An automobile accident can turn your life upside down. It’s not just the damage to your vehicle, but also the possible damage to your body, and the bodies of your passengers. Unlike the damage to property, the physical damage of a vehicular accident can be long-lasting. To make matters worse, some of the damage may not manifest until months, and even years after the accident. The physical damage from an accident doesn’t just have long term physical effects; it can also have lasting mental, emotional, and financial effects. These long tern effects can be exacerbated by the type of accident. Las Cruces truck accident attorney, Glasheen, Valles, & Inderman, says that commercial trucks can do the most damage when they strike another vehicle. Furthermore, victims of these accidents often have trouble getting the assistance they need because some trucking companies have the financial resources to fight the complaint. Below are some common automotive accident injuries, and the long term effects they can have.
Traumatic Brain/Head Injury
Traumatic brain and head injuries are some of the most common injuries to occur in automobile accidents. These injuries usually occur when the head hits a hard surface or object, such as the vehicle dashboard, an airborne object inside the vehicle, and even an object outside the vehicle. They can also occur if the head snaps around causing the brain to slam against the inside of the skull. These types of head-snapping injuries also occur when babies and small children are shaken violently. It is also possible to suffer a traumatic brain injury without any involvement of the head at all, which we will cover in the following section on hard and soft tissue injuries. Traumatic brain and head injuries can have serious long term effects depending on the severity of the injury. These effects can include, but are not limited to:
- Lost or impaired memory function;
- Lost or impaired cognitive function;
- Loss or impaired motor function; and
- Lost or impaired speech function.
The financial, emotional, and mental impacts of these long term effects include:
- Loss of income or livelihood caused by missing work due to the accident, or by being unable to resume work due to the head or traumatic brain injury;
- Financial difficulties from loss of work and/or excessive medical bills resulting from the initial hospitalization, and recovery;
- Continuous expenses for ongoing medical care including rehabilitation, physical therapy, and counseling, as well as expenses for any medical devices, such as wheelchairs, and caregiver services.
- Mental anguish from the loss of speech, motor, memory, or cognitive function; and,
- Post-traumatic stress disorder.
Hard and Soft Tissue Damage
Hard and soft tissue damage can include sprains, strains, bruises, contusions, cuts, tears, amputations, and broken bones. These injuries can occur when a part of the body strikes a part of the vehicle, or is crushed, pinned, or cut in the accident. In the case of amputations, they could occur during the accident, or in rescue efforts to extract a victim from a vehicle.
Hard and soft tissue damage can have serious long term effects depending on the severity of the injury. These effects can include, but are not limited to:
- Loss of use of the affected limb;
- Loss of the damaged organ, such as removal of a ruptured spleen;
- Impaired function of a damaged limb or organ.
A person could also experience a traumatic brain injury as a secondary injury. For example, if he is pinned in his car, underwater, he could stop breathing for several minutes, resulting in brain damage from loss of oxygen.
The financial, emotional, and mental impact of soft and hard tissue damage can be the same as those of a traumatic brain injury including:
- Loss of income or livelihood;
- Financial difficulties from loss of work and/or excessive medical bills;
- Expenses for ongoing medical care;
- Mental anguish; and
- Post traumatic stress disorder.
As you can see, the damage from an accident doesn’t always end once the wreckage has been cleared from the roadway. Victims approaching the party at fault, right after the accident, might get a financial settlement, but it settlement might not be enough to cover the long term damage. Unfortunately, once someone accepts a settlement, they might not be able to go back later and report further problems. This is why it’s important for victims of automotive accidents to seek professional help before doing anything. That way they can be protected if the damage extends beyond what was originally reported.
photo credit: LD nahoru via Flickr