Understanding Vehicle Accident Causes and InjuriesPublished on October 17, 2023
Everyday, countless people are injured in automobile accidents. Motor vehicle accidents can occur at any time and location for reasons out of our control. Unfortunately, there are instances where victims are injured in accidents caused by the negligent and reckless acts of others. When a driver doesn’t abide by the rules of the road, it puts everyone on that road at risk. Learning the reasons behind car accidents and their potential injuries can help keep you informed and safe the next time you get behind the wheel.
Why Vehicle Accidents Happen
Car accidents can happen for a variety of reasons. In most cases, there is a person at fault or responsible for causing the accident. This normally happens when a traffic law has been clearly broken or when driver error comes into play. Being informed on the different types of car accidents and the typical injuries seen with them can help you avoid an accident, painful injuries and the long recovery that comes with it.
Types of Vehicle Accidents
- Broadside (T-Bone): Some of the most prominent cases of motor vehicle accidents involve T-bone collisions. This type of accident occurs when the front of one vehicle hits the side of another and forms the shape of a “T.”
- Rear-end collision: Rear end collisions are accidents where a driver hits the front bumper of their vehicle into the rear end of another vehicle.
- Head-on collision: In a head-on collision, two cars hit each other at the very front of the vehicles. These types of accidents can result in severe injuries due to the force of impact.
- Lane change accidents: Lane change accidents happen when a driver improperly checks for traffic before switching lanes.
- Rollover accidents: Rollover accidents happen when a vehicle hits an object that causes it to tip over. These types of accidents can also happen from sharp and abrupt turns.
- High-speed accidents: High speed accidents often occur on highways and other high speed roadways where the likelihood for speeding is increased.
Broadside or T-bone car accidents
T-Bone accident cases
T-Bone collisions can occur for many reasons and either driver can be at fault for these types of accidents. In nearly all cases, these accidents take place at intersections when either one or both drivers fail to obey the traffic light signals.
As a result, both vehicles enter an intersection at the same time and collide. T-bone accidents earn their name due to the position the vehicles make when they collide; the front end of one vehicle collides with either the driver or passenger side of the second vehicle, forming a “T” shape.
Who is likely to be injured in a T-bone accident?
For a T-bone accident, the position in which a vehicle collides with the second will determine who is most likely to incur injuries.
When these collisions occur along the driver’s side of the vehicle, the driver and the driver-side rear passengers are at an increased risk of being injured. Conversely, when side-impact car accidents occur along the passenger’s side, the front and rear passengers in the vehicle are at an increased risk of being injured.
The occupants of the vehicle that collides head-on with either side of the second vehicle are likely to incur injuries. This is especially true in cases where the second vehicle is larger in size or sits higher than the first vehicle, like, for instance, when a passenger car T-bones a pickup truck.
Common injuries in T-bone collisions
Individuals involved in T-bone collisions are more likely to incur head and neck injuries. Whiplash-related injuries are particularly common due to the sudden jerking of heads, necks, and shoulders during impact. Additionally, victims involved in these accidents are at an increased risk for back and spinal cord injuries because of the jerking movement their body experiences at impact.
Those involved in T-bone accidents are also more likely to suffer broken hips, arms, ribs, and pelvic bones.
How car manufacturers work to limit injuries?
Over the years, car manufacturers have taken various steps toward ensuring that drivers and passengers remain safe on the road. One of the ways automobile manufacturers protect occupants of their vehicles during T-bone accidents is by implementing side-impact airbags in both the front and rear areas of their vehicles.
Side impact airbags are designed to deploy during T-bone collisions if there is someone occupying the corresponding seat. Most manufacturers place sensors on the seats, which allow the airbag control devices to recognize if someone is in the seat and if they need protection.
Anyone injured in T-bone accidents caused by the negligent acts of other drivers should contact a car accident attorney as soon as possible to explore legal options available for them.
Rear end collisions
Rear end collision cases
A rear-end collision happens when a car crashes into another car directly in front of it from behind. In most cases, these accidents are a result of distracted driving, following too closely, break checking and general lack of attention. Though these types of accidents are rarely fatal, they happen very frequently and can cause a variety of injuries.
In order to avoid costly repairs and treatments, it is best to learn how to avoid rear-end collisions. Leaving distance to ensure time to stop can be a huge factor in the outcome of sudden breaking or distracted driving. Giving yourself and drivers enough time to react, a minimum of three seconds, is the best rule of thumb to avoid a possible rear-end collision.
Who is at fault in a rear-end collision?
