The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that around 3 million Americans get injured in auto accidents annually. While even a minor vehicle accident can be a traumatic event for drivers in California, front collisions are the most serious. A driver may experience several types of injuries from front-impact vehicle accidents.
Soft tissue injury
Soft tissue injuries damage the connective tissue between ligaments, muscles and tendons. Soft tissue injuries are categorized as sprains or strains, which differ.
An example of a sprain is whiplash. It occurs due to the violent jolt of the head back and forth, overextending the ligaments. Whiplash may cause neck stiffness or soreness, a decrease in range of motion, and hand or arm pain.
A strain causes injury to the tendons or tissues joining a muscle to a bone. Symptoms of a strain commonly include muscle pain, swelling, muscle weakness and limited mobility of the injured area.
Head injuries range from mild to severe and open or closed. The most severe cases can cause traumatic brain injury from hitting hard surfaces. A closed head injury does not damage the skull while an open head injury means that something penetrated the skull.
Concussions are an example of a closed head injury, and skull fractures and edemas are examples of open head injury. These injuries may cause loss of awareness, headaches, confusion and dizziness.
Spinal cord injury
Spinal cord injuries could happen in any type of vehicle crash, and these injuries are some of the most serious a driver can experience. The spinal cord consists of the lumbar, thoracic and cervical spine and acts as a communication pathway between the nerves and brain.
Depending on the severity of the accident, it could cause incomplete or complete paralysis. Spinal cord injury symptoms commonly include decrease in or loss of voluntary muscle movement, breathing issues, loss of some bodily functions and muscle weakness.
Some injury symptoms do not show immediately, so drivers should see a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident. They may also want to seek damages in a personal injury case against the at-fault driver.