Many Americans rely on their cars to get around, but that doesn’t mean U.S. streets are always safe. Motor vehicle accidents are extremely prevalent, with 7,277,000 car crashes being reported by police in 2016. Of those crashes, 2,177,000 resulted in injuries. And according to the California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, approximately 254,561 people were injured in traffic accidents in this state alone. While injuries stemming from road accidents are extremely common, they can also be extremely serious. It’s important to know the potential damage you might face in the aftermath of an accident, as well as the next steps to take once you sustain an injury.
Undoubtedly, whiplash is one of the most prevalent injuries that can occur during an accident. It refers to damage that happens to the muscles or ligaments in your neck or shoulders when they’re stretched and subsequently torn. This can often take place during impact, when a driver’s neck suddenly snaps backward and then lurches forward again. Neck pain and stiffness, headaches, vision and concentration issues, and ringing in the ears may indicate such an injury. But because symptoms may not present themselves until days after an accident, some motorists don’t pursue the treatment they need right away. It’s not necessarily an easy injury to recover from, either; some experience whiplash that heals on its own, but others may suffer from chronic pain thereafter.
Whiplash is typically limited to the shoulder and neck area, but an accident may also cause musculoskeletal damage—injuries to muscles, tendons, and ligaments throughout the body. Any part that was stretched or bent in an unnatural and harmful way as a result of a crash could result in this type of injury. Back injuries, ACL tears, and severe bone breaks can all occur in these types of scenarios. And while some of these injuries can be treated through emergency hospital care and follow-ups with your personal physician, others may require help from orthopedic surgeons or physical therapists to recover.
Concussions and head injuries
Serious head injuries can also occur during accidents. Even if you never directly hit your head on anything, the force of the impact can still cause a concussion or a traumatic brain injury (TBI). An estimated 2.8 million people sustain TBIs every year, and while many are mild, others can be fatal. Of course, physical contact during a crash can also result in deep lacerations. These injuries are often among the scariest and are potentially the most serious, as they can be difficult to assess right away and can lead to loss of function or even death.
What should you do if you’re injured in an accident in California?
If you’re a California resident who’s been injured in a road crash, you should first get yourself to safety and call for emergency help. Not only will the police help to secure the scene and document evidence, but this will also ensure that you receive medical treatment immediately.
That said, emergency medical help doesn’t come cheap. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans spend more than 1 million days in the hospital every year as a result of crash injuries—and the lifetime medical costs that resulted from crash injuries in 2012 topped $18 billion.
Although every crash case is different, it may be possible to secure some financial relief with help from an Oxnard personal injury attorney. In situations wherein another motorist’s negligence directly resulted in your injuries, it’s essential to secure legal representation to fight for your right to financial compensation.
It may not always be possible to prevent an accident, especially when you’re navigating the busiest highways in the Los Angeles area. But if you seek out medical attention right away, understand the biggest injury risks, and contact an experienced lawyer to assist you, you’ll be in a better position to heal your body and seek the recourse to which you’re entitled.