contact a Dallas personal injury lawyer from their firm today to discuss your case, and how they can possibly aid you in the defense of your case.

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