Establishing fault in a rear-end collision can be clear cut as the driver of the car that rear-ends the other car is almost always at fault. Failure to break in time is normally due to following too closely or being inattentive. An exception is given to cases where the rear-ended vehicle is in the reverse gear.
It is also important to consider your state’s rear-end collision laws. Finding out who is responsible for a collision can sometimes be tricky but reaching out to a lawyer can prove to be beneficial when faced with potential financial burdens.
Common injuries in rear-end collision vehicle accidents
In most cases, rear-end collisions aren’t considered to be very serious and deadly car accidents. That being said, some serious injuries can still be sustained by both drivers involved in these kinds of accidents.
Drivers involved in rear-end collisions often suffer from neck, back, and shoulder pain with the most common injury seen being whiplash. In more serious cases, spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries can occur and cause lasting damage to one’s physical well being.
Safety features designed to protect during a rear-end collision
Some safety features have been made to try to mitigate the occurrence of rear-end collisions. Automatic emergency braking systems automatically apply a vehicle’s brakes before it can crash forward into a vehicle. Dynamic brake support and crash imminent braking are both systems that help vehicles brake early enough to avoid severe rear-end collisions and help drivers avoid injuries and damage to their cars. If a crash does occur, vehicle headrests are designed to keep a rear-ended driver’s head from snapping back in a way that causes serious injury.
Head-on collision cases
In a head-on collision, the front ends of two cars crash into each other when traveling in the opposite direction. This type of accident can also occur when a vehicle drives directly into a stationary object.
The combined force seen in a typical head-on collision can have very serious injuries and causes thousands of deaths every year. Some common injuries seen are whiplash, broken bones, blunt force trauma, burns, scarring, spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries, and internal damage to organs.
Common causes of head-on collision vehicle accidents
Head-on collisions have many causes that can be avoided to help keep you and other drivers safe on the road. Some of the most common reasons for these types are accidents are:
- Distracted driving
- Intoxicated driving
- Reckless driving
- Falling asleep behind the wheel
- Driver confusion
Safety features designed to protect during a head-on collision
In order to keep passengers protected in the case of a head-on collision, safety designs such as airbags and seatbelts should be utilized. Always use a seat belt even if you aren’t driving just in case of an accident. A seat belt will help keep your body stable and decrease the jerking motion when hit head on. Airbags are also a great feature that will help soften the blow on a head-on collision.
Lane change accidents
Lane change accident cases
Changing lanes dangerously is a form of negligent driving and one of the top causes of motor vehicle accidents in our country. There are a number of factors that cause lane change accidents such as blind spots, high speeds, distracted driving and driving during inclement weather.
Being aware while changing lanes is especially important when it comes to driving on a highway due to the increase in speed. The potential for serious injuries becomes higher as well as the likelihood of damaging your car.
Safety features designed to prevent lane change accidents
Turn signals are an important safety feature that should always be utilized before switching lanes. Turn signals are meant to communicate with other drivers on the road and allow traffic to continue to flow without causing an accident. Also make sure you are giving ample time for your signals to be seen before switching lanes.
Car manufacturers have also installed blind spot indicators on more modern cars to help prevent lane change accidents. When a car is in your blind spot, you are unable to see it using your mirror and can switch lanes without realizing there is a car next to you. Blind spot indicators can now detect cars in your blind spot and will send you an alert when you use your turn signal that the lane next to you isn’t clear yet.
Rollover accident cases
When a car accident results in a vehicle being tipped on its side or roof, that is considered a rollover. The rollover can occur just once or multiple times before the vehicle finally comes to a stop. A rollover accident can involve multiple vehicles but it’s usually only one car involved and can happen for a variety of reasons such as:
- Inclement weather
Tripping is the most common cause of rollover accidents and is used to describe when a car suddenly hits something, such as a curb, causing the weight of the vehicle to shift to one side. As a result, the car is forced to rollover before it can regain balance again. Various factors such as speeding and inclement weather can impact the degree of severity of these types of accidents.
Common injuries from rollover vehicle accidents
Rollover accidents can be very dangerous, leaving individuals with life threatening injuries. Spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries are most commonly seen in these kinds of accidents but less serious injuries can also be sustained. These include neck and back pain, broken bones, internal bleeding, scrapes, and burns.
Wearing a seatbelt is especially crucial in rollover accidents in order to prevent serious and sometimes fatal injuries caused by being thrown from the vehicle or by impacting the interior of the vehicle multiple times.
