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Recovering from a Car Accident

By San Diego Attorney on March 21, 2020

In 2018, there were 1,894,000 non-fatal motor vehicle crashes involving injuries in the U.S., as reported by the Insurance Information Institute (III). While these individuals may have avoided death, there are still considerable costs associated with a non-fatal car accident injury, such as a traumatic brain injury or broken bones. Recovering from a car accident can be a lengthy process, depending on the nature and severity of your injuries.

Treating the Body Piece-by-Piece

Each part of the body is protected in different ways during a crash, but that also means each comes with its own set of injuries. Below is a list of the common injuries alongside their recovery time, ordered from the top of your head down to your toes:

Head Trauma

The head is one of the least protected parts of the body in an accident, especially if the seatbelt is loose or airbags are not deployed. Recovery from brain injuries can vary, depending on the severity. Often, drivers may suffer a concussion, which only requires surgery in the most serious cases, whereas a brain bleed is an immediate medical emergency. Serious traumatic brain injury can have life-altering consequences for victims and their families, from mood changes to permanent damage to motor functions.

Psychological Injuries

Either due to brain trauma or sheer shock of the accident, a collision can result in long-lasting psychological injuries. Victims may have difficulty driving again due to anxiety or PTSD, or they may feel depressed as a result of a serious injury. Treatment varies on a case by case basis, but can include surgery if the mental trauma is the result of a brain injury, as well as months or years of therapy.

Neck Injuries

Damage to the neck can take many forms, from dislocations in the upper spinal column to whiplash, which caused by the whip-like motion of the head and neck in a crash. Symptoms of whiplash can last for several weeks or longer and may limit a victim’s mobility. Injuries involving the spinal column will often require surgery to correct the damage, resulting in month long recovery times.

Chest and Abdomen Injuries

While seat belts help absorb the full brunt of a car accident and minimize damage to the body, they do come with their own risks. The bones of the chest and abdomen, mainly the clavicle and ribs, will press against a seat belt during a collision. In the process, the bones may fracture or break. A broken collar bone is typically immobilized with braces and left to heal on its own, however, the immediate pain will be severe. A broken rib will heal without braces, but it will be difficult to breath and cough. For broken bones in the chest and abdomen, the healing time is roughly six to 16 weeks long.

Just as a seat belt can break ribs, those broken ribs may damage your internal organs. The areas most at risk are the spleen, kidneys, and liver. Any damage to these organs requires intensive surgery and, in the case of the spleen, the removal of the organ. These injuries may not be immediately noticeable but are life-threatening if not treated properly. For each organ the maximum recovery time is an estimated six weeks.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Besides the neck, the back is one of the main areas of the body that crash victims start feeling pain. Often, this is due to the spine absorbing the force of the crash and can lead to soft-tissue damage. More severe cases involve the spinal discs, which support the spine and upper body. If these discs get pushed out of alignment, the spine will become uneven, causing chronic pain. In contrast, the bones in the back can be fractured, often causing spinal cord damage and partial or complete paralysis. Sprains, strains, and pulled back muscles are also very common. Damage to the spine can result in surgery, physical therapy, and months of healing.

Lower Extremity Injuries

Although the legs are the most protected body part in an accident, they can suffer fractures or breaks if they slam into the steering wheel or too much pressure is placed on the ankles. Surgery, a cast, and physical therapy may be required. The healing time from surgery to full mobility may take between six to eight weeks.

Pursue Full and Fair Compensation After a Car Accident

Severe car accident injuries may require years of ongoing medical treatment, cause permanent disability, and have long-term effects on a victim’s life. It is important to pursue the maximum compensation available to facilitate your recovery and protect your family’s future. After a serious car accident, contact jD LAW, P.C. at (760) 630-2000 for dedicated legal representation by an experienced San Diego car accident lawyer.

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