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What to Expect After a Serious Crash (and How to Recover).

Immediately after a serious car crash, people usually experience shock and don't feel the full extent of his or her injuries until hours or several days afterward. Injuries from these accidents can vary from minor bruises and scrapes, to much more serious injuries. They also affect each body part differently. Treatment and recovery for many crash victims also differ depending on the body part injured and its severity.

Date:   11/23/2020 8:11:43 PM   ( 25 mon ) ... viewed 463 times

Common Physical and Psychological Injuries and Symptoms After A Major Car Accident

  1. Concussions

These are the most common injuries and can be caused by hitting the head on a windshield, roof, loose objects, side window, steering wheel, or other people. This causes the brain to bounce inside the skull, causing chemical changes in the brain. Concussion symptoms may not manifest right away and can take days or weeks to appear. Some of the symptoms to watch out for include; headaches, nausea, dizziness, neck pain, trouble concentrating, ringing in the ears, and blurry vision.

Treatment: If the concussion symptoms are severe, it could indicate a subdural hematoma or bleeding under the skull, which requires immediate medical attention. For a mild concussion, doctors recommend rest. Don't engage in strenuous physical activities and cut back on activities that require a lot of concentration.

Recovery: Most crash victims with mild concussions notice a reduction in his or her symptoms in 2-3 weeks. Recovery from a subdural hematoma depends on the severity of the concussion and is more complicated.

  1. Facial Injuries

These can be caused by hitting the airbag, steering wheel, a loose object, or any other part of the car.

Treatment: This will depend on the type of injury. For example, facial cuts and scrapes can be stitched or bandaged, but more severe injuries like broken bones may require surgery. Recovery for minor scrapes can take a few days, but it may take up to a month to heal for facial surgery.

  1. Internal Injuries

During an accident, injuries to the torso and internal organs such as the heart, liver, lungs, spleen, bowels, and kidneys can sustain injuries can occur. These injuries can cause internal bleeding, characterized by abdominal swelling and/or pain, loss of consciousness, dizziness or fainting, headaches, and severe bruising. Prompt, professional medical care is crucial for the best outcomes.

Treatment and recovery: For muscle strains, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE) is ideal, but if a crash victim has minimal internal bleeding, he or she may be under observation by a doctor to see if the bleeding will stop on its own. Victims with severe internal bleeding may have to go for surgery to stop the bleeding. Recovery will depend on the treatment required and the extent of the injuries.

  1. Rib and Clavicle Injuries

A major accident can cause the body to press forward quickly against the seatbelt. This motion can injure the collarbone and the ribs.

Treatment: Broken ribs or collarbone can heal on their own after immobilization with special braces. If the injury is more serious, the doctor can recommend surgery. Surgically repaired bones usually require 3-4 months to heal completely.

  1. Spinal cord and back injuries

These are some of the most traumatic accident injuries. When the car abruptly changes positions, the small discs along the spine are pushed or twisted out of alignment, resulting in spinal cord injuries. Backbone fractures and soft tissue injuries are also common in a major car crash. Ligaments, muscles, and tendons can be pulled, strained, or sprained.

Treatment: Crash victims with minor back pain can use pain medication, apply heat or ice to the sore spot, and rest. If the pain is persistent, book an appointment with a physician for evaluation. The doctor may recommend a chiropractor. Spinal injuries may require surgery.

Recovery: Minor muscle pulls or strains should heal in a few weeks, while muscle tears that require surgery may need therapy and months to heal. Spinal injuries take longer to heal, with the body doing most of its healing work in the first six months after the surgery. If the physical function isn't entirely restored within the first year, full recovery chances are minimal.

  1. Neck Injuries

Neck injuries like whiplash are common for side, or rear impact crashes and can range from mild neck strain to more serious injuries like dislocation of spine vertebrae.

Treatment: Mild neck strain can be treated using pain relievers, but serious injuries may need surgery. It may take several weeks for whiplash symptoms to disappear fully. Full recovery after surgery can take months.

  1. Lower Extremity Injuries

The seatbelt helps protect against injuries to lower extremities during a car crash. In a drunk driving accident where the driver or passengers may not have put on his or her seatbelts, such injuries are common. They include ligament injury, muscle and tendon strains, foot, knee, and leg bone breaks.

Treatment: Minor injuries can be treated with RICE and pain medication, while broken bones may require a cast or other external support. For severe injuries, surgery and physical therapy may be needed. Recovery may take 8 weeks.

  1. Psychological Injuries

A major car accident is a traumatic event and can result in serious mental health issues. After an accident, feelings of sadness, anxiety, hopelessness, worry, guilt, fear, self-blame, anger, and shock are common. Car crash victims can develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety.

Treatment: Depending on the symptoms' severity, a counselor can recommend meditation, anxiety management, or other tools to help treat mental trauma. Recovery varies in different people.

Financial Options After a Serious Car Crash

After a major accident, medical bills can be enormous, but some financial options are available to crash victims.

Personal Health or Auto Insurance

Depending on the state's laws, auto insurance can cover medical bills. In a fault state, payments will be made by the insurance policy of the one at fault for the accident. For fault states, there's a chance that auto insurance will not cover all the medical bills, and the accident victim may have to file a suit. Personal health insurance can also cover the remaining medical bills after using auto insurance. In most cases, these funds may not cover ongoing rehabilitation or lost time at work.

Contingency Payments

In case insurance fails to cover medical bills and a lawsuit is filed, the attorney may discuss contingency payments with the doctor, where payments will be delayed until a settlement is reached.

Other Funding Options

If the attorney can't delay medical payments, a patient can speak to the health provider to discuss exceptions or discounts. They can also take a personal loan or declare bankruptcy. The latter should be used as a last resort as it has serious financial consequences. It's important to speak to an attorney before making big decisions concerning medical bills funding.


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