High-speed accident cases
High-speed collisions are often devastating for everyone involved but car accidents caused by speeding continue to be reported everyday. Roughly 30% of all car accidents across the country occur due to drivers who are speeding.
There are various factors that can make high-speed accidents even more devastating for victims and their families. It is crucial to understand how speeding can cause accidents and increase the risks of injuries to those involved.
What are speeding accidents?
High-speed accidents are caused by drivers who are traveling above the speed limit. Driving at a high speed prevents drivers from being able to control their vehicles properly. As a result, they are more likely to go off the road on curves, rollover, and pass through stop signs and red lights. Statistics produced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 40% of all high-speed traffic fatalities occurred along curved roads.
Speeding in inclement weather makes these types of accidents even more likely to occur. Drivers can hit icy, wet, or snowy conditions and not be able to stop or maneuver their vehicles accurately. As a result, they are likely to be injured or injure others on the road.
As you can imagine, car accidents caused by speeding are more likely to occur on highways and other areas where drivers travel greater distances. These roadways are more likely to host speeding drivers than cramped city streets.
The impact of speeding accidents
Individuals who are involved in accidents with speeding drivers are more likely to incur serious injuries. Speeding can cause vehicles to have a higher rate of impact, which can result in far more extensive injuries. Studies have found that speeding places victims at a 3% higher chance of being injured in a collision.
Victims involved in speeding accidents are 5% more likely to sustain fatal injuries than those involved in accidents at reduced speeds. Sadly, high-speed accidents often result in rollovers, multiple-vehicle collisions, and extensive damages to vehicles.
Vehicle Accident Injuries and Recovery
Injuries as a result of a vehicle accident can be unpredictable and happen all over the body. It is important to know about different car accidents but also the injuries that may occur as a result. Learning the signs of some of the most common vehicle accident injuries can help you identify what’s wrong and get the medical attention you need.
By definition, a contusion is a bruise on the brain. Bruising on the brain indicates that blood has leaked out from veins and mixed with tissues in the brain. These injuries are typically found in cortical tissues, which are the areas inside the skull that are near sharp ridges.
These injuries typically occur in situations where victims sustain bumps, blows, or jolts to the head or body during a motor vehicle accident. These sudden movements can cause the head and brain to shift quickly back and forth. Even in cases where the skull does not fracture, individuals can suffer contusions from the banging of their brain against their skull. These injuries can have a lasting impact on a person’s life. It is crucial for individuals to understand what this injury is and the available treatment options.
Symptoms of brain contusions
Individuals and family members of those who experience a head injury during a car accident should be aware of the subtle signs of traumatic brain injury. In some cases, particularly when more severe contusions are present, swelling can occur and symptoms may be hard to detect.:
- Memory loss
- Problems paying attention
- Emotional disturbances
- Problems with motor skills
- Light sensitivity
- Inability to concentrate
- Lack of coordination
- Inability to understand speech
- Inability to speak
Brain contusion recovery
In some cases, individuals will feel relief from their symptoms in as little as a day. However, in more serious cases, the healing period is longer. When individuals sustain these types of traumatic brain injury, they will experience the most rapid recovery within the first three months following the incident. Many individuals who suffer from brain contusions will recover completely by six months.
Unfortunately, there are some cases in which individuals suffer from the symptoms for over a year. People over 40 will recover at a much slower rate than younger individuals. Therefore, it is crucial for victims to prioritize rest during the weeks following their hospital stay.
Treatment for brain contusions
When an individual suffers a blow to the head, they will often undergo imaging testing to determine the extent of the damage. CT Scans and MRIs are utilized to diagnose and monitor symptoms. In some cases, victims will undergo surgery to implant an intracranial pressure monitor.
Some surgeries include the removal of the clotted blood, repairing skull fractures, stopping the bleeding in the brain, and opening a window in the skull to alleviate pressure until the swelling reduces.
Medications are also utilized to reduce the fluids in the tissue and prevent seizures. In other cases, victims will be placed into a medically induced coma until the swelling decreases.
The costs of care needed for these injuries can be overwhelming. For this reason, victims harmed in collisions caused by negligent or reckless drivers should contact a car accident attorney in Oklahoma as soon as possible. Those harmed may be entitled to restitution to cover the costs of medical treatment and various other damages.
Vision loss & eye injuries
The fact that the head remains completely exposed while driving places individuals at an increased risk for suffering vision loss or other eye injuries in the event of an accident. Many people fail to realize the long-term complications they may deal with as a result of these injuries.
