The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 3 million vehicle accidents with injuries occur annually. The severity of injuries depends on various factors, such as the type of crash, seat belts and speed. There are several types of vehicle accident injuries that a driver in New York may experience.
Soft tissue injuries
Soft tissue injury which is also known as connective tissue injury is a very common injury resulting from car accidents. This type of injury damages connective tissues, tendons, muscles and ligaments. Two types of soft tissue injuries are sprains and strains. However, there is a difference. When you experience a sprain, you are tearing or overstretching a ligament which connects bone to bone. When you experience a strain, you are overstretching and/or tearing a tendon which attaches a muscle to the bone or you can injure the muscle itself.
Whiplash is a connective tissue injury that occurs from the neck rapidly jerking back and forth resulting from a sudden force. Some common whiplash symptoms are neck pain, stiffness, dizziness, lower back pain, ear ringing, blurred vision, irritability, concentration or memory problems and numbness/pain in your arm or hand.
A herniated disc occurs when the gel-like substance inside a disc pushes against the outer surface of the disc in between two vertebrae anywhere in your spine. This pressure can cause significant back pain. If the pressure continues, it can penetrate through the outer surface causing a bulge or herniation and this in turn can put pressure on the spinal cord itself or on a nerve root exiting spinal column at a nearby location. A herniated disc is sometimes called a slipped disc, ruptured disc or bulging disc. Symptoms can involve sciatica which is associated with a shooting pain that runs from the buttock down the back of one leg. Other symptoms include numbness/tingling in the leg and/were foot or weakness in the leg and/or foot. Sometimes there can be loss of bladder or bowel control. If the disc injury is in the cervical/neck region, there can be the same or associated symptomology in the upper extremities in terms of numbness/tingling or weakness.
Since the spinal cord is a major pathway for nerve signals, damage to it can cause severe pain. A spinal cord injury is either complete, causing full loss of sensation, or incomplete, causing partial loss of feeling.
Traumatic brain injuries
Traumatic brain injuries occur from the head hitting a hard surface of the vehicle, such as a dashboard. A mild TBI, such as a concussion, may cause dizziness, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, headaches, confusion, trouble sleeping and balance issues.
Mild TBIs do not always cause the person to lose consciousness, but if they do, it should only last a few minutes. A severe TBI can cause comas, seizures or convulsions, vision loss in one or both eyes, persistent vomiting and slurred speech. TBI injuries can have lasting significant effects which interfere with a person’s activities of daily living.
Injured drivers and passengers may seek damages against at-fault parties, but they should get medical treatment immediately. Sometimes, adrenaline and shock following an accident can mask symptoms for days or even weeks, so it’s vital for everyone involved to get checked out by a doctor even if you don’t initially feel any symptoms right away.