Car accident eye injury types
Individuals involved in automobile accidents can suffer various eye injuries as a result of their collision. Because vision is a process that involves the transmission of information to the brain, there is a very close relationship between eyesight and brain health. Unfortunately, injuries to the brain and eyes can include:
- Blurred vision
- Sore or aching eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Double vision
- Complete loss or a reduction in a field of vision
- Difficulty reading
- Reduced attention and concentration
- Comprehension problems
- Continual headaches
- Memory problems
There are countless instances where individuals suffer car accident related vision loss as a result of a traumatic head injury. Even something as seemingly minor as whiplash can cause lasting vision problems.
Medical attention for a car accident eye injury
Individuals who suffer car accident related vision loss often require extensive medical treatment. In some cases, victims will undergo surgery to remove objects from their eyes but there are many conditions that cannot be undone. In these cases, victims are able to recover restitution for various damages resulting from their accidents, including compensation for:
Medical Bills and Treatment: Individuals may be entitled to restitution to cover the costs of eye surgery, rehabilitation, medical devices, and various other costs related to their accident and injury now and in the future.
Lost Wages and Lost Earning Capacity: Vision loss caused by car accidents can have a detrimental impact on a victim’s ability to work. For this reason, those harmed may be able to recover losses related to appointments and recovery as well as their long-term loss of earnings.
Pain and Suffering: Car accident vision loss can have a serious long-term impact on a victim’s life. These injuries can transform the way a person lives and have overwhelming mental and emotional consequences.
There are countless motor vehicle accidents in which victims sustain injuries to their face. In addition to causing overwhelming physical pain and suffering, these injuries can have a profound impact on a victim’s mental and emotional wellbeing.
While driving, it is nearly impossible for an individual to limit the exposure of their face. As a result, individuals have little to no protection against flying objects due to a collision. It is important for everyone to understand the potential for facial injuries during an automobile accident and what the recovery process entails.
Common facial injuries from car accidents
There are many damages to the face that individuals can sustain as a result of a car accident. Some of the most common types of facial injuries from car accidents include:
- Breaks: There are a total of fourteen bones in the human head. All of these bones can be broken in collisions. These injuries can cause extensive and lasting pain and overwhelming cosmetic problems.
- Deformities: Deformities occur when the face is unable to heal correctly. These injuries result in a transformation to the victim’s appearance. Not only can deformities cause physical pain, they can also lead to psychological issues such as low self-esteem.
- Scars: Scars from car accidents often occur when objects hit and tear the skin. Flying objects could result in long gashes and other cuts that leave permanent scarring on the face. Not only do these scars create a constant reminder of the trauma endured, but it can result in physical pain as well.
- Burns: When vehicles catch on fire during collisions, individuals may be severely burned. These injuries often require extensive and ongoing medical care. Burn injuries are often devastating and can lead to permanent scarring and deformities.
The long-term impact of facial injuries
Individuals who suffer facial injuries are often required to go through extensive reconstructive surgeries. The medical treatment associated with these injuries is costly and painful. Additionally, these procedures do not always treat the devastating reminders of the trauma victims endure. In many cases, victims are forced to deal with physical and mental scars from car accidents that bring them endless suffering.
Internal injuries from a car accident
Internal injuries from a car accident can be devastating. Quite often, victims have to undergo emergency surgery to rectify the problems. These injuries are often severe in nature and, without medical intervention, can result in life-long complications and even death.
Common internal injuries caused by vehicle accidents
There are multiple internal injuries from a car accident that a victim can sustain. Some of the most common injuries include:
- Fractured ribs: Broken ribs often heal on their own, but it is often a long and drawn-out process. Broken or fractured ribs can damage blood vessels and puncture lungs, which require emergency medical treatment.
- Internal bleeding: When vessels are punctured or ruptured, it can cause internal bleeding. This can be very dangerous because when the clots form, they can prevent blood from circulating as it should.
- Brain bleeds: Damage to the head can lead to bleeding in the brain. These injuries are extremely dangerous and can impair a person’s breathing. Many of these injuries result in permanent brain damage.
- Abdominal aorta aneurysm: These can occur if the stomach area is crushed in an accident. When the abdominal aorta breaks, it is typically fatal.
- Pneumothorax: These injuries occur when the lung is punctured or collapsed. This can cause air to flood the chest cavity and result in pneumothorax.
- Liver damage: The liver can be torn open in motor vehicle accidents and suffer extensive damage. Internal bleeding and various other problems often occur if the liver is injured. These injuries must be repaired immediately to avoid potentially life-threatening complications.
- Kidney damage: These injuries typically occur when the lower back area or the flank is impacted. Kidney damage can be permanent and require dialysis or transplants.
Treatment and compensation for internal injuries
In many cases, victims have to go through long-term treatment and may require multiple surgeries to address damages from internal injuries. The costs for medical care related to internal injuries from a car accident are often overwhelming.
When individuals are injured in collisions caused by other drivers on the road, they may be able to collect compensation to cover the costs of medical treatment needed for their injuries. By contacting an attorney, victims may be able to recover compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost wages, and all the medical costs related to the past, current, and future treatment of injuries incurred from their accidents.
One of the most common injuries incurred by car accident victims is bone fractures. These types of injuries are often extremely painful and require extensive medical treatment and therapy to recover. Whether a fracture is minor or complex, patients will need to go through various procedures for treatment.
What car accident bone fractures are most common?
Individuals involved in collisions can incur various types of injuries with bone fractures being the most common. Speeding is a major factor in accidents and can make fracture injuries worse. Some of the ways victims can incur car accident bone fractures include:
- Being thrown from a motorcycle or bicycle
- Being involved in a “crushing” accident with a commercial vehicle
- Being ejected from a vehicle during a collision
- Striking an object during a collision
Most common types of car accident bone fractures
It is important to remember that every kind of bone fracture requires a different type of treatment. Some of the most commonly seen car accident bone fractures include:
- Tibia/fibula fractures: These fractures often occur when vehicles crumble during accidents. Individuals who sustain these fractures can undergo surgery for intramedullary nailing. This surgery places permanent nails or rods into the center of the bone.
- Rib fractures: These are fairly common and occur due to the impact of airbags or seat belts. In rare cases, these fractures will require intramedullary devices, bridging, wires, struts, and sutures to repair.
- Hip fractures: These are believed to be the most common type of car accident bone fracture. Hip fractures often require the implantation of hip replacements or partial devices.
- Pelvis fractures: Pelvic fractures can be complex with multiple fractures along the area. In extreme cases, pins, compression screws, and side plates are used to keep the hip bones together and in place.
- Facial fractures: These injuries often occur when the victim’s head strikes an object like debris or a windshield. Although a lot of these fractures will heal on their own, some cases require reconstructive surgery.
The healing process
In addition to the use of implanted devices, many fractures require victims to remain bedridden for months. Afterward, several more months of physical therapy may be needed. These injuries are extremely painful and can have a devastating impact on a person’s mental and physical wellbeing.
Unfortunately, treating these injuries is also extremely costly. Most victims have to spend thousands of dollars on surgeries, therapy and follow up appointments. To make matters worse, victims are often forced out of work for several months to heal. The financial impact is not only devastating to a victim, but can be felt by the entire family.
Neck and back injuries
Studies show that over 4.5 million people are injured in automobile collisions across the United States annually. Many of those harmed experience back injuries which impact their lives in various ways. The severity of both neck and back injuries can range from mild strains to permanent and debilitating damages.
Back injury after a car accident
Although there have been countless advances in safety equipment inside vehicles, we continue to see a wide array of neck and back injuries in motor vehicle accidents. Depending on the force of impact, one or more areas in the neck and back can be injured. Some of the most commonly seen injuries include:
- Herniated disc: Disc herniation occurs when disks rupture and, as a result, part of the inner cartilage protrudes. Slipped discs occur when damages push or squeeze the disc out of their normal position.
- Spinal fractures: When there is an abrupt force on the backbone, it can cause compression and damage to the bones. Dislocation fractures, transverse process fractures, flexion-distraction fractures, and compression fractures are some of the most commonly observed spinal fractures in collisions.
- Whiplash: These injuries occur due to the sudden and violent jerking forward and backward of the body. Whiplash of the neck is extremely common and can cause neck and back pain after a car accident.
- Soft tissue injuries: There are various tendons, muscles, and ligaments in the neck and back which can be violently stretched or torn during a collision. These injuries can cause excruciating neck and back pain and require medical attention.
Care for these injuries
Victims who incur these injuries in motor vehicle accidents are often required to undergo medical treatment. Those harmed may have to stay in bed for several days or weeks to recover. In many cases, victims will need to receive physical therapy to learn how to maneuver the body and manage the painful effects.
A lot of injuries can have a long-term impact on a victim’s life. Even injuries considered minor, like whiplash, can have devastating consequences for victims. It is crucial for victims to contact an attorney to explore legal options available for them.